© 2017 Seeing the GP

See the full study at: healthtalk.org

Mental health issues can be treated in several ways, including with medication and talking therapies such as counselling. Counselling is about talking to someone who understands depression and other mental health issues and what can help. Counsellors are professionally trained to work with people on their personal and emotional issues, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and self-harm. All counselling sessions are confidential. The counsellor won’t tell the GP what has been said, unless they feel someone’s at serious risk.

Counselling and other talking therapies

A GP explains when a patient might be referred for counselling.

Aphra saw the first counsellor at her local GP surgery. She’s now seeing a second therapist in town and feels like she’s ‘in control’ again.

Siobhan’s uncomfortable with talking about her feelings. The online CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions are 40 minutes each and all she needs is internet access. 

Susan was surprised at how much counselling had helped her and feels that the strategies she learnt will be helpful in the future too.

Talking to ‘really understanding’ people at group therapy helped. Sophie now finds it easier to talk to friends and family too when something’s wrong.

It was held in I think it was…it was like a mental health centre. I think it must have been about like twenty miles away from my house. I got the bus there. And it was…my first appointment I was…I was kind of nervous because I had no clue what to expect. But it was really friendly, really welcoming, and there were about seven or eight of us I think. And we did literally sit in a circle and we introduced ourselves. And there was two…two, no, three specialists there who were kind of, you know, encouraging us to speak and stuff. And I think it was just…it just worked really well in the sense of it was the first time I felt that I wasn’t alone in it and that there were other people out there who were kind of needing the same kind of treatment as I was.

So that was the group therapy; did your parents know?

Yeah, yeah.

And you went there. Was it mainly people of your age group, or different age groups?

Different age groups yeah that you…I think I was…I wasn’t the youngest but I was the second youngest and there were some older people there too.

So older people as in over twenty or something, over thirty? 

Yeah, yeah, which I was surprised about because I thought, because it was through CAMHS [Children and Mental Health Services], well I thought it was through CAMHS, but it turned out I…if I wanted to do a CAMHS group therapy, I would have had to do a different thing. But I didn’t…I wasn’t fussed by the fact that it was…I thought it worked well because it was different age ranges – I thought that worked really well.

So, when you say different age ranges, so people…well you were the second youngest?

Yeah

And then were there people over forty/fifty/sixty?

Yeah, I think no-one was…probably no-one over sixty, but yeah I'd say like there were some middle aged people there.

And you said the age group and the age difference – that helped?

Yeah [coughs]. I think it helped because it did just show that no matter who you are, you can struggle with the same things, you know, whatever your age you still might struggle with the same thing so.

And you said it helped you feel that you weren't alone.

Yeah.

So the very first time you went there, did you notice a difference at all in how you were feeling?

Yeah, it made me much more kind of open in the sense of I didn’t know these people but they were really understanding. And it kind of made me think that I was able to speak to other people in my life because, you know, they’ll probably be just as understanding. So, yeah, I think it really made a difference in that sense and the fact that I was…I then felt that way and the more I talked about it, kind of, the more people understood that it made things a lot easier.