Depression is often characterised by extended periods of feeling sad, moody, irritable or low, often without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood; it is a serious disorder which impacts mental and physical health. Depression affects how people feel about themselves. Thoughts can be overly critical and frequently there is an inability to enjoy life, a loss of interest in usual activities and feelings of pessimism regarding the future. Persistent and intense negative feelings can cause people to feel insecure and isolated. It is an incorrect assumption to think depression can be “shaken off” and there is growing clinical research to support counselling as an effective means of improving many of its symptoms.
There are many types of stress which are a commonality in our everyday lives. There is cumulative stress and there is the stress that can arise from dramatic or critical incidences. Counselling often employs stress management techniques to reduce stress. Such techniques can be learning about our behaviours and reactions that lead to stressful situations or they can involve learning the practice of physical and mental relaxation.
Feelings of grief and loss are commonplace and normal following the death or loss of something or someone significant. However, when these feelings of sadness and hopelessness persist, they can have a detrimental effect upon one’s mental health and well-being. Counselling can assist an individual to develop a different or new perspective of their new situation, thereby making it a possibility to accept their loss and therefore enable them to be more open to the experience of happiness.
Anxiety has a healthy purpose in that if we did not experience anxiety in certain situations, then we would be at risk of injury by not avoiding danger. However, most feelings of anxiety diffuse once the danger has passed. Anxiety becomes detrimental when those feelings do not subside, are ongoing, excessive and exist without any particular reason. One effective method for managing anxiety is through a structured psychological treatment called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which recognises that the thoughts and behaviour of an individual affects the way they feel. Through counselling, an individual is helped to recognise the thought and behavioural patterns which contribute to their state of anxiety. Once these patterns have been identified, an individual can purposely make changes to replace these ineffective patterns with different ones which can help reduce the state of anxiety and enhance their coping skills
Adjusting to a new circumstance in life can be difficult, confronting and life changing. Counselling can provide a safe place to discuss the situation honestly, to express fears or concerns without fear of judgment, to make sense of the changes and to develop strategies for coping.
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