Reasons people come to counselling – Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness


…and welcome back to my blog.

Following on from my last post, this is the first in my series of reasons people come to counselling – and I’m starting off with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

We are social beings – this means we all need social interaction and relationships. To lead a healthy and fulfilling life we crave close interpersonal relationships. Literally from the moment of birth our very survival is dependent on others for care, developing bonds and relationships.

And while we need to develop these bonds and relationships, people will have different social needs – do you prefer a small number of close friends, or do you need a large group of people in your life to feel satisfied?

What happens when you aren’t satisfied with your social relationships?

This is where loneliness and isolation can play a part.

What is the difference between loneliness and isolation?

Loneliness can be categorised as feeling sadness and distress of being by yourself, being disconnected from the world, while experiencing feelings of emptiness, helplessness and hopelessness.

Isolation is where individuals are separated from others.

Being alone however doesn’t necessarily mean you are lonely, while you can be surrounded by others yet still feel lonely – perhaps you don’t feel close, understood or cared for by those around you?

Feelings of isolation and loneliness therefore relate to the gap between our desired social contact/intimacy and what we actually have, or to the perceived quality of our relationship.

These feelings can arise from a multitude of reasons:

  • Being away from home
  • Relationship issues with friends and family
  • Relationship break-downs
  • Being bullied
  • Unemployment
  • Retirement

This can result in feeling like an outcast, and thus finding it difficult to build meaningful relationships.

Such feelings of loneliness and/or isolation can be stressful and impact our wellbeing, resulting in:

  • Feeling unmotivated
  • Alienation
  • Loss of confidence
  • Poor sleep and/or eating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance dependency

It is in these times that counselling may help to lessen those feelings of isolation and/or loneliness. To perhaps work through the root causes, to establish a meaningful therapeutic relationship, in order to help repair existing or develop new meaningful relationships.

Please like, comment, share and follow, and until next time:

be kind | embrace growth | nurture relationships


Why do people come to counselling?


… and welcome back to my blog.

One of the questions I seem to get is ‘why do people come to counselling?’, and the simple answer is, for many reasons!

Sometimes people know exactly what’s bothering them:

  • Isolation and/or loneliness
  • Stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement
  • Expected or unexpected life changes
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts

But sometimes people aren’t sure what’s ‘wrong’ but just know that something isn’t quite ‘right’:

  • Loss of control
  • Feeling overwhelmed with life
  • Feeling ‘stuck’ but unsure why
  • Sleep difficulties

They may try and speak with family, friends or loved ones but find there help just isn’t enough, or they feel too embarrassed or ashamed to speak with them at all. This is when counselling can help.

My first experience resulted from an intervention from a friend which led me to the doctors and finally to some counselling. I was one of those people who didn’t know what was wrong, but acknowledged I needed some help outside of friends and family, they were just too close. It was only during my counselling sessions that I realised I had social anxiety, and together, we were able to help me move past that chapter of my life.

Coming to counselling doesn’t have to be seen as a ‘negative’, there are those individuals who simply just want to:

  • Understand themselves better
  • Find better ways of relating/communicating
  • Get the most out of their life

Have you ever considered going to counselling but been concerned that your ‘issue’ isn’t big or worthy enough to talk to someone about?

Well I’m here to say, there is no reason to think or feel like that!

There is great strength in asking for help and that first step can make a huge difference in helping you find resolution.

My hope is that soon there won’t be this stigma surrounding mental health issues – after-all do we judge people for focusing on their physical health?

Seeking help for you mental health shows your emotional intelligence –  that you are aware of your own needs and that should not be regarded as a weakness by any means.

The above is literally just a brief snap shot of possible reason’s people come to counselling, it is by no means an extensive list and I’ll be tackling some of these issues in further detail in my coming posts.

Please like, comment, share and follow, and until next time:

be kind | embrace growth | nurture relationships


Picking the right therapist


…and welcome back to my blog.

So following on from my last post – and that the most important part to counselling is the therapeutic relationship – how do you go about picking the right therapist for you?

While simply thinking of going to counselling is a difficult but great first step, the idea of speaking to someone new can be intimidating. But not only that, where do you look for them and what criteria should you be looking out for?

It can be a minefield out there – I should know. It took time to find the right therapist for me, but I did. And, yes, I have been in therapy myself.

How can I expect my clients to come to therapy if I’ve never been to therapy and experienced working on myself?

Ask yourself – would you go see a therapist who has never been to therapy?

So first and foremost, it is essential to find a therapist that is right for you. It is the relationship that heals. So finding the right therapist is all about personal preference and what feels like a comfortable connection to you.

  1. Take your time

You may be experiencing difficult times during your search, and while picking the wrong therapist may not be a hindrance, it may also not be a help either.

So ‘trust the process’. The right therapist will come at the right time.

  1. Do your research

Do some research on some of the different forms of therapy out there. This way you can have a better idea of what you want but about what the counsellor is offering.

  1. Ask friends and family

Ask those friends and family who perhaps are in therapy, why do they like their therapist, this will help give you some pointers. You can also ask for a referral, however, just because your friend see’s Joe Blog’s counsellor, doesn’t mean they will also be right for you. Perhaps they could ask their counsellor to provide you with a referral list.

  1. Searching

There are numerous ways to search for a counsellor, from simply searching through google, to checking counselling directories or counselling accrediting bodies such as the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), to doctor’s referrals and word of mouth.

  1. What to take into account?

There are various things that you may wish to take into account and I won’t bore you with covering them all, but here’s a select few for you to consider:

Cost – this is dependent on the area you live in and can vary from counsellor to counsellor, ranging anywhere from £30 – £70 per session. Some may offer concessions. And even if you can’t see anything on their website, flyer etc… ask them, you won’t know for sure until you do.

Location – are they local to you? Consider timings and possible traffic issues.

Type of therapy  – now you have a better understanding of therapy, does what they offer match want you want?

Qualifications – do they stipulate what qualifications they hold? Do they mention taking part in continued professional development?

Accrediting bodies – are they a member of a recognised accrediting body, such as the BACP?

Experience – do they have any experience in the issue you are presenting with?

Consultation session – do they offer a free consultation?

  1. Speak to them

While you can gain lots of information from a website, or directory entry, you still may be unsure. So give them a call, ask them questions about practicalities such as:

  • availability
  • session length
  • appropriate insurance
  • cancellations
  • realistic time frame’s
  • how do you stop

Not only can this ease any concerns you may have, but it’s a great step in working out if you feel that you can work with this person.

  1. Don’t just go with the first person you see

Finally, go and meet 2 or 3 counsellors, if you can, in order to help you make your final decision.

I can’t say this enough, it’s all about finding the right therapist for you.

Please like, comment, share and follow, and until next time:

be kind | embrace growth | nurture relationships