Instant Counselling gifted me a trial of their service.
Finding help when you’re struggling with mental health has always seemed incredibly difficult, and to an extent it is. The NHS is under a lot of pressure when it comes to finding appointments, and providing support, especially in more recent years as mental health is becoming much less of a taboo subject. More and more of us are realising the importance of taking care of not only our physical health, but our mental health too. Less of us are struggling through alone, attempting to brush our issues off due to fear of what others might say if they find out. Whilst it is fantastic that people are finally talking about their mental health, and taking it seriously this also means that waiting lists are getting longer, resources are being stretched further and help can sometimes seem out of reach, and for some it is. Help can be difficult to find, I’ve spent months on NHS waiting lists before hoping for help when I couldn’t afford to pay for myself, I didn’t know if there were any alternatives available to me. Thankfully, since I have started to be more open about my struggles with mental health, I have sought advice and know that there are a number of resources available to me, including charities that offer free services in my local area. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to afford to take care of your mental health, private practices can be over worked, or their opening hours might be limited. I am also not a huge fan of having to pay for initial appointments, forking out £40+ for an appointment in which you might realise that the counsellor just isn’t right for you is not my cup of tea. We’ve all had those awkward situations where you realise that the therapist you’ve been given just isn’t right for you. This just makes things even more difficult, causing unnecessary stress and just adding additional worry to you. I would love for an initial appointment of just 10-15 minutes, in which I can figure out if I feel like I’m going to be able to open up to the counsellor. Paying for initial appointments has put me off seeking help in recent months, it is extremely difficult to invest in someone you know nothing about. It seems that no matter your circumstances, there is always some sort of difficulty.
With the help of the internet, it is much easier to find support whether that be finding people facing similar problems to you on social media, discussion boards, or actually seeking professional help. The internet makes it possible for help to be within your reach, without a 12 to 16 week waiting list.
When I first heard about Instant Counselling I thought it was a fantastic idea. I know how difficult it can be to actually go and get the help you need, sometimes the idea of going to the Doctors, or to a counsellor’s office can be incredibly daunting. Even triggering anxiety attacks and causing further detriment to your mental health. I’ve been there myself, there is nothing worse than bumping into someone you know at the doctors, or in the waiting room for your counselling session. Not only that, on bad days, I struggle to get out of bed for work, let alone drag myself to a counselling appointment to talk about why I can’t get out of bed. Talking to someone in the comfort and privacy of your own home is sometimes necessary, and it is something that a lot of people reading this could benefit from. It gives you complete freedom over your own mental health support. You are completely in control of your sessions; when you want to have them, how long for, and who with. It gives you control of your support rather than relying on someone else to sort it for you. This is something that seemed incredibly important to me, personally a lot of my struggles boil down to things being out with my control. This service allows you to reclaim that control, rather than waiting for someone else to tell you when you can start your healing process.
What I loved about the thought of this was how easy it is to find, a quick Google search of ‘Instant Counselling’ and help is right there in front of you. It really is that simple. The website is so easy to navigate, making finding help so much easier, and much less complicated and stressful than you might think.
When you go onto the website, you can see the counsellors’ photos, and when they will be next available to talk, without needing an appointment. If you click on their name, you can read each counsellor’s profile, seeing their specialties, a little bit about them and their qualifications. I loved being able to see a profile of each counsellor, it meant that I could pick the best counsellor for me. I found that some counselling services can claim to be great for all issues, rather than admitting that they have strengths in specific areas. Although many counsellors are skilled in a variety of areas, I have found that if you can find someone who focuses on a specific area they will have additional expertise, and knowing this before beginning sessions means you do not end up feeling like you’ve wasted any time. Some counsellors also speak other languages in addition to English, which is convenient if you want to consult in your native language. It’s accessible, and looks to accommodate everyone’s needs. There is also a weekly planner, which shows you when the counsellor is next available for sessions. I loved this as it meant that rather than having to decline a number of appointments that don’t suit you, you can pick a time perfect for you with one easy click. Once you are in the call, you are able to arrange an appointment or a time that suits with you counsellor in the future.
It is so easy to get your call started. Once you have picked your counsellor, you select a pack with the duration of the session. You’ll be emailed and texted a code to use when calling. Then you can call the direct line, when you will be asked to enter your counsellor’s PIN and the code that was emailed to you. If you don’t use all the minutes you paid for, you can use them on a later call another day. So if for some reason your call is interrupted, or you have to rush off you aren’t wasting money. You know that those minutes will be there waiting for you.
When it came to finally making the call, I felt nervous at the start because I don’t talk on the phone much outside of work. For me, it’s a lot of social contact. I think talking on the phone at first felt a little odd, just because I am so used to sitting in a room with soothing pictures, and clocks everywhere rather than sitting in the comfort of my own home surrounded by my things…but then I got comfortable, I made myself a cup of tea, I cosied up into my bed and lit a scented candle and phoned the counsellor.
There was something so much more comforting about being in my own home, I felt much less vulnerable and exposed than I do in my counselling sessions. It must be because I knew I had control of the session, I knew that I could end it at any time. Being at home definitely contributed to this, it made it easier to talk, and because I wasn’t sitting in front of someone analysing my every move, it meant that I wasn’t worrying about what my hands were doing or what direction I was sitting in. I was just comfortable, sitting in my bed chatting as I usually do when I’m on the phone to my mum and sister. I really do think having the freedom to speak to someone if, where and when you please is a huge benefit to using the Instant Counselling service. Just knowing that professional help and qualified counsellors are nothing but a phone call away is reassuring, and is unlike any other service I have come across.
I hope this post can be of some help to you, and if you ever need to talk, I’m only an email away!