Expert Author Susan Leigh
I often say that counseling and therapy is in competition with many people - the stranger at the bus stop, the hairdresser, friends at the gym, over a coffee, close family members, the person stood next to us at the bar.
If we are feeling upset or stressed, it can be valuable to offload to a friendly face, and often times feel better for having done so. Sometimes it is enough just to voice or vent how we are feeling, whether or not we get advice back in return.
When there becomes a pattern to the negative feelings, or they are becoming slowly worse, then that can be an indicator that something of a more professional nature needs to be brought in to help.
The sort of problems that can be helped by counselling and therapy are those of an emotional or psychological background : Stress and Anxiety, low Self Esteem, Grief, Relationship problems (where communications are needing to be improved, whatever the end result, often linking in with issues around self esteem for one or both people, or poor relationship examples from childhood), unwanted habits, even some physical problems, like pain, have an emotional or psychological component that can be relieved and so help the symptoms.
There can be a real advantage to hiring a neutral professional to help heal negative habits, outlooks, behaviours. For a start, a therapist has nothing to gain from the outcome of any sessions. Friends and family are rarely neutral. They will often have an opinion about what's happening in a friend or family members life. A therapist can help to trace the origins of a problem, help the original reasons and impact be understood and then allow those reasons to be let go of. Also a therapist will not judge their client, they are not going to be disgusted or horrified to hear their client's story. They will probably have heard variations of it many times before. They are interested in you - helping you to feel better about yourself and getting you and your life back on track.
Self awareness is a huge part of the therapeutic process. Understanding oneself and the triggers that can cause a negative reaction helps regain control over choices about behaviour. I call it 'spotting the amber lights'. A green light, like with traffic lights, means that everything is going well, moving in the right direction. A red light means, stop, everything has come to a halt, can't move or function properly. The amber light is the one to learn to look out for. That's the time when stress indicators begin to flash and that information allows a person to stop what they are doing and take a positive break instead.
Every person will have their own amber lights. Learning to recognise your own is the key. They can range from restless or fitful sleep, irritability, blurred vision, lack of concentration, IBS symptoms, loss of sense of humour, short temper, over or under eating, lack of libido, and so so. There are over 360 symptoms of stress, tension and anxiety.
Positive things to do when you recognise that your amber light is warning you, are the things that schedule in some space, some nice things that you like to do, that give time out. They can vary from an evening out with friends or a loved one, going for a walk, reading a book, having a nice soak in the bath for half an hour. Just recognising that you need some 'me' time is good.
There are many different ways of therapeutically treating the mind/body connection.
*Talking therapies, like counselling, can help bring about insight and recognition. They also provide skills and techniques to manage and control ones state of well being.
*Meridian therapies work on healing and releasing the energy flow and any blockages that may have arisen to cause ill health. EFT and TAT are both well known in this discipline.
*Hypnotherapy works on the unconscious mind, where learned responses and behaviours, that may go back some years, have been reinforced over and over again. Patterns like fear, insecurity, neediness, guilt. It works on healing and releasing those old patterns and allows the present day person to be what their unconscious mind knows and wants them to be.
If you're looking to find a therapist, personal recommendation is always the best way. Failing that, using the internet or a directory is another option. Check that the person is qualified and insured, is a member of a professional organisation and is committed to Continuous Personal Development. Then phone them up and have a chat. Ask them questions and ensure that you feel comfortable about what they have to say.
This relationship could hold the key to your future health and happiness. It's important to find the best person for the job.