Counselling for stress in Berkhamsted
" I'm feeling stressed!" is something we say all the time, yet we don't often think about what we mean when we say it. In my counselling room when someones says they’re stressed we often work to uncover what it is that’s actually being felt, since stress isn’t a feeling in itself. Stress is more a gauge of the level of pressure a person is under, and the degree to which someone feels stressed is a reflection of the degree to which they feel they're able to cope with the challenges that face them. When you can meet the challenges you face, you don’t feel stressed because your ability to cope is in tact. We feel stressed when our capacity to cope with what’s happening is wobbling, and this can engender a whole range of different feelings.
The state of being stressed therefore, can more usefully be thought of as a state that’s composed of a subset of feelings, and you can only begin to work with those if you identify the feelings in the first place. That can be hard to do on your own, none of us can see into our own blind spots. A good counsellor is there to help support you in doing that in an environment that is warm and patient and without pressure or judgement.
To highlight how individual stress can be, consider the following scenarios:
* A young woman is struggling to find work and dealing with chronic pain that severely limits the use of her body
* A father is finding it difficult to communicate at work due to panic attacks that happen whenever he has to address a group of people
* A young man is facing prosecution for a crime he didn't commit
* A mother is struggling with the emotional demands of caring for her child, and is haunted by the trauma of the neglect she received at the hands of her own mother
All of those scenarios could be highly stressful, yet each scenario would involve very different kinds of feelings. To say each of those people are just 'stressed' would be to miss much of the nuance of the very different feelings involved for each person. What’s more, what’s stimulated in each person as a result of the stressor is highly variable. Every stress occurs in the context of a life with a history, and much of what is stimulated when we’re under stress we’re not aware of, it’s unconscious. Counselling helps by making the unconscious conscious, which can considerably reduce the level of distress involved. When we’re in the grip of difficult feelings, all sorts of things are at work under the surface - we have beliefs we're not aware of, assumptions about what’s happening, what other people will think of us, expectations about what’s going to happen, worries about what we can or can’t cope with, all sorts of ideas about the kind of people that we should be. We fail against our own ideals which often makes us feel even worse. We’re often thrown back into highly emotive states that we were in when we were younger, we go into a kind of hypnosis, but since we’re unaware that it’s happening there’s little we can do with it. It’s often not till this is unpacked and worked with that we can start to feel sufficiently calm enough to work with it all. Most people, when they start to explore their stress are amazed at the depths of what’s happening inside themselves, and the very exploration of it often drains tension away. Amazing things happen when the mind starts looking at itself and becomes aware of it's own processes. A counselling session is often populated by those lightbulb moments in which you see something you weren’t aware of and these discoveries themselves can be sources of profound calmness and insight.
There is no catch all method for helping with stress because there’s no one experience of it, and the best approach is the one which treats each person as existing in their own unique model of the world. I work with all sorts of people with all sorts of problems and if you're suffering it's possible I can help you.
If your stress levels are troubling you and you’re looking for help, I provide counselling in berkhamsted and can be contacted on 07717 515 013