Article for Feelgood Balham:  August 2018

Can counselling help people with anxiety?

Anxiety can take many forms, from low key worry to panic attacks, phobias and O.C.D.  It is normal for us to worry, it can keep us safe, or help us prepare for things in life which are difficult. However, the balance can shift and it can become debilitating in itself, or lead to unhelpful coping methods. This could include too much drink, drugs, avoidance of whatever is causing the anxiety, or difficulty in relationships.  

When you are suffering from anxiety the thought of trying counselling for the first time can seem very daunting.  Counselling can help though, as it gives a person a chance to talk to someone who is not otherwise involved in their lives.  It is private, and a Counsellor will not judge; they want to help the client.  In a session the Counsellor will listen very carefully to understand the client’s life, behaviour and waysof relating to others. It is the client who holds the information,  and the Counsellor who brings another perspective, expertise and awareness.  Together they facilitate the client in getting a deeper understanding of what is problematic in their lives, unearth the roots of those problems, and help to alleviate symptoms. The Counsellor helps the client help themselves; an ability which will continue their whole lives.

The first meeting is an important one, as both parties have a chance to see if they can work together. In my first sessions I assess how the client is feeling at that point in time, get some of their personal history, and an idea of how they want to improve their lives.  Counselling can be a rocky road at times, but, if the client is ready, I am there to  “walk by their side” as it were, whilst they undergo this process. This can take time and effort, but the benefits to understanding our demons can be invaluable, including an ability to work with, and use, the stressors in our lives.

So, if a client does decide that they want to go ahead and try counselling, then, in response to my earlier question:  Yes, anxiety can be helped by counselling.