Overcoming challenges: the benefits of counselling

While counselling and its related benefits has become a much more publicly discussed topic in recent years, many people still find it challenging to consider entering into a counselling space. The thought of speaking to a stranger about some of your deepest thoughts and feelings is hard even for the boldest extrovert among us. 

We asked two counsellors who work at Hornsey Vale for their best advice for people considering counselling, but hesitant to take the leap. 

“Many of us are becoming more aware about taking better care of ourselves both physically and mentally. Looking after our mental health is vital especially after the impact of Covid on all our lives,” says Margaret Madden, a long-term private counsellor who uses space at the community centre. 

“Counselling provides a safe, confidential, empathic and non judgemental space for you to talk to a trained counsellor/therapist about your issues and concerns. This will help you explore your thoughts and emotions, feelings and behaviours so you can develop a better understanding of yourself and your ways of being.

Therapists do not give you their opinion, advice or prescribe medication. They will be impartial and understanding. They may offer information, but they won’t tell you what you should think or do. They can help you explore and find your own solutions, in the hope of enabling you to make effective changes in your life or finding new ways of viewing your concerns differently.” 

Two grey armchairs and a coffee table with a pot plant on it

Margaret suggests searching the following website to find fully qualified counsellors/therapists: BACP and Counselling Directory.

Anton Smith is administrator of Counselling Initiatives, which has been providing low cost long term counselling at Hornsey Vale Community Centre for the last 21 years. He also emphasises the non-judgemental aspect of speaking with a therapist. “Counsellors are trained to work … with an understanding that a client’s difficulties are not their fault but the result of circumstance,” he says. “Our counsellors do not diagnose—they work with a client without “labelling” them. We believe that identifying a client by diagnoses is unhelpful and, in our experience, it’s not uncommon for clients to be misdiagnosed.”

Counselling Initiatives has helped and supported over 200 clients from the Haringey, Islington, Enfield and Hackney areas who would not otherwise have been able to access long term counselling.

Says Anton: “We offer a confidential therapeutic space for clients to talk freely about their psychological and emotional difficulties in order to explore what’s holding them back in their lives. It can often mean an exploration of childhood experiences that have resulted in conditions such as depression, relationship difficulties, addiction and anxiety. Whilst such exploration can at times be painful, the outcomes are hugely beneficial, as the client frees themselves from the affects of past experiences.

For those still on the fence, here are some of the benefits of long-term counselling Anton has witnessed: “Increased self-esteem, improved relationships, relief from obsessive and addictive traits, improvements in employment opportunities; eradication of anxiety and anxiety-related behaviours and phobias.”

Potential clients can contact the charity by emailing admin@ci-charity.org.uk or calling 07963 738 813 and filling out a simple form with their details, availability, and location.


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