What to expect from a counselling assessment


Earlier this week, I attended my counselling assessment to ascertain what would be the best approach to my therapy. Having never had any experience of talking therapies before, I was a little nervous as I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, it was a much less intimidating experience than I'd anticipated! Of course, this is just my experience so it may differ from that of others', but will give you an idea of what to expect.

First, the man I saw (I'm not sure if he was a therapist, nurse, some sort of administrator or something else but we'll call him the therapist for clarity) asked me to fill in the questionnaire. This was a little annoying as I'd already filled it out once at my doctor's surgery and once online following an email request before my appointment. My therapist looked at my answers, clarifying some where needed, and diagnosed me with moderate depression and severe general anxiety. I explained that I don't feel at all depressed and I'm glad I spoke up about it as he said my answers may be reflected by the anxiety rather than depression, so we could disregard that element. 


One of the sections of the questionnaire was related to phobias. After discussing my fear of using the telephone and other social situations, he also diagnosed me with social anxiety. We then discussed my experience with panic attacks, and he asked me what brought it on and how I felt before and during the episode. After talking about my feelings regarding my anxiety in different situations, and a brief history of when my issues started, it became clear that it was brought on by feelings of being overwhelmed and fear of not meeting my own expectations. Having confirmed I was a perfectionist (which is actually where my horrendous procrastination comes from, I was surprised to find out!), my therapist explained that this is probably the root of a lot of my problems.

Once we'd got a greater understanding of my conditions and the impact they have on my life, we discussed possible approaches to therapy. My therapist suggested CBT would be the best option as it would also treat my dermatillomania. He recommended stage 3, which is the more intensive treatment, and on a one-to-one basis rather than group therapy because of both my social anxiety and the complexity of my anxiety-dermatillomania combo. He asked me to set goals to work towards during my therapy and explained that the waiting list is currently about 8 weeks. He was also very accommodating towards my troubles with the phone and wrote a note so the relevant people would know to contact me by email (after saying "They'll give you a call to.... oh, wait. That's not going to work!")

The experience was a lot less scary than I'd expected and I'm really glad I've taken this next step. I'll be posting about my experience with CBT when that happens too so keep your eyes peeled.

12 comments:

  1. Really good explanation of what to expect! I had to fill out a form and such for my social anxiety too, it's also really nice when they respect that we prefer to be contacted by email :)

    Frankie x
    Crazyblondegal

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  2. I'm glad it went so well for you, so empowering to take that step to do what's best for you!!! :) I'm not familiar with CBT, what does that mean?
    We love you Bedbug! <3
    ~ Samantha

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    1. I'm not sure, to be honest! I'll be posting about it though so hopefully I'll understand it more by then!

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    2. CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. You think about things you do, or things you are scared of doing, and work towards changing your thoughts about them. For example, I always felt like terrible things would happen if I made a mistake. My CBT therapist got me to think about that and tell myself 'is that reality? will that ACTUALLY happen?' and over time the unrealistic/anxiety thoughts became replaced with reasonable ones as a reflect. It's a hard process but it changed my life

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. As scary as it is to face the idea that you may need help, because at some point in time I think we all feel this way, it helps to read about real life experiences. It makes it seem less strange or one less uncomfortable about going through the process.

    Looking forward to more updates!

    xoxo
    Jessica
    http://vivaciouseventslv.com/

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  4. Such a brave post! I love when people are open talking about mental illness and seeking help (although I understand why many aren't).

    I've been treated for anxiety and depression, and my girlfriend has been treated for social anxiety (and is seeking help again, soon), so I know how scary this can be. Go you!

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  5. I hope your treatment goes well and I'm glad this step wasn't too painful from you. I know from experience of seeing a loved one suffer from the debilitating effects of generalised anxiety how awful it can be. CBT has been a godsend and I hope it works for you too x

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  6. I think I commented on a post of yours a little while ago and may have suggested therapy. I am proud of you, if that's not weird, for going through with this. I know how incredibly hard it is to reach out, and it's hard to DO the therapy, but it is so so worth it. xxx

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  7. They love those questionaires so be ready to fill loads in everytime you go for treatment! I got dianosed with anixety for the second time this year and did phone therapy as well as homework at home (so I didn't have to worry about finding a babysitter for my baby). It does feel strange at first but the best thing to do is be honest and you'll get the best out of treatment. The biggest part of the fight is over :) xx

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  8. I had an assessment and am going to the last of the talking therapies workshops this evening. I think i could really do with some one to one time to help me work out the root of my issues which i could then work on with the tools i've learnt in the workshop. I hope it goes well for you.x

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  9. It's great that they really do work with your needs, and are using email instead of the phone! Hope everything goes well!

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  10. I'm glad you're getting this sorted, pal. I hope CBT works for you. I had CBT for my depression, and I do understand how it really can work. But workload and other factors meant I had to reduce my CBT and up my medication instead, which is a real shame... and I guess shows how little I prioritise myself and my own health in the grand scheme of things, eh? Hmmm. Hadn't thought of that 'til I typed it out. Anyway... the main thing is that you're seeking ways to make you feel more capable of coping. There's a brighter world out there, love xx

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