Food for thought...
Choosing a counsellor can often feel like a daunting task. Once the decision has been made that the time has come to talk with someone it can often feel overwhelming choosing, where to begin?
In simplistic terms it could be compared to reading a book. I personally have to be in the right place (frame of mind) to read a book. I am sometimes envious of individuals who are able to constantly read something, and even have one or two books on the go simultaneously- now that just blows my mind!
Choosing what to read is making an informed decision and choice, as is choosing a counsellor. Some individuals go by recommendations from their friends or family, whilst others pro-actively search. Google can be a good place to start, as can counselling directories and websites that have all the counsellors within a search distance pop up... This can be overwhelming, which one to choose?
As with choosing a book, we can be drawn in by the front cover or font, whilst the old adage is don't judge a book by it's cover, there is a lot that can be said for going on gut instinct, we are often drawn to something we see for a reason - we just need to be mindful of what or why this has awakened our senses. Next, we tend to read the blurb on the back of the book, if it grabs us and we understand what is written, we take the next step... Once again, the same can be said about choosing the right counsellor for you. What draws you to their picture? Do you connect with the text they have written? Do you understand it (there is no shame in not understanding it, as there are some who blind us with the big words, phrases and terminology; and miss the point that many individuals seeking a counsellor just want someone to listen and support them.)
Finally, we might dip into the book and read a couple of pages. The majority of counsellors offer an introductory session (some are free, some are at a reduced cost, whilst others charge for a full session), the choice is yours. The introductory session allows both of you the opportunity to see if counselling is right for you, but more importantly can you connect with this specific counsellor. We don't always continue to read the book we've chosen, the same is true of counselling, it has to be right for you at this moment in time, and this is ok.
Whilst this insight might seem simplistic to some, for others it can help to realise that choosing the right counsellor for you may take time and a couple of goes, but once you find the right one you are one step closer to finding the best you too.
Good luck with your counselling journey, if you wish to contact me, please do using the link below. It might be the best choice you've made.
Exam time is speeding its way towards many of our young adults, whether it's in the form of GCSE's, AS or A levels.
The rise in anxiety levels and stress is marked, not only for those studying, but for parents and other family members too. With mental health being widely spoken about, we are slowly becoming aware of how it can impact on our youngsters. Many of the young adults I see feel anxious, pressurised, invisible and scared about this time.
As parents we want the best for our children; however at times we need to recognise that sometimes we don't know what is best for them. Yet they do. For example, they may have said they want to be a Dr and have said this for many years, but there are some individuals who know this is what their parents either want them or expect them to be, (they may have picked up on the wishes and desires of the family), when actually they have ambitions and dreams to be something completely different.
They fear telling the parents, they fear rejection, that they have let them down by not wanting to become the Dr, they also feel that they will no longer be loveable or hold any value within the family, that they have failed.
Young people today know how much work they need to do, they know the impact of this - whether they do it or not, and the majority also know how to manage their work loads. Some just choose not too. Many feel suffocated by the constant checking up, lack of free time and pressure to always be studying. They are aware of the consequences (they receive these messages from school), and there comes a times when, as young adults they need to have the freedom to make these choices and live by the results. To feel trusted to make their own decisions and choices.
We cannot live their lives for them, and they need to be supported to make these, whether we approve of them or not. One of the roles of a parent is to prepare our children to become independent, functioning adults who are able to make choices and live by the consequences.
Some of the young people I work with tell me they feel they will let their parents down if they don't get the results their parents and schools are expecting them to achieve, that everything hinges on the envelope they open in August. Wow, so much pressure, whether this is actual or perceived, it is real for the individual.
So what can we do to help? Your young person wants and needs your love, support and encouragement, they need to know that you trust them to make the right choices, and believe that they are achieving to the best of their ability. There are, of course, some young people who do need to be reminded and given 'extra' encouragement to keep on task, remember the saying you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink - how frustrating and time consuming!
Every child is unique
Not every child is able to achieve an A*, there are many who need to feel valued achieving their best grade, that as long as they are able to put their hand on their heart and say they did the best they could, what more can anyone ask of them (or any of us - the majority of us try to achieve the best we can at the time, in the circumstances we find ourselves in, so why should it be any different for our children?)
If in August the results are not what were wanted, needed or expected, then the young person has still learned a valuable lesson, they have ownership of their results and future; (there should be no place for blame, recriminations or "I told you so.") Life doesn't end here, there are always different options available.
I am a counsellor who wants to empower individuals to be the best version of themselves.