Personal experience of therapy is not something you will easily come upon. While the stigma of seeking help by talking to a professional is decreasing, there is still a reluctance among many to talk openly about having therapy. We want to chip away at that by sharing more personal stories of the therapy experience - could that include yours?
We are looking for therapy clients, current or previous, of any age or background to write about how they experienced counselling. It could be a short and simple account, or an article that is longer and more reflective. You can put your name to it, or make it entirely anonymous. Or, if you are a therapist, you might want to mention this to your clients. They may respond well to the opportunity to write about their own experience
Here are a few to get you thinking on the subject ...
This is from a post on Advantages of Age, a great platform for people over 45, in which Janice McGuinness writes about facing redundancy: "Then both our mothers died, sooner than we’d expected and within half a year of each other. These two foundation-shaking events were devastating and eclipsed everything else for me and Andrew. They stopped our world and put it on pause for a while, but as we moved on and began to move forward, a new clarity emerged. I started to move with the flow rather than resisting it and my eyes were opened to opportunity and change, though I can’t explain exactly how this happened. I’d been seeing a counsellor for a few months, and she had certainly helped me to reconsider my identity and to ask myself some starkly honest questions about me, my work, my relationships and my future. When mum died, the loss helped me answer those questions and put things in perspective. I’m sure it set off a chain reaction, because from that moment, my life changed."
This is from our own site in which Paul Steen writes about using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) to help with bereavement: "When my wife died, it brought back problems that I had struggled with in the past. So it wasn’t just terrible, crippling grief I was experiencing; in my mind I was conflating very different things, and then I started having panic attacks. I knew I needed help or I would have a breakdown. I found a bereavement specialist, and – along with traditional psychotherapy – she practised EMDR. She would take a pen or stick or even use her finger and then – as I thought about the most traumatic part of my wife’s death – she would move it from one side to another, while I stared at it. I was very sceptical, but it was effective. It did take the edge off my panic.
"Eventually we entered a long period of talking therapy in which we tried to sort out the grief from my historic anxieties, so that I could understand why I felt so guilty and angry. I felt trapped in a cyclical thought process, and - on my own - I couldn’t get out of it. My therapy lasted 18 months. Not every week after the first year, but still pretty regularly. I pushed it hard; I wanted to understand what was happening, so I took notes. A lot of it was traumatic; some sessions were appalling. But she was a very experienced therapist, and I always knew we were working towards a good outcome."
If you're interested in contributing but aren't sure how to go about it, we're very happy to send you a template with some guiding questions to help you get started. Send questions or posts to [email protected], and watch out for more on the site on this very relevant subject.