One way to overcome depression can be to find a the right counsellor for you. Many people who have depression find that working with their GP, who manages anti-depressant medication and the right therapist who provides talk therapy is a helpful combination. Finding the right counsellor or therapist to help you with your depression may sometimes feel intimidating. It’ difficult to know where to start and the questions to ask.
Here are some considerations for finding a counsellor to manage your depression, followed by a list of tips and questions to ask your newfound therapist or counsellor
Resources – Ask your GP for a recommendation, search for a counsellor registered with organisations such as the BACP or UKCP or check your medical insurance to see if provision is covered under your plan. Some counsellors, including some at Birmingham Counselling Services and Citizen Coaching and Counselling can offer appointments within 24 hours and have counsellors available 7 days a week incising evenings.
Consider what kind of person you want to see – a counsellor to talk things through is a good start. If you have had counselling before you might have a preferred way of working.
Consider the type of therapy you need – Therapists use several different approaches. There are specific types of psychotherapy that have been useful for depression, such as CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), which is one of the more common approaches, but not all therapists are as well trained in it. Some people prefer a patient person centred approach to CBT. This tends to be longer term work but can be just as effective too.
You’ll find that many therapists use a mixture of styles and have their specialties. For example, some are experts in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), while others are experts in CBT. When you first talk to a potential therapist, ask about their approach to see whether or not it is appropriate for your condition. If it isn’t a good fit, find another person.
You may also want to look for a person who specialises in as specific problem you have. For example, if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, find a therapist who specialises in addictions, if your depression stems from PTSD, then find one whose specialty is PTSD.
Man or woman – This can also be an important consideration when it comes to choosing a therapist that will be a good fit for you. Some people simply do not feel comfortable disclosing highly intimate details of themselves or their lives to the same sex and others to the opposite sex.
Steps In Preparation of Your First Appointment
It is easy to become flustered when you are first meeting with a counsellor, or therapist. It’s better to be prepared and decide what you want to ask them before the appointment.
Here’s how you prepare:
Write some questions down. Come up with some specific things you want to ask. Don’t assume that your therapist or counsellor will be able to tell you everything you might need to know.
For example, you might ask your counsellor a few of these questions:
o How much does each session cost and what is their policy for missed appointments or cancellations?
o How do we decide whether therapy will be long-term or short-term?
o How often will I have to be here and will I come at the same time each week?
o What are the expectations of treatment?
o What if I feel worse?
o What if I cannot function during a normal day?
o Will they give you specific assignments to do between sessions?
o What kind of approach do they take in terms of talk therapy?
o What are the goals of treatment?
Keep A Journal Or Log
Keeping a journal throughout treatment can really help. Just jot down a little bit of information each day, including medication taken, sleeping habits, mood, any issues that made your mood or symptoms worse or better, and any new or recurring symptoms you may have had.
At Citizen Counselling and Coaching a number of our counsellors and coaches can provide support around depression and low mood. This can include identifying the obstacles to overcoming depression and sometimes creating practical plans and advice through sharing techniques and models that have worked for others.
Our ‘My Depression Coach’ online programme and Coaching were designed for time poor busy people looking to increase their confidence and make a positive change in their lives.
Our Overcoming Depression page can explain more.