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Who DO I trust with my mental health?

I was talking to a fellow counsellor the other day about who we go to when we need to talk.

I mean seriously talk (it happens to us too!). For her it was her partner-'he's my rock' she said-'although he drives me mad sometimes' she laughed!. Knowing him for years, in the context of a close relationship, she can count on him to say the right things for her. He is supportive, encouraging and positive. The support he gives her shows-she too is grounded and positive in her approach to life.

Who do we trust most with our mental health?

So getting the right support is crucial. It's great if you have a partner, a sister or other family member you can trust. Someone you can go to in your most vulnerable moments and come away feeling supported, loved and definitely not judged. If you are extra lucky you have a number of friends that do this for you, and oddly enough, she is one of mine. Obviously, if she is in need then I would do the exact same for her. It's a give and take thing for most people. Their trust in someone else is often part of a reciprocal process. This can also happen within communities and often people can derive a similar support from this. Groups of any kind, Churches, community projects, work colleagues sometimes, can be an enormous source of support for people.

Sometimes though-it goes wrong. Loyalties can be divided, especially in the workplace. If you have an office gossip, you know that there are somethings you just can't share because it can set the jungle drums beating-and boy do they move fast. A 9am whispered secret to the wrong person is a favoured topic of conversation at 10.30am break .

We all need support from others

Sometimes you can find yourself with no-one to go to, or just no-one you can trust enough. It may be that the person you normally talk to is actually a cause of anxiety for you at the moment. Perhaps your usual go-to friend has worries of their own and you don't wish to burden them with yours. You may feel that your problems are too much for someone else to hear or you feel too ashamed to talk about them. Who do you go to? Who can you trust with your mental health?

Have you thought of a trained, qualified and registered counsellor?

Take your time to find the right person to talk to

Basically as counselling is an unregulated profession, anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor. I noticed on Facebook recently an ad for an online certificate for £25 on CBT. People have set them selves up as counsellors with a lot less than that even and that's not even scratcing the surface of therapy. If you know what CBT is and how long it takes to understand the principles of it then you'd also know a couple of hours is nowhere near enough. And what about actually practising it with safeguards in place as most approved courses do? How would you know if you were doing it the right way?

Most people when suffering mental health issues don't know what is wrong-they just don't feel right. Many people have been struggling for a while before they decide to get help. If the problems are multiple it's fair to say it can get fairly complex. To put it in perspective, your brain has the capacity to hold 74 Terabytes of information, just in the cerebral cortex alone (Source That amount of information can take a lot of unravelling.

So I urge you to seek out someone who is capable of helping you to sort it all out. Someone who is:-

a) qualified at least to Diploma Level 4

b) is a member of one of the recognised membership bodies (eg BACP, UKCP, NCS, BABCP etc). Check to see if they have gained accredited status from The Professional Standards Authority.

c) that they are insured to counsel you and ask to see proof.

d) some issues require a counsellor with specialist training-if your counsellor doesn't have it then they ought to refer you on to someone that has or a resource for finding one.

Above all, do not be embarrassed about asking. A genuine counsellor will not be offended nor will they want to withhold that information. Counselling is about being honest-and that starts with helping you to find the right counsellor.

Check your counsellors credentials!

You may have seen the recent BBC News 'Can anyone call themself a counsellor?'.

Some very distressing cases of what happens when the counsellor is not qualified.

If not, and you are thinking of accessing counselling, then I urge you to check it out. (I have attached the link at the bottom of the page).

Counselling isn't always easy. It can be challenging sometimes especially if you are holding on to past trauma or are struggling to let something go. A good counsellor will help you face it. How can someone help you through it if for example-they didn't learn to recognise complex trauma? They might attempt to get you to talk about it. Relive it even. What they may not know is that it, in untrained hands, it could potentially re-traumatize you. They wouldn't know because an online course that only lasted a handful of hours covering the basics of CBT couldn't possibly cover that.

Your mental wellbeing is precious. You need to be certain that the counsellor you are seeing is trained and qualified to do the work you will be doing together.


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