Diane Stevens has been the Counselling Co-ordinator (Senior Counsellor) of CCC for six years and has seen hundreds of clients come and go; some via self-referral, some from organisations and some sent from their GPs. What they all have in common, is that they have found help in a safe and confidential environment to work through their emotional difficulties and life choices.
Many people come to CCC initially because they don't know where else to turn. Often they have a limited number of people to confide in or they don't want to burden others with their problems. What becomes apparent though, is that by keeping things to themselves, they often do burden others as loved ones worry when they do not understand what is going on.
I personally have seen hundreds of clients, some privately, some from organisations and some through the NHS. I have been counselling for twenty years and have seen clients as young as four and as mature as eighty three. What they often have in common is that they are confused, unsure or worried about their feelings or worried about making decisions which will affect them or others.
Depression and anxiety are probably the biggest concerns for individuals; these can lead to unhappiness, anger, loneliness and an array of other feelings, emotions and behaviours. Being able to speak about your concerns with someone who doesn't know you or your family and friends can bring huge relief and allow people to talk about themselves more openly and honestly without feeling guilty or disloyal.
Never too old
You might ask why a four year old or an eighty three year old might need counselling? It doesn't matter what age you are. If things are worrying you, your life is probably adversely affected, bad choices can be made, and life can appear more challenging. The eighty three year old isn't alive now, but she died much happier than when I first saw her and wouldn't mind me sharing her story. She was lonely. She'd been alone for many years after her husband died and her grown up children had their own lives, so she didn't see them much. Our work was to explore the gaps in her life and how she could become fulfilled. She was extremely open about missing intimacy, sex and the family unit. She wanted to meet someone who was more than a companion, and although coy at first, was eventually able to admit her needs to herself, even though deemed to be 'old' by friends and family, which became a bit of a joke. She did go on to meet a lovely gentleman who gave her some happier memories in the last months of her life, after she had given herself permission to meet her needs and desires.
Never too young
A four year old needing counselling, to many, may seem sad. After all, they have just started their journey in life. Sadly though, many young people are affected by the life choices of their parents and carers, and if the resulting confusion isn't dealt with, can be taken and replicated in our adult lives. This boy's behaviour had changed, particularly at school, where he was unkind to other children. His mother did not know what to do. Through play therapy, he was able to explore emotions that he couldn't explain, and was able to 'act out' his feelings in the therapy room. What transpired was the representation of his inability to understand why his parents were no longer together. His mother was unable to discuss his father without being upset, so all conversations about his father involved crying, anger and his mother telling him things he didn't understand or want to hear. All he knew is that he wasn't allowed to see his dad and his anger was being acted out at school with his peers and teachers. Therapy helped his to make sense of his behaviour and enabled him to communicate with his mum on his own level about his confusion. His mum then realised that witholding visits to his dad were more about meeting her needs than those of her son. Access to his dad was reinstated, which inevitably changed his behaviour and he experienced his own power to change things.
Counselling for all
Therapy is helpful for everyone in all walks of life to explore their own confusion, behaviour and to establish their place in the world. As adults, we often revert back to childlike behaviour when we are misunderstood or don't understand events around us. We can resort to inappropriate behaviours in an attempt to meet our own needs, which can in turn push away those around us and cause them confusion.
Counsellors are not there to judge anyone or any situation.
Counsellors will not tell you what to do or what not to do.
Counsellors are there to give you the time and space to work through your own concerns and provide support by offering alternative ways of thinking and exploring.
The trust of another human being is one of the most valuable things we can experience, and this is how the therapeutic relationship is built.
Therapy isn't about feeling weak or capable.
Therapy is about finding the strength to take action and make appropriate changes.
We all know how uncomfortable change can be. Mark Twain once said, "The only person who likes change is a wet baby." I think that this is true. Even a baby can express anxiety by howling before and during the change, but what a lovely feeling when that change is made, all is comfortable again and life can go on.
If you have been affected by anything I have written (or indeed anything else) contact CCC to see if we can help. My hunch is that we can!
Cambridge 01223 233047 Peterborough 01733 553166
CCC Coordinator of Counselling
Please note that CCC offers counselling to people 16 and over, but we can we can signpost you to other organisations for help for those under 16.