Having never had any counselling I really didn't know what to expect. It doesn't feel like a very English thing to do. Certainly it is not a very "me" thing to do. The general impression I try to give complete strangers is that I am a perfectly normal average happy 33 year old mother of a 3 year old, with no problems what so ever. Certainly I would never share deep feelings with a stranger so the idea of just me and a stranger in a room where I talk about my feelings isn't top of my list of fun things to do.
My GP recommended this counselling service. It is run by a Christian charity for women with pregnancy related problems such as post natal depression, miscarriage, stillbirth, IVF related issues and abortion related issues. The counselling itself is not at all religious but it is a way to get counselling at a cheaper price than most private counselling available here. According to the NHS a private 50 minute session is £40 - £100. But with the counselling I opted for (actually all that my GP offered) I get an hour long sessions once a week for 10 weeks, with the option of extending that for a few more weeks if necessary and I just have to pay a donation (apparently most people give £5 - £10 per session).
So what did I think of it?
Well my first thought was my Counsellor wasn't the most experienced out there. She started off by telling me she had been volunteering for the company for just over a year and had just completed a degree. She didn't say which degree - I found myself thinking afterwards was her degree even relevant? But she semed nice enough and seemed to understand it was difficult for me to be there.
As I said before I didn't know what to expect. Okay I had a vague idea from watching TV shows and films what happens, but these views were probably outdated. For example on TV shows doesn't the client lie down on a couch? In fact the last counselling session I saw on TV was in an episode of Dexter where the counsellor murdered his clients, perhaps not the best example to remember...
But my experience was simply me sitting in a room - a room that looked much like a hotel room with a big box of tissues on the table. The Counsellor on another comfy chair opposite me, just asking me to talk about whatever I wanted. So I told her why I was there. What had happened to Orson and that since we lost him I have had two miscarriages. There were lots of uncomfortable silences. I don't like crying in front of others, or even in front of people I know and yet I found myself crying during the session. I tried so hard not to but just retelling my story had me in tears.
I left the session feeling very sorry for myself. Worse than when I went in. The counsellor told me that the first three sessions would be the hardest. I am going to continue going for the moment and see how it goes.
For tomorrows session I am supposed to be thinking of topics to discuss. An hour seems a very long time to talk. Last week the session wasn't a full hour because I started off having to fill in forms about why I was there etc. I like forms. I feel safe filling forms in but talking for an hour about how I feel...? I would have to say I don't like that but if it helps I am willing to give it a chance.