Laura, 21, shares her experience of doing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety and OCD, both online and over the phone.
The aim of counselling and therapy is to provide a support system for somebody who may be struggling with their mental health. This can sound extremely daunting for somebody who may be reaching out for the first time (trust me, I felt this way too), so I’d like to share with you my experiences with therapy to hopefully help anybody who may be considering this as an option.
Why I decided to have therapy
Everybody will have their own personal reasons for considering either counselling or therapy – personally, I decided to look into therapy. I’ve experienced therapy twice and my reasons for reaching out were different each time.
The first time I had no experience with talking about my mental health and therapy seemed like a good option to educate myself and to learn some useful coping mechanisms as I was feeling anxious a lot of the time.
Everybody will have their own personal reasons for considering either counselling or therapy.
Personally, I found it extremely daunting when reaching out for the first time and I struggled with speaking out loud about how I was feeling. Because of this, online therapy seemed like the best fit for me at the time. Luckily, this was an option for me and I was able to complete my course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) online and receive updates from my therapist in an online setting.
Online therapy helped me to gain a better understanding about how I was feeling and it allowed me to learn how to cope with my emotions without getting overwhelmed by them – I think that if I had to verbally talk about how I was feeling during this time I wouldn’t have gotten the most out of my therapy sessions.
Online therapy helped me to gain a better understanding about how I was feeling and it allowed me to learn how to cope with my emotions without getting overwhelmed by them.
The second time that I turned to therapy, I was more capable of communicating how I was feeling, so I received therapy over the phone on a weekly basis. Phone therapy was suggested because I wanted to work with my therapist from home but I was attending university in a different city at the time.
This differed from my previous online sessions as it took a lot of mental energy to talk about how I was feeling, but I found that this benefited me more as I was able to get a lot more out of my sessions.
It took a lot of mental energy to talk about how I was feeling, but I found that this benefited me more as I was able to get a lot more out of my sessions.
Each week I received ‘homework’ to complete and we’d discuss this the following week – I found that this made me more accountable and I was more likely to put the work into improving my mental health. My therapist would also email me various resources to assist with my weekly tasks, which I found helpful as I could refer to these throughout the week and also after I had been discharged from the service.
Just know that if you’re struggling there are always options out there and you will get through this!
I hope that this post shows that there are multiple options for therapy and you can gain a lot from the services that are available.
I know that it is daunting to open up to somebody who you do not know, but trust me you will feel the benefits if you put the work in. I am not ashamed to go back to therapy if I feel as though I need it, and just know that if you’re struggling there are always options out there and you will get through this!
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Text YM to 85258.
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
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