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IF YOU ARE thinking about counselling, therapy, hypnotherapy or just some support for yourself it may help to look at what other people say, what they feel the process has done in their situation or what they have seen and read. And you'll likely have some thoughts of your own - whether you feel drawn to certain approaches, or are uneasy or just not drawn in that direction.
THE INTERNET has plenty of information, so that you can see where you might fit into the general framework of 'talking therapy' or counselling, or perhaps hypnotherapy. SEARCH ENGINES are a useful place to start - in fact there's so much information it can be hard to know where to stop! Ask in the LIBRARY, or approach professional organisations.
GET a FEEL of what people say, whether you yourself like the idea or not, or you do but with reservations. NATURALLY a great deal depends on the kind of help available in your area, and some help can be relatively expensive, so you'll want to make sure you are happy about trusting yourself and your cash to someone else.
WHAT SUITS one person may not suit you, so you will be the best person to decide what you want to do, when you want to do it, how much you wish to pay and how much time you have available.
A WORD of CAUTION here, because you may have some physical problem which people perhaps have told you (and you may believe this yourself) could be largely due to your state of mind. Certainly one's state of mind is important in all sorts of ways, and stress or anxiety for instance could be playing a part in things. You owe it to yourself to visit your doctor or to find a doctor who can make the necessary health checks and give advice. You are the person responsible for yourself.
HYPNOSIS is simply a word used to describe the state of hypnosis. There are differing views on that, for instance whether it is a form of sleep, self-induced hypnosis, or a state of suggestibility where the conscious mind does not 'get in the way' of what is needed at a deeper level, and so on. Here again you will have ideas about what the process is, what it can do for people, and what you want it to do for you, and there's no definitive answer.
YOU MAY have seen stage performances at the theatre or on TV where the hypnotist seems able to do anything he wants with members of the audience, to the extent that they seem under his control. That is 'entertainment' - well some people think so. Hypnotherapy carried out properly does not work like that. The client should retain control of the procedure just as much as he or she would like and feels a need for.
HYPNOTHERAPY is a process where the hypnotherapist works with a client to help them in their life. It would be no good solving one problem brilliantly for him or her, without looking at other areas of the person's life or personality which could be affected. Some areas of behaviour can be worked on using mainly behavioural methods, or a combination of cognition and de-sensitisation. Hypnotherapy can also use these principles.
EVERYONE is an individual, and what a hypnotherapist or any other type of therapist should do, is gain sufficient information in order to provide the most appropriate help in the circumstances. By accessing the client's subconscious during hypnosis it can become easier to find and address the root cause of the problem. Other people would say it is not always necessary to do this, or that one can basically work with the conscious mind. Relaxation itself can be a significant component either way.
WORK OUT which method would suit you, your personality and your situation best. You may be apprehensive about forms of therapy on offer, and that is perfectly acceptable. Keep on looking till you find what you are looking for. Don't go for something that doesn't feel right, whatever other people may say. The same applies to any type of activity! Have a look at plenty of information too.
IF YOU THINK you would like to embark on any kind of therapy or counselling for yourself, allow some time to find a practitioner who is near enough, ask for a brochure, ask for a free chat to satisfy yourself that the therapy is what you want and this is the sort of person you feel comfortable with. It is not your fault or theirs if you feel you don't get along.
HOW LONG help should last will obviously vary according to many factors, but try to look ahead and discuss the issue so as not to prolong it unnecessarily.
THESE PRINCIPLES should apply to anyone you are thinking of approaching for help, such as a counsellor or therapist, voluntary agency or self-help organisation. Give yourself some time to work out what YOU want first and foremost, and don't let someone else persuade you, or invade your privacy.
MOST of the WORK is done by the client, whatever the method used, and YOU are the person leading your life. Good counselling and help are really about helping individuals to work out what is best for them, rather than imposing any particular framework or ideology.
From Article on SCAPEGOATING:
'People often help themselves and others without recourse to 'experts'. People living through war or other traumatic times may not have access to help, and it is a relatively recent development that people look more to others to guide them. We are not attempting to devalue good help, rather to say that people may manage better than they think without it, and help of the not-so-good kind is exactly what the term implies! But it may be that the kind of help is not suitable for the person, or at that time, or that the counsellor or therapist just does not suit an individual.'
GOING IT ALONE may be a better option until things become clearer in your mind, or the situation settles somewhat. There is nothing to feel ashamed of in wanting to get help for yourself, but things can become confused or compounded by intervention which does not suit a person. Circumstances can and do change and are often a significant factor contributing to our experience.
Most people have times when they worry what they have said or done, or about what happened or was done to them. Perhaps we want to share those - and perhaps not. We each have our own ways of handling things and everyone is different. There is an internal narrative running where we describe things to ourselves, and this could change in the telling as we explain or re-classify things to suit how we feel. Some people 'manage' their illness or pain, not pushing themselves too far all the while. We can become aware of what is making things worse. To some degree we can contain or accommodate periods of depression, loneliness, anxiety or confusion in ourselves or those we know. People can and do help each other along the lines of 'a friend in court' - someone who is basically there and aware how things are.
It can be difficult to know where to begin with seeking help for oneself on private matters. There is currently some media attention concerning the effectiveness of drugs for certain types of psychological problems. There can be controversy too about what is called 'talking cures' and whether those are always helpful, or even unhelpful if they are not suitable or experienced as intrusive. Some books and links appear below, and the general idea is to show that there is not necessarily something terribly wrong with us as individuals, but that we live in a wider society or environment - It helps to see some of that too.
You may or may not like the approach of the books or links but might use them as a starting point while searching for yourself. Some writers imply there is 'no such thing' as mental illness and we do not entirely agree. But there can be other valid ways of looking at problems, how they may arise and what can be done. Support from outside can be helpful, but people can be very effective themselves, and information-gathering worth the effort. We may give ourselves labels in an attempt to understand better and find some 'solution', but labels in themselves can be hard to overcome, so we may saddle ourselves with them unnecessarily.
There is plenty of information available on the Internet. Take your time and look at alternatives, and try not to feel under pressure to conform to what others may say. There are a range of email support groups too, but it is as well to bear in mind that what you say there is pretty public. As with any type of disclosure, something one says cannot get 'un-said' again!
You are free to take on board information that could be relevant or helpful and leave the rest, making your own way forward as best you can. Your opinions on how to manage your life on your own or whether to seek help and which kind, are more valid than anyone's, however well-meaning, or whatever 'expertise' lies behind the advice. As a general guideline, we suggest avoiding approaches which do not feel right at this time, even though you can't put your finger on a reason.