Anxiety Counselling

What is Counselling?


If I had a tenner for every time, I was told counsellors ‘just listen’, I would not be a wealthy woman, but I would have a decent holiday out of it! Counselling is a collaborative process where a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space is provided to help explore personal struggles.
Research indicates that talk therapy can be highly effective in supporting people struggling with anxiety and depression and life changes such as retirement, illness, relationship break-up and bereavement. Often a close death can activate feelings of previous losses and unresolved grief although we may not be conscious of this connection. If your struggles are impacting on your quality of life, your relationships or fear and hesitancy is causing you confusion then counselling can be a powerful process to support change.
While different counsellors vary in the degree to which they emphasis technique or behaviour, all will have as the primary intention to empower and support improvements in their client’s well-being.
Confusion is Normal
Ambivalence is a normal position when we are at a transition or crossroads in life. We ask ourselves where do I go from here? Maybe I don’t need change? Can I muddle along? Is the status quo okay? This treadmill of repetition can go on for many years and if often takes a crisis to provoke change. Stepping out of our comfort zones is always an act of courage. Counselling is not a quick fix but is a process for the courageous that takes time and effort to reap real rewards.

Although it is common to be unclear when we start counselling what we would like to achieve through therapy, your therapist will support you to explore your life and its uniqueness and over time gain clarity on subjective well-being goals. The comparison curse means we can be mired in comparing our lives to others and berating ourselves for not measuring up. It is a measure of some emotional maturity when we stop this comparing and recognize our lives are always different, contextual and unique. When we understand, express and have confidence in living our own values this comparing to others tends to fade.
This is why counselling always differs from a chat with friends or family. The effective therapist will not have an ‘agenda’ and will create enough psychological space in the counselling room for you to explore these fundamental questions. Our friends and family will always be partial and have their own agenda in relationships.

The best qualities of a great friendship exist when we find a therapist we trust; supportive, empathetic, honest, challenging and possibly even fun. But conversation is always purposeful, supporting you to improve the relationship you have with yourself, gaining self-awareness, personal insight, confidence and self-acceptance.
So yep, counselling is a lot more than ‘just listening’!. Get in touch if you want to talk in confidence.

Anxiety Counselling

Counselling for Depression and Anxiety

Get the support you deserve

One in four of us will struggle with our mental health at some stage of our lives. Sometimes, it is reactive, a response to a difficult life event such as bereavement, divorce or redundancy. Sometimes it does not make sense, we may struggle to understand low mood and why it persists. In these situations, counselling can be helpful. If switching off is a problem for you, it can impact on your energy and perhaps your tolerance levels with family and work colleagues. Feelings of depression can be very isolating and we struggle to believe that change is possible.
Counselling aims to help you understand why and how depression may be occurring at this time. When we are depressed our thoughts and perceptions can become exceptionally negative, bleak and defeatist. This thinking, in turn, contributes to a lower mood and we get caught in a downward spiral. There may be core beliefs which frame our thinking such as I’m a worthless person or Nobody likes me. Depressed people also tend to ruminate, going over and over a problem, leading to paralysis by analysis.

Depressive episodes that are recurrent will take time and commitment to change. However, holding on to hope is very important. The use of cognitive therapy is well researched and will often be combined with medication. By learning strategies to counter the depressing thinking, cognitive therapy will help to prevent depression returning. A counselling process will support you to examine interpersonal relationships and identify ways in which established patterns of relations may be affecting how you feel about yourself.
One of the common features of depression is a vicious ‘inner critic’, that internal voice that tells you are hopeless or undeserving of support. Introducing a therapeutic space to reflect on how you talk to yourself and introducing some kindness and self-compassion can prove transformative over time. Building a process of change begins which small achievable steps which lead to a sense of achievement gradually, critical if we struggle with inertia or indecision.

Research indicates that those who live with a lifelong partner with depression are at risk of struggle themselves. If this is you, it is really important to seek support. If you want to learn more, I would recommend reading ‘Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong by Dr.Tim Cantopher. Appointments in Greystones and Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

Anxiety Counselling Counsellor

Counselling for Anxiety

There are wise words from Aesop which I love ‘a crust of bread eaten in peace is far superior to a banquet eaten in anxiety’.

Counselling for Anxiety

Although anxiety is around as long as humans are, there is some evidence that personal levels of anxiety are increasing. Neuroscience tells us that humans have an average of 60,00 thoughts a day. Our thoughts create our world and if we are caught up in a loop of negative thinking this will directly impact on mood and behaviour. In counselling, we build awareness of how we talk to ourselves and widen our perspectives which is essential to making sustainable and positive change.
• Rumination: You dwell on an endless cycle of stuff that worries you while failing to act. Chronic worry is often described as akin to sitting in a rocking chair. There is endless movement but you are not actually getting anywhere. The view stays the same.
• Overgeneralisation: you experience a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
• Jumping to Conclusions; believing people are reacting negatively to you when there is no concrete evidence for this.
• Shoulds and Musts: you use these absolutes with yourself and others, failing to see that in the vast majority of situations we have a choice in what we do or fail to do.
• Labelling; you punish yourself forever for making a mistake thinking ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’m hopeless, ‘I’ll never get out of this rut’
• Magnification; you lose perspective and constantly sweat the small stuff.
• Personalisation; you take on blame for things that are the responsibility of others.

Change is always possible and the most important step is to hold onto a sense of hope. What we have learnt that is unhealthy we can also, with patience and commitment, re-learn to find more productive ways of dealing with anxiety.
Write it down; keeping a journal can be useful in helping us to understand our patterns. We gain clarity from seeing things written down. If anxiety keeps you awake at night, try a process of externalising them. Write them down, park them until warning and commit to allowing yourself a good night’s sleep.
Switch off-It is very important we set boundaries around work and personal time. Having an evening ritual that helps you do this such as changing clothes, having a bath soak and turning off phones and devices is crucial.
Build resilience-find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. When we do something we love we tend to worry less. Contact Aine Egan, accredited counsellor, if you feel your anxiety is impacting on your potential and relationships. Appointments in Arklow, Co.Wicklow.

Anxiety Counselling Counsellor Teenagers

Counselling Support for Teenagers

Counselling for teenagers can be a powerful learning process and useful for many young people who may be struggling. You may be reading this as a teenager or you may be an adult worried about someone you know. You may be judging yourself harshly for feelings of being overwhelmed or not being able to cope.
Life throws many curve balls at us and seeking support in a counselling relationship does not mean you or weak or deficient in some way.
Nor does it mean that you are ‘going mad’. Many normal people seek support at different stages of their lives and the safe, independent, supportive environment of a counselling space can be very powerful in helping us to process these hurdles. Young people must handle major physical, social and emotional changes in their lives as well as struggling with some of the key questions of identity formation. Who am I? Where do I fit in? How do I handle the pressures I am feeling?
Is counselling for me?
Even with a supportive, loving family, it can often be difficult to talk honestly to those we are closest to. We may protect others from the truth, our reality. Peer support is critical in our teenage years. If we feel we have lost this connection or our friends do not meet our expectations, it can lead to strong feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
If you have experienced parental separation/divorce or a major bereavement or illness during your teenage years, these life stressors may be causing you difficulty. Speaking with a counsellor can also help you with anxiety, phobias, depression, low self-confidence and self-harm.
A parental/guardian consent form must be signed and I will meet with both parent and the young person at the initial appointment. The first session offers the young person an opportunity to ask questions and to decide if they would be comfortable working with me. Appointments in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

Counselling for Teenagers

Anxiety CBT Counselling

CBT Counselling for Anxiety and Depression

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression it can feel very isolating. CBT counselling for anxiety and depression can be a transformative process if we are willing to commit to a process of change. When we are depressed we can get trapped in a negative thinking loop which creates a downward spiral in mood. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a useful approach in counselling in helping us to recognise defeatist attitudes (what difference will talking make?).
In counselling, we can have a safe, supportive space to reflect on our own patterns and how they may be supporting us. Or perhaps they are keeping us stuck?. Sometimes struggles with assertiveness or healthy relating can be part of the problem. Words like ‘must’ and ‘should’ are known as word prisons for a reason. They deny us a recognition of the possibility of choice.

CBT counselling for anxiety and depression

We may not choose our difficult circumstances, our feelings or pain but we can always take small steps towards doing things differently, no matter how small. If your anxiety or depression is holding you back, impacting on your work life, personal relationships or social life, counselling may help. Get in touch if you want to discuss your needs in confidence. Appointments in Abbey lane, Arklow.

Anxiety Counselling

Anxiety and Depression Get the Support You Deserve

Anxiety and Depression
Get the Support You Deserve

Anxiety and depression will affect most of us at different times in our lives. Sometimes we can see reasons; we are reacting to a life event like bereavement, redundancy or relationship-break up. Sometimes it does not make sense; there are no obvious reasons. Feelings of guilt and shame can compound the problem if we constantly beat ourselves up for feeling low, ‘I have no reason to feel like this so why do I?’. Constantly trying to hide feelings of anxiety or chasing depression away is exhausting.
There is a myth that talking to a counsellor is a sign of weakness, that strong people just ‘get on with it’. Seeking support to explore life struggles is an act of profound courage and one that I have the privilege to witness every day in my practice. To admit to our vulnerabilities is not a weakness. This ultimately is what lies at the core of our humanity and links us to each other and the rest of the human family.
Community support is available
How to be a good listener

Talking, however difficult, does help. When we feel truly heard, we feel understood and over time it can generate feelings of self-acceptance and clarity. If you are worried about someone you know, check out the tips on on how to be a good listener. There is free training in the Community Support section on how to talk about suicidal thoughts/suicide TALK. There are many low-cost counselling options available in the community. Anxiety and depression are manageable. Never imagine that you have to walk alone.

Anxiety Counselling Counsellor

What is counselling and how does a counsellor work?

What is counselling and how does a counsellor work are common questions to ask if you are thinking about personal change. A counsellor’s role is very different to that of friends or family. Talking to family can be difficult as we may feel obligated to protect them from our anxiety and worries. We may know that complete honesty is not welcome, so we sugar the pill a little or a lot. A friend, by definition, has a vested interest in the friendship and we may find ourselves censoring information or minimising our anxiety to protect the friendship. Adopting a persona or mask in life is very common, for example, “I’m a person who can handle anything life throws at me” which can make it difficult to admit to any struggle that does not fit with this kind of persona. Counselling support allows you to explore any persona you have adopted in life and to determine if they have outlived their usefulness. Human beings are a mass of contradictions, desires, hopes, dreams and struggles. Taking time to engage in some personal exploration is an act of profound courage and is an act that will over time be rewarded, although this may be in ways we find difficult to predict at the outset. While many seek counselling in the expectation that the counsellor will ‘sort out’ their problems and offer a fix, it is the client themselves who does the work. The counsellor provides a space grounded in non-judgement, empathy and honesty which facilitates the work. As Kahil Gibran wrote in the prophet ‘No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge’. What is counselling and how does a counsellor

What is counselling & how does a counsellor work.

Anxiety news Self Care Uncategorized

Self Care Matters

Self Care matters. Practicing Self-Care is an essential not a luxuryAnxiety is a normal response to some life events like doing exams or a job interview. Learning some positive coping skills and practicing self-care in positive ways on a daily and weekly basis will keep anxiety in a manageable way. It is easy when we are busy to lose track of self-care but this is not a luxury to squeeze in when we have nothing else to do. It is a physical and psychological necessity. We can’t give to others unless we learn to give to ourselves. In the words of Lucille Ball, ‘Taking good care of yourself means the people in your life receive the best of you, not what’s left of you’.

☐  Notice when your thinking is negative/distorted thoughts. These thoughts create our world. They directly affect our feelings and our actions and self-confidence.

☐  Keep a confidence diary; make a note of the things that you do well. Surround yourself with people who see the best in you. Let go the negative. Practice self-compassion; acknowledge when you have done your best.

☐  Time spent in nature is proven to be great for our moods. Make a date regularly to get outdoors; focus on your senses; what you see, smell, hear, touch when in the natural world.

☐  Nurture your body with healthy, fresh foods from all the food groups. This will give you the energy you need to get through the day. There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ food, only bad quantities!

☐  Practice mindful breathing morning & evening. Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your heart. Inhale deep and exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat 10 times with your eyes closed. This reduces the ‘fight-or-flight response.’

☐  Make a date with your bath. Have a soak that focuses on relaxation with essential oils or a nice bathfoam. Turn off your phone. Cover your limbs with a nice moisturizer. By slowing down and moving with awareness, you can make it a meditative practice, not a chore.

☐  If you find your racing mind is preventing you from sleeping, try writing a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and stuff that is bothering you. This can help you to clear your mind and sleep better.

Have a gratitude practice; reflect on 3 things at the end of every day that you are grateful for. It may be as simple as a chat with a neighbor.

☐  If you have trouble sleeping, try a few drops of a relaxing essential oil on your pillow or rub a few drops of lavender oil and vetivert onto the soles of your feet. These are two oils that can be applied to the body directly in small amounts. Take advice if pregnant.

Notice when you are taking on too much; recognize your limitations, try to delegate and practice the power of a positive no.