Private counselling: not a fan

Six sessions. That is what the counsellor said. Six sessions was about how long it would take to sort out my problems. One session a week.

So what’s on your mind?

So I told him. And then the next thing I know I’ve opened a wound that I cannot close. But he only has one session a week, one number that I can contact him on and he is going on holiday soon.

We have another session next week and this time a thumb is jammed into wound and twisted. Fresh blood spills. And then he goes on holiday. The next few days I can’t sleep and my mind is racing. I call another counsellor and book an appointment. Six sessions. That’s how long it will take. Obviously. The wound is opened wider. I’m not eating. I’m not sleeping. I’ve been given pills from the GP and I wake up half-way through the night and stare at the ceiling. Listen to my fiance sleep. Wait for the sun to come up so that I can just piss away the daylight and ruin everyone else’s day with one word answers.

I end up in a psychiatric ward after making an attempt to get to the local train station so that I can throw myself in front of a train. I am given meds and just about manage to sleep. The days are heart pounding anxiety and manic depressive thoughts and just waiting for 10 o’clock when I can pop my evening pills and get some fucking rest.

Let’s fast-forward half a year and I am out of the ward and going into my first NHS psychiatric appointment.

“We’re not going to talk about the sensitive things.”

I am then told that for four sessions we will be making a timelime and mentally preparing for when we delve into the nasty shit. Four sessions to prepare. That sounds like a step in the right direction. A way that I can actually face things without being left in the lurch. A fleet of numbers that I can call if shit hits the fan. This is how it should be. And this should be available to everyone.

I understand that private counselling helps a lot of people. I do. Counselling actually gave me a couple of solid years of arguments to keep me sane before it all came tumbling down. But deep-seated trauma needs much more than six weeks. It needs more than someone who is making a business for themselves. And getting deep-seated trauma seen to should not have to come at a price per hour. Especially at some of the eye-watering sums that private counsellors can ask for.

People find a god (or gods). People find drugs or alcohol or private counsellors. I was one of the few lucky ones to be offered proper trauma psychiatry. And it is what I need. Because after all, six sessions (or six hours) can only do so much.

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