My new website has now been launched, come and visit me at www.orlaghreid.com
for the latest information, articles, FAQ’s and booking therapy sessions.
This website will no longer be updated. See you there at www.orlaghreid.com
Telephone counselling provides professional therapeutic emotional support which is non-judgmental, confidential and supportive no matter what you are going through. Telephone counselling is suitable for a wide range of problems, people and circumstances. It can be a wonderful support for anyone effected by illness or disability who may be restricted by mobility but who wish to access professional emotional support from home. Talking to your professional therapist by phone should be as reassuring as meeting them in person.
How we communicate is changing and evolving around the world and therapists are adapting their practice to meet the needs of their patients. Many professional therapists are now covered and insured to provide therapy face to face, by phone and face to face online using different technologies.
Telephone counselling can be effective and solution focused, helping clients to express their needs and find solutions to their own problems. The power of talking and feeling truly heard and understood is powerful beyond measure. In a world where all we do is communicate, rarely do we listen to hear, rather we listen to respond. Telephone counselling provides a medium for connection and self-expression and a safe space to discuss your inner thoughts, worries and fears with someone trained to understand what you may be going through.
The current situation in Ireland with the COVID-19 pandemic is a global and national emergency. Many people who are in self-isolation or impacted by COVID-19 are unable to go about their usual daily routine. Most of use are slowly adapting and coming to terms with the impact of this unexpected pandemic which is causing stress, worry and anxiety. A separation from loved ones in an effort to protect each other. This is a complete change of lifestyle and connection for most of us.
The power of talking and feeling truly heard and understood is powerful beyond measure.
Times of crisis and social isolation effect mental and emotional health and your general sense of well-being particularly for those already experiencing life stress. It is very important to focus on staying healthy and thinking positively. Connecting with family, friends, loved ones and also colleagues in any way possible helps keep a sense of normality.
If you feel that you need extra support at this time from a professional IACP Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist than telephone counselling may be an option for you to consider. You can find a full list of professional accredited Psychotherapists at www.iacp.ie.
Online counselling is a different experience from being face to face in the same room as your local therapist so making sure your online session goes smoothly for you both is important.
For many people, especially those comfortable with working and communicating online already, it is a convenient and increasingly popular way to access professional therapy with the right therapist for you.
Being prepared for your first session can greatly improve your overall personal experience of online therapy so that you will want to keep working and connecting with your chosen therapist. Online counselling is a good way to focus on self-care and personal development while also addressing any problems you may be experiencing.
It may be a completely new experience for you to talk to a professional therapist about your inner world and put words on your thoughts and feelings, but rest assured you’re in good hands. Any type of personal therapy be it face to face or online takes time to get used to. Your therapist should guide and support you through your online therapy session.
As you establish a relationship with your therapist you will hopefully get more comfortable talking to them over the course of your online sessions just like traditional couch therapy. Try to relax and be yourself as much as possible.
Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your online counselling sessions. These are my tips combined with some great advice for online counsellors from Clay Cockrell, an online counselling expert and founder of onlinecounselling.com. I hope these will help you get the most out of your next online counselling sessions. To book an online therapy session click here.
BE PREPARED. Make sure that you have the correct platform access and contact links for your counsellor before your session starts. I often use SKYPE for online therapy, and I connect with my clients via SKYPE the day they book their session so there are no delays on the day of therapy. Depending on the platform your therapist is using you may need to download software and set up a new account in advance. Read up on any emails your therapist sends you well before your session, these may also contain important details regarding client patient confidentiality.
GOOD LIGHTING. Visually it’s important that your therapist can see you clearly during your online video sessions. It can be helpful to be in a bright room or have a desk lamp close to your laptop or device to improve lighting quality around your face and upper body. Therapists are trained to read body language, facial expressions and visual ques so good quality lighting can enhance the communication and connection between you both and allow for a better sense of eye contact.
INTERNET CONNECTION. Good quality internet connection means that your online therapy session won’t be interrupted. To help improve your internet connection and network speed close down all other applications on your PC. This will also prevent you from being distracted by any PC notifications, messages or pop-ups during the session.
GOOD QUALITY SOUND. Using earbuds or headphones will greatly improve the quality of your conversation with your online therapist. They will ensure that you can hear every word that your therapists is saying and helps drown out distracting background noise. Wearing earbuds can help keep you more focused during sessions. They may take some time to get used to at first, if it feels difficult to adjust to using them you can reduce to one if that feels more comfortable.
BACKUP PLAN. In the possible event of poor internet connection or a PC crashing which can happen unexpectedly on the day, it’s helpful to have your therapists contact number to hand so that sessions can continue over the phone rather than ending abruptly due to IT problems.
RELAX. It can take some time to adjust to talking to a therapist via video-link as you start to develop a therapeutic relationship and get to know your therapist and share your inner world. Relax and try to enjoy the experience as your therapists guides you through the process. Sessions will generally have a good flow with a natural start, middle and end feel to them.
PRIVACY. Ideally find a quiet comfortable private room away from any distractions so that you do not need to worry about being overheard or interrupted during your online therapy session.
GOOD COMMUNICATION. Always face your video cam so that your therapist can see and hear you clearly. Try not to cover your face or mouth and sit comfortably close to your laptop or device. Your therapist will be doing the same. Don’t be afraid to tell them if you are having difficulty hearing and seeing them from your side.
GET COMFORTABLE. We want you to get the most out of your online therapy session so it’s important that you can really talk openly and let your therapist understand your world. Good therapy is about relationship building. The more comfortable you are during your session the more you will relax, open-up and be honest about how you are really feeling. Find yourself a comfortable space to sit for the session, get yourself a coffee if that helps you to relax while talking, whatever works for you. Some clients use diaries or notebooks for note taking and sharing during sessions.
MANAGE EXPECTATIONS. Clients can expect a lot from personal therapy in the first few sessions. They are often hoping therapy will ‘fix’ their situation or that the therapist will tell them exactly what to do. Remember online therapy is a talk therapy and is not prescriptive. The first few sessions are often about giving you space to talk openly and freely about your circumstances, getting your thoughts inline so that both you and your therapist can assess and get a better understanding of the situation or problem before any intervention is explored. Talking and expressing yourself is therapeutic and healing and is a large part of the therapeutic process even if you do not feel like you are making any practical headway. I like clients to end sessions with one or two simple practical things they can focus on between sessions.
Fertility counsellors provide professional experienced therapeutic support to women, men and couples who are affected by potential and existing infertility problems. They are also experienced in working through grief and loss, relationships problems and the many life circumstances which bring clients into therapy. Many of us are familiar with hearing about couples who are having difficulty conceiving or who are going through IVF treatment.
The reality is that there is a broad range of reasons clients come to talk about fertility, it is not just for couples who are having difficulty conceiving.
Therapy can be beneficial for anyone who would like to talk openly and honestly about their fertility plans or fears for the future at any stage. Getting support and guidance on lifestyle changes, reducing stress and addressing relationship problems ahead of getting pregnant is common. These days there is a range of options to contemplate when it comes to preparing and planning for a child depending on the circumstances. It can be difficult to talk openly about these options with family and friends. Natural conception, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, fostering and choosing not to have children are all choices that can be talked through with your therapist.
Other common reasons clients come to fertility counselling are related to physical, reproductive, psychological and sexual problems. Social factors such as career, relationship breakdown and the absence of a committed relationship also can have a direct effect on planning a family. Each person’s circumstances are unique to them and their relationship. Similarly, everyone copes and deals differently with life’s challenges particularly in a relationship where both people are trying to support each other. Understanding how to cope better and look after yourself with the support and guidance of a therapist can help make life feel less complicated.
Women may have a concern about fertility and having a child at any stage. This concern can come long before they are even ready to consider getting pregnant. This anticipatory worry can be linked to all types of life experiences such as relationships status, sexuality, sexual abuse, fear of pregnancy or sexual dysfunction i.e. vaginismus. For women who are having difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant, primary or secondary infertility is often an ongoing worry, something which they are trying to navigate through with little adequate support. The total loss of fertility on either side of a relationship may happen completely unexpectedly due to a sudden illness or accident and is often deeply traumatic and distressing.
Infertility counselling also supports women who are experiencing chronic medical conditions, reproductive surgery, premature menopause and disability which may result in fertility complications. Coming to terms with the consequences of any of these conditions with the support of a therapist over time can be part of a healing and recovery process.
Infertility often puts a natural strain on the strongest of relationships. Many couples feel that these challenges help to bring them closer together and give their relationship a deeper meaning. At the same time, they each may experience stress, tension, isolation and a range of complicated mixed emotions. Learning how to positively support and understand each other is important to the well-being of both individuals who will invariably be experiencing different things at different stages. Therapy can help couples to feel supported together and learn how to be emotionally more supportive to each other.
Parents, family, friends and even co-workers can be effected by infertility. Being able to talk freely in therapy about how best to deal with these extended relationships and situations can help to reduce stress and tension. Fertility counsellors are familiar with the many challenges that come with fertility problems and are there to help you through.
If you or your partner are effected by any of the problems mentioned in this article or are concerned about anything relating to fertility then talk to your GP or local Fertility Counsellor. You can book an appointment online and find out more about fertility counselling and fertility reflexology in Co. Kildare, Ireland at www.orlaghgahan.ie
The National Infertility Support and Information Group provide support meetings and information to anyone experiencing infertility in Ireland.
The British Infertility Counselling Association has helpful articles, information and links on their website and on all social media platforms.
Deciding to go to therapy might be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. Personal therapy is not just for individuals in crisis or who are suffering mental health problems. On the contrary, in my experience as a Psychotherapist many people come because they want to change something in their life, improve their relationships, get motivated to do something challenging, overcome fears or to feel inspired and empowered.
Therapy can be the perfect space for personal development with the support of a professional who can help you achieve your goals, only faster. When finding a therapist, people often make the mistake of attending the wrong therapist in the right location or the right therapist in the wrong location and find themselves feeling that ‘therapy did not work the last time’, a saying I hear regularly from new clients.
Finding the right Psychotherapist can feel mind boggling when you are not exactly sure what you are looking for. A therapist who provides general counselling might be just what you need if you want help with general everyday life stress or work life balance.
Here are some straightforward things to consider to help you narrow down your search and find the right Psychotherapist for you.
There are thousands of accredited Counsellors, Psychotherapists and mental health professionals across Ireland each trained in various psychotherapy models and specialist fields from depression and trauma to individuals, couples and family therapy. Save yourself a lot of time in the long run by finding a therapist who specialises in the specific problem or area you feel you need help with.
For example, if you want to talk about a sexual problem then seek out a therapist who works specifically in sexual problems and sex therapy. If you want help to overcome an addiction and start a recovery process, then find a therapist who specialises in addictions. Maybe you and your partner want to improve your relationship or separate amicably then find an excellent relationship psychotherapist to guide you through the process. There are many areas of expertise in psychotherapy which means a recommendation from your GP or a friend is not always a good way to find your therapist.
To narrow down your search, first identify what you want to achieve from your therapy sessions.
Most Psychotherapists who specialise in various fields also provide general counselling but many therapists who provide general counselling do not specialise in specific fields. Now with the internet you can find and profile many experienced therapists and websites to find the right professional. The benefits of online counselling also mean you could potentially access a therapist who may be practicing in another country but that you feel have the experience you are looking for. Expect to pay more for Psychotherapists who specialise as you are paying for their experience, expertise and training. It could save you money and time in the long term.
When choosing a therapist consider that you may be spending weeks, months or maybe year’s working with your therapist. Many people find being in therapy so valuable that they choose to continue on an ongoing basis dipping in and out of therapy over time. Convenient access to your chosen therapist is an important factor and should be up there on your priority list so that you can attend regularly.
Ideally you want to make getting to appointments as stress free as possible, arriving stressed is counterproductive. Even consider allocating time after your session so that you can get a coffee or have a short walk to process your thoughts and feelings on your own.
Traveling an hour to a therapist may seem fine in the early stages but longer term it becomes inconvenient and unrealistic. You may find yourself having to start all over again with a new therapist which is frustrating and time consuming. Many therapists provide online therapy which means that accessibility and location no longer restrict people accessing the right therapist in the comfort of their own home.
Therapists are people too with different personalities, traits and life experience. Just like in the real world sometimes we just don’t feel a connection with someone for no particular reason or maybe for a very specific reason. Possibly you saw a therapist already but did not feel at ease with that person or their practice on that day. If that happened, that’s OK, it’s natural, find another one. Don’t just give up there. Therapists are trained to be professional, ethical and approachable but even so it is human nature that your personalities or experience may just be incompatible for you to be able to really open up in the therapy room.
It is important that the therapist you are working with feels relatable to you as a person.
The client therapist therapeutic relationship takes time to develop, weeks at a minimum, psychotherapy is a therapeutic process after all. If, however your intuition and gut reaction is strong and tells you this therapist is not a good fit for you after two or three sessions then find another therapist. This time being even more specific in your search. Trust your gut but also give the relationship time to develop. Just as the therapist is learning about you, you are learning about them and how they work.
Finding the right therapist can save you a lot of time and money and really help you achieve your desired goals in a shorter space of time. Some other things to take into consideration when finding a therapist are if you would prefer a male or female therapist, affordability, agreeing to cancellation policies, age gaps and level of expertise. If you are attending therapy through your private health insurance provider, you may have no choice who you are referred to. You may need to balance up working with that therapist in the short term at no cost or choosing to see a therapist you find privately instead.
Finding the right therapist ultimately depends on your individual circumstances and what you want to achieve out of therapy. Just like relationships, it takes time to develop the connection so be open to opening up.
Sobriety requires much more than just sheer willpower which can be the reason people fail trying to do it alone with no direction. It requires motivation, goals, support, time, practice, routine, focus, patience and positive reinforcement.
‘Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.’ -Tony Robbins
If you are starting to understand setting goals for your recovery then focus on sorting them into short, medium and long term goals. Short term goals are from day one to day ninety. Medium term goals are from three months to twelve months. While long term goals are from twelve months and into the future. Its important to set goals which are realistic, achievable and motivating. Working towards your goals then starts to become part of a new routine in the longer term. As you reach your goals you will experience positive reinforcement that you have completed something you set out to achieve along with the feel good factor. They helps to build your confidence and self-esteem and most importantly your belief in yourself. Good strong routines in turn are a great relapse preventative measure in the long term.
Firstly you need to make a very clear decision on what your basic ultimate goal is in terms of your recovery. For example, do you want to be alcohol free, drug free, stop using pornography or give up gambling for good? What ever your ultimate goal is, that is your finish line. Right now in early recovery your only thinking about running a race. Every single goal you set out will help to support and reinforce your ultimate goal.
Short term goals are really about helping the individual find some kind of balance and routine in their lives. These goals are focused on the present and should be quite simple and achievable. Set both daily and weekly goals, one week at a time. I think limiting them to no more than ten goals can help prevent feelings of being overwhelmed. It is much better to do two or three really well then ten half hardheartedly. Short term goals are about helping the client stabilise physically, mentally and emotionally.
Here are some common short term goals my clients often set out in the first 90 days.
So you can now start to see that short term goals are about helping you to focus on all the things which will promote your sobriety one day at a time from week to week. As you reach your goals, set new ones, this is how you grow and change. Recovery really is a learning process that times time and persistence. The more time you give it, the more you will gain from the work you put into yourself.
I believe that support and connection with people is a major part of what gets people through the early days of recovery. Addiction counselling helps you to work through all the challenges you come up against so that you can learn how to recover. Recovery is about returning to health and finding your true happy fulfilled self. Keep it simple. Achieve your short term goals. Sooth yourself in positive ways. Give yourself praise and positive recognition every single day. Stay strong one day at a time. Reward yourself for goals achieved.
The biggest mistake is that people try to do it alone. You alone can do it, but, you can not do it alone. Remember, keep up your therapy sessions and support groups in your early days no matter how good or bad you are doing.
I wanted to write a short blog article to help potential clients feel reassured about what to expect in their first counselling & psychotherapy appointment for face to face and online therapy. Most new clients tell me that they have thought about coming to therapy for a long time, in many cases years, so I hope that this will help to demystify the concept of coming to therapy for the first time. Personally speaking I want clients to have a positive experience from their first session so that it helps normalise the idea of being in-therapy. If you have been thinking of starting therapy, don’t waste any more time, just go for it.
Many people consider therapy for between six months to two years before they make an appointment with me. The lead up to your first session can feel a bit daunting and nerve racking, the fear of the unknown and not really knowing what to expect but don’t worry too much. How do I start, what do I say, what will they think are common thoughts people can have first time around. Remember, every single therapist had first session nerves just like you! It’s really reassuring to know that your therapist will guide and lead you though your sessions every time, particularly your first session.
I like to break my sessions down into three parts which are an opening, middle and closing section. We know how difficult the first steps can be and meet new clients every day so an important part of our role as a therapist is to make you feel at ease and comfortable during each and every session.
Most therapists will follow a similar process in the first session so this article outlines the process that I like to follow myself. The first session is very much an informal relaxed session of getting to know each other and a discussion around how we can both work together therapeutically with your particular presenting issue. What you can definitely expect to get from your first session is a safe supportive space to start talking about what ever it is you are going through. Below is a road-map of how I like to work through the first sessions.
Consultation Form. You will be asked to provide basic information such as medical conditions, GP details and contact details of a next of kin in the event of an emergency.
Introductions. I will introduce myself and my practice and what to expect from the first session to help put you at ease. Personally I take notes during sessions which I use as as a visual tool in therapy with my clients.
Explaining The Therapist Client Confidentiality Agreement. I will explain to you information about the our confidentially agreement and also the limitations of confidentiality and answer any questions you may have.
Sharing. This first session is really a safe space for you to talk about everything that brings you to therapy. I like to call it a session to just offload all your problems and worries. It can take some time to get used to taking about yourself but you will be amazed how quickly you can adjust and have plenty to talk about.
Identifying Problems. By the end of the session we will discuss some areas to focus on in therapy over the coming sessions and also discuss how many sessions to start off with. You may be asked to complete an assessment during the first session which will also help us narrow down some areas to focus on.
Closing The Session. I will spend five to ten minutes closing the first session and checking in with you to see how you are feeling or any thoughts and questions you might have. Many people are feeling much more relaxed as we come to the end of the first session and most report feeling relieved, happy, motivated that it is over after thinking about it for some time.
It is important to be realistic and not to expect to much from your first session. I think that many people expect to have life changing experiences in therapy and that they will walk out the door feeling fixed or better after just one hour. The reality is that most of the changes happen for the patient between sessions as they learn to practice what has been discussed in therapy and start to focus and reflect more on themselves. I regularly hear clients say ‘I tried therapy before and it did not work‘ and when we explore this more early in therapy, they may have attended just a handful of sessions, sometimes just one and had unrealistic expectations of the outcome. Therapy is where you come to talk about change, the next part is to actively learn how to change outside of sessions.
I can reassure you that your second session will feel easier to attend, as you know where you are going and what to expect. Ongoing sessions will feel like they have a nice natural comfortable flow as we get to know each other more and develop a relationship overtime. Therapy is a process of change, healing and personal insight. It is also learning to be vulnerable and open with another human being and using that connection with your therapist to help you to accept yourself, change and grow. All of which takes time.
It is difficult to know where to start when you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one for a sexual addiction or pornography addiction. The good news is the more you start to research the subject, the more support and resources you will find are available. It is important however that you get help as early as possible and continue with various therapeutic interventions until you feel completely free from any problematic behaviour or addiction. Recovery often means engaging in both personal therapy and relationship counselling until the end of the process or on an ongoing basis. The level of professional support required will depend on the severity of the addiction and various other factors. Individuals may also have mental health problems, past trauma or abuse which also requires addressing. Partners are also encouraged to attend counselling, as addiction impacts spouses and family members on many levels.
You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.’
Below are some suggestions regarding sexual addiction recovery;
Below are some Irish & UK resources which you may find helpful;
Support Groups in Ireland
Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) – www.slaaireland.org
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA Ireland) – www.saireland.com
S-Anon – Support for partners of Sex Addicts – www.sanon.org/meetings/meetingsireland.html
Professional Counselling Associations & Professionals
Addiction Counsellors of Ireland – www.addictioncounsellors.ie
Irish Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists – www.iacp.ie
Psychosexual & Relationship Counsellors of Ireland & UK – www.cosrt.org.uk
Eoin Stephens Psychotherapist – www.eoinstephens.com
Addictive Behaviours & Sex Addiction Private Counselling – www.addictivebehaviours.ie
Addiction Recovery Centers
The Rutland Centre – www.rutlandcentre.ie
Aiseiri – www.aiseiri.ie
Cuan Mhuire – www.cuanmhuire.ie
Smarmore Castle Private Rehabilitation Clinic – www.smarmore-rehab-clinic.com
6 Day UK Intensive Sex Addiction Recovery Course – www.paulahall.co.uk
The Kickstart Recovery Guide -21 Page Recovery Workbook – www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk
The Fortify Programme – Online Pornography Recovery course – www.fortifyprogram.org/
Fight The New Drug – Pornography Awareness & Education- www.fightthenewdrug.org
8 week online course for Porn Addiction – www.paulahall.co.uk/services/addiction-recovery/
Sex Addiction Education & Information – www.paulahall.co.uk
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity – www.atsac.co.uk
One day….or day one, you decide.
People engage in therapy for a wide variety of reasons and each individuals experience of therapy is unique. The therapeutic relationship that is developed gently over time with your therapist is a vital part of the process, as you become more comfortable sharing and communicating your thoughts, fears & feelings. Making a commitment to this process and preparing for your sessions is the key to getting the most out of therapy. Here are some more suggestions;
Making a commitment to the therapeutic process and preparing for sessions is the key to getting the most out of therapy.