Your health and wellbeing often come second, but it is important that as a carer, you take time to look after yourself
What is counselling?
The term “counselling” can mean different things to different people, but in general it is a process people seek when they want to make changes in their life or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth. Counselling allows people to discuss their problems and difficult feelings they experience in a safe, confidential environment.
A counsellor is not there to tell you what to do or give you advice. They will encourage you to talk about what's bothering you in order to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking.
What can counselling help with?
If you are a carer or have been a carer, you may be experiencing many different emotions. Stress, anxiety, guilt, bereavement, trauma, loss – to name just a few. Counselling can help you work through these emotions, allowing you time and space to concentrate on your emotions.
Counselling can be useful for anyone who wants to explore the way they are thinking or feeling. It can also help anyone experiencing a problem or issue they are keen to resolve.
How can counselling help?
The way counselling can help will depend on you, as an individual. For many, the fact that counselling offers a safe and confidential environment where we can talk is all it takes. Often, we find it difficult to confide in those closest to us, feeling we have nowhere to turn, we can end up hiding feelings deep inside causing us distress and pain. Counselling offers you the space and freedom to explore your own thoughts with another person who will not judge you and is not part of your situation.
Counselling can help you understand yourself better and the way you think, which will ultimately help you develop a clearer understanding of your problems. The more information you have, the easier it becomes to gradually find your way through difficulties you are facing so that eventually you can come out the other side feeling more positive.
Our counsellors believe that we all have the ability to emotionally grow. However, through experiences and situations we encounter in life, this growth can become distorted, inhibited or even change into something destructive. You will be able to explore your situation or experience together, with your counsellor. Giving you the opportunity to rediscover or find your ability to grow.
What will be expected of you?
Usually a single session is not enough. Counselling is a journey, and it takes time and consistency to work effectively. To make full use of the sessions it is recommended that you attend them regularly.
About the therapy
When it comes to counselling there are a range of different approaches. The type of counselling Carers in Bedfordshire offer is called Person Centred Therapy. Person Centred Therapy is the type of counselling that is most in tune with the issues that carers may face. Allowing you time and space to explore your emotions
What to expect from counselling
If you have decided to try counselling, you might be feeling anxious about your first session. Making the decision to get help and address the issues you are facing is an important first step.
In your first session your counsellor may ask you some questions in order to gain an understanding of what it is you are struggling with. It is advised that you try to be honest and open when answering these questions in order to get the most out of your counselling sessions.
During your counselling experience you should aim to build a trusting relationship with your counsellor so that you feel safe and confident discussing your worries. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable with your counsellor speak with your support worker or the counselling coordinator.
Some sessions will feel more helpful than others, but it is important to realise that everything your counsellor is doing is designed to help you in the long run, even if it doesn't feel like it in the beginning.
It is also worth remembering that counselling is not a quick fix and that your counsellor will not be able to tell you what to do. The counselling process requires a strong relationship between you and your counsellor and a degree of effort on your part.
How many sessions will be needed?
The length of treatment depends on the nature and severity of the problem, and the goals discussed.
A national research study found that 50 percent of counselling clients had made improvement within eight sessions of therapy, and 75 percent showed improvement after six months of therapy.
What does it cost?
We able to offer counselling at the greatly reduced rate of just £15 per session. Our service is subsidised by CiB, and our volunteer counsellors are members of the British Association of Counselling and Physiotherapy.
What to do next
We offer short term counselling for carers aged 18 or over. We ask for a £15 fee per hour long session towards the cost of the service. You can apply for an NHS Carers Grant towards your course of counselling, if you are eligible. Talk to your support worker about being referred for counselling if you feel it is something that would help you. If you feel you would like to know more about Counselling Carers with Carers in Bedfordshire, please contact the office on 0300 111 19 19.
Relaxation is an important key to health and wellbeing. Relaxation Therapy aims to decrease the effects of stress on the body and mind. Stress is known to contribute to the development of many health problems. As we relax, our body has an opportunity to unwind and heal itself. It reduces symptoms of stress and makes you feel more able to cope with your caring role.
Relaxation Therapy can help:
- Reduce anger and frustration
- Reduce muscular tension
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety
- Induce relaxation
- Calm breathing rates
- Manage chronic pain
- Generate restful sleep
- By giving you time away from your caring role
Our relaxation therapists offer this service from our Bedford, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard offices by appointments during the day. A course of five 1 hour sessions costs £120 or £25 per session if booked individually. Our recommended way of accessing our relaxation surpport is through the NHS Carers Grants, for carers who are eligible. Contact your support worker for referrals to this service. Therapies are also available at some of our Carers Cafes - appointments preferable (call 0300 111 1919 to book). Occasionally sessions are available on the day, please ask on the door.
If you can't get out and about easily because of your caring role, it is easy to feel you are battling alone. Sharing can often provide some relief. You will be phoned on a regular basis by one of our volunteers for an informal chat to see how you are. They may be able to help with a problem or let you know of the best person here who could help you. Other times it is good just to chat.