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  • Writer's pictureMellissa Hamley

My First Counselling Experience

It’s been over 10 years since I had my first counselling experience. Thankfully I feel like mental health is talked about more and there are more resources readily available to signpost you if you want help.

My experience wasn’t exactly helpful for long term help so I wanted to tell you about it in case in resonates with you.

I had been working myself into the ground for at least the year prior. I was working long hours and didn’t know how to switch off when I got home. My family knew something was wrong but I couldn’t see it. I was snappy, disinterested and withdrawn. Eventually it got too much and I walked out of work. I was signed off work by my GP for about 12 weeks in total. That in itself felt like a stressful process.

I was offered counselling by my GP (of which there was a long waiting list) and also via my workplace. They were both very different experiences.

The counselling given by the workplace healthcare (now often called EAP’s) felt helpful at the time. They listened and gave me advice on what my company was responsible for in terms of my mental health. It never really manifested into anything useful and they didn’t help me identify any coping strategies. I only had 1 or 2 sessions.

When I eventually got to see the counsellor at my GP Surgery I had been back to work and felt like everything had been resolved. I felt more relaxed and work situations had changed. I wrongly believed that because the issues were no longer in my workplace that I would be ok. I wish the counsellor had been more open to encouraging me to stay and look at myself.

Looking back I couldn’t have been more wrong. My workplace didn’t force me to do anything. I didn’t have good boundaries in place, or how to take care of myself or even what stress was for me. I didn’t learn these until I was doing my counselling training and realised I had been making the same mistakes again.

I’m not saying I’m now perfect. We’re all human beings and will make mistakes. But now I know when my body is telling me it’s too much and I can take a step back. I’ve learnt I need to ensure I have a good work/life balance and so much more.

If any of this resonates with you, please reach out.

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