Have you ever wondered what other people are going through when they decide to seek therapy?
What point they reach before finally taking the plunge and reaching out?
How do they decide who to ask for support?
What’s it like once they’ve overcome those initial hurdles?
Taking that first step to engage professional services like counselling or coaching can be daunting. So I interviewed a client who had completed several sessions to find out exactly what it can be like. To maintain client confidentiality and protect her identity, we’ll call her Ava.
Ava shares with us some of what the process was like for her, shedding light on her experiences leading up to, during and after her sessions. Ava talks candidly about the impacts her experiences, thoughts and emotions were having on her, and how these left her feeling isolated and lost.
Instead of impersonal clinical treatments, Ava found professional support that felt more like an honest conversation with a trusted friend. She tells us the benefits she experienced from engaging a comfortable and accessible service which allowed her to talk openly. Ava rediscovered her focus, found relief from her stress, and reignited her zest for life. Read Ava’s interview below.
Q. What prompted you to seek coaching / counselling?
A. I noticed I wasn’t feeling myself for a long while. I felt lost, my motivation for what I was passionate about had decreased and I generally felt frustrated with everything. I didn’t know what was wrong, except that I didn’t feel worthy of getting through. I had lost a loved one a few years prior. I had experienced the initial stages of grief but what I was feeling felt past grief, or another stage I hadn’t expected. I was inside my own head a lot, over analysing and needed a safe space to talk.
Q. How were these issues affecting your life?
A. I would procrastinate ALOT. I was self-sabotaging and placing insanely high expectations on myself. If I didn’t get off the couch and put in a decent days’ work, I’d beat myself up and tell myself ‘I knew I’d screw up’ and ‘I was lazy’. Even though my husband and I communicate well, I felt I couldn’t talk about what I was feeling because I didn’t want to burden him and I felt everyone except me had moved past the grief. At work, I wouldn’t speak up in meetings, I didn’t share my ideas, and I generally felt I wasn’t good enough for the work I was doing or that anyone would hire me in the future. I was in a profession that I love but felt out of place and incompetent.
Q. Who did you look for to assist you with these personal challenges?
A. I needed someone who would listen, challenge my thinking and give me practical strategies to overcome my day-to-day obstacles. I didn’t need the clinical jargon, theories and frameworks that may or may not apply to my situation. I wanted someone real, who was easy to talk to, caring, yet would give me ‘tough love’ when I needed. Someone who would check-in with me between sessions and just be someone in my corner.
Q. What made you choose this counselling service over others?
A. I chose this service as it offered a free consultation without any obligation which allowed me to talk to a counsellor first to learn more about the process and see how comfortable I felt. As soon as I spoke to Bree I knew she was all those things I was looking for. She is genuine, caring and ‘real’; a down-to-earth person.
I liked that I could book my sessions directly online. The online meetings and between session check-ins were some of my favourite aspects of her service. The online sessions added to the experience because I could sit in my own home; be comfortable. And it’s nice to know someone is thinking of you between catch-ups as you go through a deeply personal process.
In our sessions, I felt like I was having a chat and a cup of tea with a friend. This was someone ‘neutral’ and outside my day-to-day, so being able to opening up and talk about whatever was on my mind was a huge weight off my shoulders.
Q. How did working with a counsellor help you?
A. I learned to give myself permission to take time out when I need. Talking to a counsellor helped me see facts from thoughts and brought perspective. I have recognised and become okay with the difference between how you feel and what you think you should be feeling. For example, I thought I shouldn’t have been feeling the way I did because I have a wonderful husband, an income and house to be grateful for. What is there to be upset about?! But that’s not how I felt and I’d beat myself up.
I now feel worthy of what I have in my life. I have more courage to feel all I need to feel, knowing that it passes. I feel more empowered about how I go about my life. Bree was someone ‘real’. She tells it like it is and didn’t make me feel like I was ‘in therapy’.
Do you need a friendly ear to help you process your thoughts?
If you need practical support to get you through a difficult situation or to help you navigate life’s bumpy roads, get in touch for a FREE 20-minute consultation to talk about your needs. You can book a free ‘Welcome’ consultation with me at a time that suits you, simply drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you ♥
I am a qualified Social Worker with over a decade of experience helping individuals to successfully transition through life changes, overcome obstacles, and increase self-determination. Get your FREE eBook: 5 Steps to Bring Your Confidence out of Hibernation, by clicking the button below.