"How do I find a counsellor?" This is a question I am often asked. How do we as counsellors enable our clients to find out about us and what we offer?
There have been numerous occasions when I have been asked how to find a counsellor. I guess as it's my field of expertise it's only natural that people feel able to ask. However, I and others in a similar position assume that everyone knows how to find someone. I'm wrong.
Just because we in the profession have heard of the BACP, NCS, 'Counselling Directory', 'It's good to talk' website and countless other sites that we easily call to mind, doesn't mean that everyone else has, especially individuals who may be at crisis point; however these sites can often be a good place for them to start.
Deciding that you think you might need to see a counsellor, telling someone you need help or admitting that you are currently struggling is a huge step for many people. There is still, despite the improved image, increased publicity and Royal support, a stigma associated with mental health. There is confusion between the terms counsellor, therapist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist and other titles that even those of us within the profession can struggle to separate or understand the different roles, training criteria and specifics offered. Throw into the mix the different modalities and wow, it can feel like we're wading through treacle, so imagine how prospective clients must feel?!
How do we enable vulnerable individuals to find a counsellor and help them make that choice? There is no easy, clear answer.
Whilst some of the issues stated above need addressing by the umbrella of mental health and possibly our professional bodies, we as individual counsellors can ensure our adverts (these can include leaflets, which can often be overlooked due to the easy use of the internet) and websites are understandable, user friendly and as far as possible jargon free. Before I undertook my counselling training I had no idea about Person Centred Theory, Gestalt, Jungian Theory, CBT, core conditions etc, etc. Clients who feel vulnerable need to know you are there for them. Not to offer a quick fix, but someone who will support them during difficulties in their lives, understand and empower them. We need to be transparent and provide links to further information and other agencies who could be better placed to support the individual at that time.
As someone who works in private practice my initial thoughts were, “I can work with anyone.” There was also an element of ,"I need to work with anyone and everyone!" Whilst I acknowledge that, “yes I can” I have come to the realisation that although I can work with most individuals and their issues, I might not be the best person for the individual. I cannot be all things for all clients. I have my areas of expertise (although I am not the expert; I believe the client is the best expert of themselves) and realise that by acknowledging this, and as a consequence promoting myself in my own niche, will help the client in crisis identify which counsellor can support them best at this time.
My SEO (search engine optimiser) reflects these key phrases, I provide links from my website to the BACP and other directories where I promote my services, this enables the client to make an informed decision as to whether I am the right counsellor for them at this time. I also provide external links within my blogs for further reading or alternative agencies that could provide the support being sought. Ultimately it is the clients choice.
Going back to my initial title, if I am ever asked “How do I find a counsellor?” I signpost individuals to the counselling directory or specific counselling organisations that specialise in the issue that requires support. I also suggest asking friends and family for recommendations, word of mouth promotion is possibly one of the most powerful forms of recognition for any individual counsellor. Networking with other counsellors, letting them know your speciality enables them to promote you and what you're good at, if we all did just a little bit of this perhaps accessing counselling for our clients wouldn't be such a mine field as it can currently appear to be.
Miscarriage, unfortunately still remains something of a taboo subject. Women who have suffered a loss of pregnancy can feel embarrassed and isolated. The aim of this blog is to help get information out relating to the feelings associated with losing a baby, and provide a go to place for individuals, and their families and friends who want to sensitively support them at this time.
Losing a baby due to early miscarriage is devastating. It is not just the physical loss, but the loss of hopes and dreams for the future. Everyone’s experience of pregnancy loss is unique. It is normal to feel a vast range of emotions, and there is no right or wrong way to express your grief and loss, these will vary and be dependent on your own circumstances. Your way may also be different from how your partner expresses their loss. They may be trying to protect your feelings and emotions by not sharing their own feelings, neither is right or wrong.
Some people find it very difficult to know what to say, especially if your miscarriage is early in pregnancy. This can add to your feelings of loneliness or isolation. Others may end up saying the wrong things, even though they were well meaning. Some may be fearful that they might upset you so choose to say nothing. Whichever way people speak with you, these responses can be hurtful; some people just don't understand what your loss means to you and your partner. The Miscarriage Association have launched a campaign ‘Simply Say’ highlighting what might be helpful to #say/#dontsay. Their message is; ultimately each individual is different, listen to them and be guided by what they are needing.
Often individuals find talking about their loss can help. They may find that people can be supportive and understanding. Some may share their own experiences helping reduce the feelings of being alone. There are support groups available, however this is not for everyone, and some women and/or their partners find talking with a counsellor as a couple or on a one-to-one basis can be helpful. I can be that person for you to talk to, why not click on the link below and get in touch.
The Miscarriage Association offers a range of online support. www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk.
I am a counsellor who wants to empower individuals to be the best version of themselves.