Are you waiting to get help from an NHS counsellor or psychotherapist? In this blog about self-referring, I explore the question of whether you can refer yourself to talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist.
We are fortunate in the United Kingdom to have the NHS and our local GP when seeking medical help and advice. These qualified professionals are trained to assess and diagnose what could be happening to you. In more complex and recurring difficulties there may be a referral for psychiatric assessment and assistance. There could be occasions where you will be placed on a waiting list for mental health support by a talk therapist.
Can I refer myself to counselling for anxiety?
I hear that people are finding themselves with extra and frequent feelings of anxiety from the current climate crisis and difficulties managing household costs. The world which we live in and through looks different than it once did. There could occasion in each day where you feel overwhelmed by these changes and reoccurring thoughts created from it which prevent restful sleep, consuming healthy food or even managing to talk to someone. For some, coming to terms with how hard life can be extremely difficult.
The way your life feels can determine how well you can manage. When it is going positively with tales of purpose and results there would be little need to concern yourself with the wait time for mental health support. However, if you struggle each day to find these positive feelings in any second, minute or hour, you would benefit from a face-to-face or online counselling session.
I believe as a qualified and accredited professional that people can self refer to work with a private counsellor. When people place an enquiry, it is really important to share a space where you feel validated by telling me what is it you are finding the most difficult to cope with. It could be a singular event or perhaps life changes like work, bereavement or divorce.
If you haven’t read my last blog, it could be a good idea to read over it. I list a few suggestions where to begin in looking at why using a counsellor or psychotherapist could benefit you.
Can I see a private therapist sooner when self-referring?
We are facing an unprecedented time where children, adolescents, adults and older adults require greater support from local services from practitioners in the Exeter wellbeing services. In my work as an anxiety counsellor people do self-refer to my private practice because the wait for NHS talk therapy is too long.
It could also be that the investment in your health and well-being has greater meaning at this present time. These reasons are why people, like myself at Sweet Mental Health, have trained and gained experience to support you sooner by self-referring. When you call, email or complete an online form we can arrange a meeting on a Monday afternoon to discuss my availability to meet your mental health needs.
Why should I refer for anxiety therapy?
Our society has some good days and some not-so-good days. If you are feeling less than good and you have followed the usual way to get help, it could be time to reach out to a counsellor or psychotherapist. The most important answer to this question is it is a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space for you to be in. Whether you choose to visit face to face in Gandy Street, Exeter, or online via a Zoom call we can work on what is affecting your mental health today.
Other reasons could be that someone close to you has suggested you get help, or perhaps you both get help from couple counselling. It may be that those experiences which have remained hidden from you and others are coming into your thoughts and life. I am keen to use the integrative approach of psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural therapy and humanistic counselling to support you.
As a professional who abides by ethical codes from the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, it will be my duty to work with you through the challenges of what and where your anxiety comes from. We will explore what it means to be you. In a kind and compassionate way to validate what it is, you feel brought you to yourself refer to the service at Sweet Mental Health.
While it can feel scary to use talk therapy and tell someone how you are feeling, I can personally attest that finding a good enough counsellor for you is a vital first step to beginning the work on your self-awareness and mental health.
What are the problems with self-referring to a counsellor or psychotherapist?
This is an area few professional counselling and psychotherapist talk about. Previously, I have mentioned three-pointers to how to start the self-referral process. However, I would suggest a difficult issue to self-referral is to do with self-belief and the stigma about taking control of your own mental health needs.
In the past, as children, adolescents, adults and older adults you may have looked to caregivers or people of authority to provide support for you. There can be incidences where people have let you down, or not got the answers you would have liked. It may even be that you are in denial that your mental health is a ‘real’ problem because stress is just one of those things.
When coming to a decision that you may need to ask for help it could be that you have found a million and one reason to not do it. It could feel shameful to ask for the help a professional gives to the most authentic self while working with a counsellor, or psychotherapist. These could be some problems before you make a call, send an email, or contact form to someone.
I would add that the professional person you want to work with has a part to play in this. Therefore, the need to feel little or no judgment is vital to a good enough therapeutic relationship. They should be verified by an association in the country of residence. And they must have public indemnity insurance to protect both of you.
Finally, a service like this should feel right in your mind, heart and body. This time is about you and not the counsellor or psychotherapist. If they spend more time talking about themselves than you then I recommend exploring this together or challenging whether this person is the right fit for you. Hence my recommendation is to use introductory calls rather than attending one appointment and not coming again. This can hurt your mental health.