• Hilary McMeeking

What's it like to have counselling?

Updated: Oct 23

When you call me up or email me a first time enquiry I always feel happy to hear from you; that you have finally taken a step towards hopefulness. I wonder if that's how it feels for you? From experience I think it may not feel hopeful. You might come here unable to cope with yourself or your situation at the moment. You may have waited and waited to see if things work out, or get better on their own, and after waiting, sometimes for months and sometimes for years, you arrive at my door. You don't often feel full of hope. You do feel sadness or confused. Sometimes there's anger or frustration and, quite understandably, perhaps despair. All that is very welcome here in my room. I too have been where you are. I have felt despair and sadness. I have sat together with someone and told them the depths of what it is to feel unhappy, unloved and lost.



I too have been where you are. I have felt despair and sadness.



Perhaps you are thinking, "how can I help you if I too have suffered?"... but that is how, for I am well now and I was helped, sometime ago on my own journey, by another who also knew what it was like. It is also how I know there is hope for you. You called or emailed or came to my door feeling upset and lost yet I know that to take that step, there must be hope somewhere, even if I have to hold that hope for you while you dive down to the depths to find it for yourself.


From where I sit I see you, a unique and precious human being (that's not what you feel about yourself, I know) and my silent question to myself, in our first meeting, is "What has happened to you?"(not "what's wrong with you?"). What has happened to you that made you feel like this? Not recently, not necessarily last week or last month or even this year, but at some point in your life something happened that has led to where you are now. We all have our own unique journey, some of us have suffered or survived, is that you?



What has happened to you?



Quite often, in fact I believe for everyone, underneath everything is a huge need for love and belonging that hasn't been met at some time in your life, multiple times maybe? But you will tell your story, and it might not seem that way to you as we sit together. Sometimes we don't actually know what we didn't get, only that there feels like a gaping hole somewhere inside us that needs to be filled. Perhaps you have tried filling it with people, partners, food, alcohol, box sets, sex, drugs, self harm? But also perhaps not. We all have our own story...



We all have our own story, what is yours?



Your story, like you, is unique. I will never have heard it before. You will tell your story slowly, level by level, or it will tumble out because it has waited to be told for so long; and I will witness that story, I am interested and listening to all you say, with kindness, without judgement and with compassion, because we are all worthy of love and belonging even if we don't think we are at the beginning. You are worthy of love and belonging.



No matter what you say or what story you bring, everything is welcome.

I love people and I love their stories no matter what they bring. You might feel yours is too big to tell? Then we can take it step by small step at a time. Or you may feel your story is insignificant? I often hear people say "but they have it so much worse than me", but this is your story and it is your pain and you are important and worthy of telling it and being heard. It doesn't matter about other people's stories, only yours. I can hold you and your story whilst you get it out, unpack and take a look at it, piece by piece.


In this way, in this process, you find bits that you had forgotten or buried long ago in childhood. We look at it together and I listen. Sometimes I tell parts of it back to you, it's strange that it feels like you never heard that part before, perhaps for the first time it will start to make sense? And we go on...



There is hope.



You might bring photographs with you one day, or things that are meaningful to you to illustrate your past or your present and that is very welcome. At some point you might want to learn some skills to sooth your distress; pain handling skills and things to help you manage your feelings. That's great, that will be when you want to move forward towards hope. You may have caught a glimpse of it, even momentarily.



You may discover something about yourself you didn't know before.



Slowly you will adopt the skills and alongside that your story will be part way through or nearly told, but a lot of work will have been done either way. Eventually, together, we start to pack your story up again. We will have looked at it all (or all the bits you wanted me to know) and seen it through a different lens, reframed it and perhaps even understood it in a different way. You may have discovered something about yourself you didn't know before. You will have found a resilience along the way too. Things will start to look and feel a little different. You will start to feel a little different. At last you can make sense of who you are and what you really need from your precious human life.



No matter what, you are worthy of love and belonging.



My wish for you is that you will have found that you are a wonderful human being, worthy of love and belonging and that you will go out into the world with the skills and knowledge of yourself to find your future with more hope in it and in you, than you had before we met.


If you want to start your journey today, or next week, or next month let me know? You can call me on 07800958810 or email me contact@counsellingincheltenham.co.uk. You are really welcome to join me in a free session to see if we can work together in a way you are comfortable with. Start to tell your story...


I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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