Do you think you might need to speak to someone about your mental health? Today, we hear from Lorraine Hackett, who is a counsellor with My Mind about what options are available…

Counselling (and psychotherapy, which is longer term and more in-depth, but similar to counselling) is a good step if you feel that you are overwhelmed by either life events or if you are feeling not great about yourself.

Counselling happens either face to face or online. Online counselling is becoming really popular and is a great idea if you can’t get to a therapy centre every week. Also, for some people, online therapy can feel safer and easier, as an initial step into mental health services.

From a therapists’ point of view, meeting face to face is preferable. Just like in life, meeting from behind a screen creates a barrier to emotional contact. This barrier might make work easier initially, as it can feel overwhelming to have a space that is just for you, with all your reality laid bare for a therapist to understand. However, being comfortable with having a space that is intended for your emotionality to have safe expression, though it can be uncomfortable at first, is an essential part of therapy.

Meeting face to face is the best option, as it means that your therapist can work with not only what you say, but with how you are in the room. Even if it is uncomfortable, it means that you can be real, and gain comfort with the idea that someone can see all of you and not reject you. However, that is not to say that online therapy is not real, or won’t get you to a safe emotional place. It will, and your therapist will have had training in how to bring you to your best and safest emotional space.

Either online or face to face, deciding to go to counselling can be an intimidating step.

For most people, they decide to go to therapy because something in their lives has stopped working. This might be because of a difficult event (the end of a relationship, for example, or the end of a life stage), or even because of a trauma (assault, for example, or death or the negative impact of the actions of others on how we are able to live our lives). These kinds of events can be helped with short term counselling. Adding tools to our kit on how to deal with difficulty makes us stronger and more able to cope.

For some people, short term counselling will lead to an interest in longer term work. Long term therapy (which could be anything from 6 months to 3 years, or even longer. Most people do long term work for about a year), is when you look at why you do what you do. It gives you, as a client, the space to examine what systems are in place in your life that influence your decisions, life choices and daily interactions. Your therapist and you will build a relationship, where he or she gets to know everything about how you are, emotionally speaking. How do you deal with anger, for example? Is it important to you that the world sees you as a ‘good girl’? Do you operate in a people pleasing space? Are you seeking approval from parents, authority, friends or from romantic relationships? What are you really scared of? These questions will be answered over many months, from an emotional place. Your therapist has training in getting to know what is happening for you internally and operates from a space of complete acceptance.

Your therapist will always be on your team.

At the end of any course of therapy or counselling, you will have learned a lot about yourself. This is the point. Your self awareness gives you power within your life, your behaviour and your relationships. Being aware of how and why we do what we do is one of the greatest educations that you can allow yourself to have.

Making an appointment for therapy or for counselling is easy. There are many centres around the country that offer both face to face and online therapy. MyMind has 5 centres around Ireland and offers online therapy. They also guarantee that you will have an appointment scheduled within 72 hours of making contact.

When you’re ready, MyMind is ready for you.

Lorraine Hackett is a psychotherapist with a person-centred training. Her training was a HDip in Counselling & Psychotherapy and an MA in Psychotherapy from Dublin Business School. Lorraine is a fully accredited member of IAHIP.

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