Considering therapy

There are many things to think about if you are considering seeing a Counsellor or Therapist. These terms are often used interchangeably and for this post I will adopt the term ‘Counselling’ to refer to Therapy and Counselling.
It is important to have a good idea of what you are wanting from the Counselling, however not a necessary. Knowing exactly what you want is not always clear and can be what sets the foundation for your primary session.

Counsellor’s and Therapist’s often work very differently so it is important to feel comfortable with your counsellor, after all you are likely to be discussing personal aspects about yourself and life. Hence the need to feel comfortable with your counsellor.
Following up on the above. What you discuss with your counsellor is confidential however that has limitations and you may wish to find out more about this. Confidentiality is a cornerstone to all counselling and therapy so do ask your counsellor about their practices and policies. If they are a registered Professional and a member of a Professional body then they should have a privacy and confidentiality policy in place and will not be offended if you ask about this and how it will work for you.

Duration of therapy is a question that is often asked about and is a very difficult thing to determine with any degree of accuracy. Due to the unique and individual nature of the therapy, plus the different ways in which counsellor’s work, not to mention clients ability to get too grips with what is expected of them. Theses these elements alone make accurate predictions a challenge, however that said if you are clear about what you want to achieve then predicting the amount of sessions is made easier.

Face-to-face or online. A very divisive subject with in the profession. The recent issues regarding SARS Covid-2 and restrictions on movement and issues around isolation, there has been a rapid escalation in online counselling and therapy. However it is important to consider that few practitioners are properly versed in this method of therapeutic delivery. This is in part down to it not being a part of their training. This is likely to change in the future. The benefits of online counselling are clear, with convenience, ease of access, flexibility and immediacy being its attraction. It is easy to forget aspects of privacy and confidentiality, security, reliable hardware and internet. Digital literacy is a must if you decide to receive counselling online.
Face-to-face is a well tried and tested way of receiving counselling, the journey to and from can often be seen as an inconvenience, however clients have reported that it is a wonderful way to prepare and also process following sessions. It is will known within the profession that the journey is an important and valuable part of counselling, however under the current circumstances it is advisable to consider the risks and assess in order to manage them.
There is another alternative which would involve using both face-to-face and online as a blended approach which again has been reported to be very helpful. In conclusion, wether you work online or face-to-face the critical thing is matching the correct delivery method with who and what is being treated.

Finally cost. Again there are many things that influence the pricing ranging from and not exclusively things such as expertise, location, training, experience and competitors. The best way to find out would be to ask your counsellor on their fee structure. An other option to consider may be look at taking part in group counselling, this can often work out a bit cheaper and also be helpful to you. As you will be dealing with your problems as a group and not on you own.


It is easy to forget that anxiety is a normal and natural feeling, as are the many other feeling which we all have. However when the feeling of anxiety starts to impact on our day to day life, or when we stop doing those things we have to do because of the feeling of anxiety then it is time to seek professional help and guidance.

What is anxiety
There are many sites on the inter web which can explain anxiety in different ways so I will attempt to keep my explanation short and simple.
The feeling of anxiety is caused by a release of a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is used by the body in situations that are deemed stressful or life threatening. This biological mechanism is often referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response and is a legacy of our evolutionary development which helped us safe from being eaten or injured. Clearly it was useful otherwise you would not be reading this.
The primary effects of a release of adrenaline which can be triggered for with in 2 to 3 minutes, are an increased heart rate which intern increases blood pressure, expanding the capacity of lungs, promoting the eyes to dilate, and the redistribution of blood prioritising muscles, this action alters the bodies metabolism. The reaction will increases blood glucose levels, mainly to the brain. Because this mechanism is hardwired into our body once it is triggered it has to run its course. A big part of the initial treatment is learning to manage the symptoms, especially is there are no obvious cause or triggers.
Some people experience something that has become to be called an ‘adrenaline burn’ this is when out of no where a sudden rush of fear comes about, all the symptoms of ‘fight or flight’ this has been explained as a slow accumulative buildup of adrenaline in the bodies tissues suddenly migrate into the bloodstream causing the flight or fight feelings. Often very unpleasant especially if you are not aware of what it is or you understand what is happening. Regular exercise can be one of the things that can help with such events.

There are numerous levels of anxiety and these are often very personal to each and every individual. Some suffers have triggers which cause their anxiety, however other may find themselves feeling anxious for no apparent reason, this is often referred to as ‘free floating anxiety’. For some their experience of anxiety is manageable and just a fleeting event, for others it can be totally debilitating, requiring significant resources, support and time to help reorientate them.
For those who have not experienced anxiety or have not recognised what anxiety is or feels like it can be near impossible to understand what is happening, let alone help someone.

Helping those having anxiety or panic attack.
Symptoms can be so acute that suffers present as if they are having a heart attack, in such cases always call (999 in UK) for urgent medical assistance. It is imposable to tell the difference if you are not medically trained to do so, take no chances. If you are sure it is an anxiety or panic attack help the person to a quiet place out of the way of others, sit them down or if they feel faint better still lay them down on their back with their knees bent and a pillow under their head so they feel as comfortable as they can. Ask them calmly to look at you and tell them “it’s OK, it’s fine” tell them “This will pass, and you will feel better soon. Just breath in for the count of three seconds, and hold it for one second. then slowly release the breath over the count of four seconds, hold for one second and inhale over the count of three seconds”. Repeat this process until they start to feel calmer. It is important to remind them to keep focusing on you. Another important point is ‘STAY CALM YOURSELF’, you state will directly effect the person you are trying to help, remember stay calm.

I hope that by taking a little time to explain what is happening behind the feelings of anxiety that it may go some way in helping to improve the understanding around anxiety and the anxious feelings, preventing the feelings of anxiety spiralling out of control.
The worst thing is being anxious about being anxious.