So for those of you who are joining the blog a bit late, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I take medication for it. More important than my medication, though, is my time in counselling. I see Dr. B once a month, (more as I need,) and it does me a world of good. I’ve been having some really great sessions lately so I thought I’d take this chance to talk about counselling in a bit more detail. So here’s what people usually ask me about seeing a counsellor:
What exactly is counselling? Like, what do you do there?
I talk…a lot. I try to be really open and I talk about what is stressful for me. Dr. B listens and asks questions. I have read a lot about anxiety since being diagnosed, so as Dr. B puts it, he “listens, makes suggestions and then gets out of the way.” He also gives me articles to read, which I do and then pass on to Nick and my mom. Your counselling sessions might not be exactly like that and that’s ok too. It should suit your personality.
Do you have to talk about your childhood?
Not if you don’t want to. Bring up what is most relevant to you and the counsellor should help you make sense of it.
How did you find your current counsellor?
Dr. B was recommended to me by my doctor and I’m really happy with him. However, I went through about five counsellors before (both men and women) who didn’t work for me because they were too patronizing or they told me I was fine even though I didn’t feel fine.
Is it expensive?
Yes. This is the drawback so it is important to research how you can afford counselling. In my cause, my employer’s Employee Assistance Program pays for ten visits to a counsellor. After that, I pay myself. However, there are other forms of help that are inexpensive or free and many workplaces will subsidize you getting help. I suggest talking to your boss, union representative (if you have one), family doctor, or calling the London-Middlesex Health Unit (or a health unit in your area). They can make better recommendations than I can.
Are you embarrassed to be in counselling?
I was at first. I felt like I was admitting weakness and that my anxiety was somehow my fault. Now I know that I can’t help being anxious but I can work on being less anxious. I’m proud of myself for getting help and for sharing my story.
How do I know if I need counselling?
If you feel like it would benefit you or your doctor recommends it, you should go. If you don’t like it, you can find another counsellor or strop going. You have nothing to lose but an hour of your time and some bad feelings.
So I hope that helps shed some light on what it’s like to be in counselling for anxiety. If you have more questions, email me or post a response below. I’ll answer them as best I can.