Historically, mental health has had a pretty negative stigma attached to it. Awareness and education is starting to break this down, but in the past, going to a Counsellor or Psychologist might have been seen as being weak or unstable. How horrible to experience shame at a time when you are probably feeling really isolated and need support.

I see it the other way around. Seeking help to alleviate suffering, and to face your issues, is extremely brave. It takes strength to address causes of pain or distress.

Think of it this way. If you had a broken leg, you’d go and see a doctor and a team of medical practitioners.

So if you’re struggling with mental health, it makes sense to see a qualified practitioner who can help you. Your emotions, thoughts and beliefs play a huge role in your overall wellbeing. Talking to a professional and finding ways to resolve unhealthy thoughts or overwhelming emotions, can empower you to move forward and have the confidence to do the things you love again.

Some examples of what you or a loved one might be experiencing are:

  • Feeling sad or low, crying often, unable to get out of bed
  • No longer enjoying activities, hobbies or socialising the way you used to
  • Becoming overwhelmed by anxiety, which often feels like you’re losing your breath, having heart palpitations and experiencing incredible agitation. Fidgeting or having your legs shake might also be evident.
  • Being bullied or harassed at work or at school, and becoming stressed, suicidal, depressed or anxious.
  • Dealing with chronic pain or illness, sometimes meaning you are unable to work, which can create stress around family, finances and feelings of self worth. The physical pain alone can often have significant implications on our mental health.

These are just some of the symptoms or situations that might be experienced, and may be helped with the support of a Counsellor. Being upset in certain situations is perfectly normal. If your life is being negatively impacted and the symptoms are ongoing, it’s important to get some help. This is normal too.

You might also not have any unpleasant symptoms. Often clients have a focus on self development, to explore aspects of self and getting in touch with your true inner self. Getting to know who you are is a powerful way to live and grow, and you often find a sense of calm, content and happiness. This can have positive impacts throughout your life; work, relationships, family.

If you’ve never seen a Counsellor before, you might wonder what it’s like.

Together, we’ll discuss the goals that you want to achieve. I’ll let you know what the sessions might look like. Then we’ll get started. Despite popular belief, you won’t be lying on a couch and I will rarely ask “And how does that make you feel?” If at any point you feel uncomfortable, we stop.

You might leave your session feeling high and hopeful, or you may need some time to process what we’ve discussed. Looking after yourself during this period of work is important, and I’ll give you some ideas and techniques to support you.

Some other areas to note are:

  • Anything we discuss is strictly confidential. The only time I would need to disclose information is if I am subpoenaed by authorities, or if you plan to hurt yourself or someone else.
  • If you are bringing your child in for a session, I will have you both in the room for at least the first 10-20 minutes.
  • I usually recommend starting with 6 sessions over 6-8 weeks to get the best outcomes.
  • Unfortunately Medicare and Private Health Insurance won’t support you seeing a Counsellor. If you’re on a Mental Health Care Plan provided by your GP and want to access Medicare or Insurance rebates, you will need to see a Registered Psychologist.

Counsellors are individual people just as you are. Some you work well with, and some might not be to your taste. That’s totally ok. Finding the right person for you is the best result, and I’ll always put your wellbeing first.

I hope that’s given you some insight in to the counselling world. If you’d like to discuss this further, please call me on 0488198080.

Melanie Fisher, M.Couns

Registration: PACFA

If you are experiencing immediate distress, please note the following services available 24/7:

Emergency services – 000 (zero zero zero)

Lifeline – 131114

Safe Steps Family Violence Response – 1800015188