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  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021


I've recently been thinking about the days before lockdown, when socialising face-to-face was ‘the norm’. Some new acquaintances would ask: ‘What do you do?’ I noticed how often I was misheard when I replied: ‘I’m a counsellor’, even on repetition. When I succeeded in making myself heard, I’d be met with one of four responses: curiosity, enthusiasm, a request for advice or simply nothing at all – a non-response.


It was the non-response that intrigued me.


It seems that some people flounder at the mention of counselling. They simply don’t know how to respond.

From where I stand, counselling doesn’t appear to be understood as readily as some helping professions – the medical profession or teaching, for example. Whilst there are many documentaries and popular TV shows about A&E departments, GPs, midwives, veterinarians, vicarages or parish priests, and schools, it’s rare to see a programme about the day-to-day routine of a psychotherapist. Hospitals and schools are familiar to most of us but the same cannot be said of counselling practice rooms.


We are forced to resign ourselves to the limitations of privacy and confidentiality within medicine. Whilst it may not feel appropriate to openly discuss a recent medical procedure in public, we allow it to happen, at our GP or hospital reception. And some of us have no qualms about sharing such confidential information with family or acquaintances. But our approach to counselling is quite different. We keep this close to our chests. Understandably so, for what could be more personal than our innermost thoughts and feelings?

Whenever we speak with a counsellor, we do so in private and in confidence.

Whenever we speak with a counsellor, we do so in private and in confidence. Privacy and confidentiality being vital to the counselling relationship, in helping to build trust and establish an alliance that allows us to freely explore difficulties, without judgement, so that we can come to our own conclusions and initiate change.


Perhaps the need for privacy and confidentiality in counselling creates an air of mystery. But what if the non-response or the inclination to avoid discussing counselling is more about the stigma surrounding mental health? How then do we get past this?


We are now half-way through Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. The Mental Health Awareness Foundation has been organising events to mark UK Mental Health Awareness Week since 2001, to raise awareness about mental health and associated difficulties. Children’s Mental Health Week took place earlier in the year from 3rd to 9th of February. World Suicide Prevention Day is 10th of September. World Mental Health Day is 10th October.


So let’s keep responding

It seems that we are talking about mental health more than ever before. So let’s keep responding. Let’s share our knowledge and experiences, if we can, so that we can all have a better understanding of how counselling works, and how to access help when we need it.


The following links may be helpful:

https://www.bacp.co.uk/media/2637/bacp-what-is-counselling-psychotherapy-c2.pdf


https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week




  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021



In response to COVID-19 we are instructed not to visit medical centres; we are to call or email for advice. However, it would appear that, whilst we focus on the pandemic, our reporting of other medical issues to the NHS is in decline. In response to this. messages are being sent from doctors' surgeries and via the media; we're being encouraged not to ignore or to put off seeking medical advice for serious symptoms.


Whether the decline is because we feel COVID-19 is a priority and therefore don't want to take up NHS resources or because we are anxious that our condition may require hospital admission, and we fear that this will put us at risk, is unclear.


To what extent these concerns are based in reality is debatable. But something that stands out from all of this is the day-to-day anxiety we are all experiencing, which is different for each of us and has an impact on our well-being, at whatever level.


Something that stands out from all of this is the day-to-day anxiety we are all experiencing, which is different for each of us and has an impact on our well-being, at whatever level.

Just how many of us are ignoring signs that we need to attend to our mental health or put off seeking help during the pandemic?


Common thoughts may be:

No-one can see a counsellor face-to-face right now. I'll wait until this is all over.
Telephone and online counselling is what's on offer now. I'd prefer face-to-face.
What's the point of me seeking counselling for this? This is the new normal.
With everything's that happened, how can I afford counselling?
If it wasn't for the pandemic I think I'd be okay.

These are all valid thoughts and it is, of course, up to you whether or not you seek counselling. But take care that you're not allowing your mental health to become secondary. And remember, you may be able to find answers to the questions you're asking yourself by contacting a counsellor and making enquiries.


The following link and video may also be of help:






  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

We all have to live with a degree of uncertainty and, at times, the process of waiting for an outcome or resolution can feel unbearable. But some of us really struggle with 'not knowing', even for short periods of time. We may find it hard to recover from a sudden turn of events or feel uncomfortable if we are required to change our routine. This is anxiety.


Anxiety is a sense of unease, tension, feeling out of control or overwhelmed.


Anxiety is a sense of unease, tension, feeling out of control or overwhelmed.

It can affect your emotional and physical well-being, causing loss of concentration, mood swings, a change in energy, your sleep or libido. Physical symptoms such as headaches, dry mouth, sweats, increased pulse, shortness of breath, trembling, stomach and skin problems are common. Both feelings and symptoms of anxiety can develop quickly, making it a frightening experience - a panic attack.


Due to the current situation with COVID-19, feelings of anxiety may be heightened.

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, feelings of anxiety may be heightened.

those already challenged are facing further hardship.We are all required to make considerable adjustments to the way we live, we are concerned for our health; home life, work and leisure are restricted. Many have financial concerns;


It is possible to find help for anxiety. Talking things through with a therapist can help you understand what triggers anxiety for you and help you consider how best to manage it.


During the current situation with COVID-19, talking therapies are being offered online and by telephone. For information on how to find a therapist, scroll down and take a look at 'How do I find a good therapist?'


For more information on anxiety, take a look at the links below.



and here

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