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  • Meet the Counsellors

    A place for community rundowns, special events and announcements from Counselling Online forums facilitation team.
    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 150
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Meet the Counsellors

    Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:22 pm

    Hey folks, we're starting a new thread here to discuss counselling and recovery!

    Have you considered reaching out to a counsellors? Professional support can be an incredibly useful tool for people who are in recovery. However, for many people the prospect of reaching out and speaking to a professional can be daunting. There’s the concern you may be judged or your addiction misunderstood, leaving you without the support you need.

    In order to get people thinking about counselling it’d be great for people to check out the new blog posts “Meet the Counsellors”. These posts are written by our counsellors and discuss what drew them into AOD work and why this work is so important to them. They’re all people with their own relationships to addiction and recovery, who bring their own unique perspectives to their work. See below -

    Meet Kathleen

    Meet Rosie

    Have any of you had any experiences with counsellors? It would be great to hear about people’s experiences and how they feel about counselling in their own recovery journeys!

    :D

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    Katiee
    Member
    Posts: 44
    Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:54 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:18 am

    I used for a long time, and every one was telling me that I needed rehab. However I have children and I didn’t want to go without seeing them for that long so the thought of Rehab didn’t sit well with me. I was in the mental health ward at the local public hospital and they had a worker from an organisation come in and she spoke to me about a 12 week drug and alcohol counselling that they provided free of charge. This sounded right up my ally as it was 1 hour weekly appointments. I decided to be brave and make the call to the central intake that day because they said there could be a wait list. It was only a 2 week wait witch i thought was great. I was anxious rocking up to my first appointment worried about what might be brought up and also if I was going to be judged. My counsellor was amazing. She was so laid back and she was really easy to talk to. As each week passed it got easier to attend. I learned some things about the drug I didn’t know, I learned some things about me I didn’t realise. I’ll share with you the best saying I got out of it, it’s still on my wall to this day, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”
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    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 150
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:18 pm

    Hi @Katiee

    Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure many will be able to relate to the fact that residential rehab is not always the most feasible option, especially for those with children. I'm really glad that you were directed to a service that suited your needs, free of charge, that the waiting wasn't long and you had a counsellor you really liked. Would love to hear if you learned any sort of strategies throughout your counselling. I'm sure others can too learn from your experience. I love the saying you shared, it's so true, and applicable to so many aspects of how we experience our lives.

    :)
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    Katiee
    Member
    Posts: 44
    Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:54 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:30 pm

    @TheDees

    The main strategy I learned for getting through a craving is deep breathing. I laughed at the idea at first thought it was a bit of a joke. But we actually worked out how many breaths for me to calm myself down and get myself to a place where I can think properly again, for me the amount is 14 breaths, in through the nose out through the mouth. Now it hasn’t worked every time, BUT it has worked I’d say about 50% of the time.

    Another exercise is a grounding exercise. It’s called the 5 senses. So you look for 5 things with your eyes and name then. You look for 5 things you can hear and name them. You look for 5 things you can smell and name them. You look for 5 things you can touch and name them. You look for 5 things you can touch and name them. This helps to bring your attention off your cravings and onto something completely different.

    My biggest go to that I learned was distraction. So I have a diamond painting out that I go to so I can fully concentrate on that. Just need to completely distract the mind for as long as you can to ride that wave.

    Like I said these don’t work all the time but I’ve only had to face a handful of cravings I couldn’t push aside with using these strategies
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    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 150
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:50 pm

    Wow @Katiee! Yes, those sound like really good strategies. And I guess its also a matter of practice, the more you do it, the better you get at them. Sounds like you've develop a really good insight into your cravings... Its wonderful how powerful something as basic as breathing can be. Thank you so much for sharing. :)
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    Peace Dove
    Community Builder
    Posts: 169
    Joined: Mon May 03, 2021 9:22 am

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:08 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Hope you're all travelling well. Hot off the press, we have a new blog post as part of the series “Meet the Counsellors” to help you get to know some of our counsellors: why they decided to become an alcohol and other drug counsellor, and what it means to them. I highly encourage you read Rosie's journey into the alcohol and other drugs field as a counsellor. I can assure you that at the least you're going to get a couple of belly laughs like I did.

    I wonder if any of you have used a phone call counselling service and could share your experience on how it helped you or just with any sort of counselling in general? @Simply me @Gizelle @Minnie mouse @Deyfhob @PnorkelPW @ScorpionPW @Katiee @pdm411 @Alvarosyd @Dontknowatall @Starlee @apples123
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    Katiee
    Member
    Posts: 44
    Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:54 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:12 pm

    I personally haven’t used phone counselling but I did use an online service a couple of years ago and I found that really useful as they where able to refer me onto a local mental health service.
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    PnorkelPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 107
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:45 pm

    I've not used the phone counselling services but I've come close on a number of occasions. I think just knowing they were there if I needed them played a big part in helping me get through those tough times and I was able to work through them.

    Where I struggle most is when I can't see any way out or if I know I'm completely alone. Knowing there was that last option helped me get in touch with my inner counsellor and ask myself all the questions I thought they'd ask me.

    I've spoken with heaps of people over the years who have used the phone counselling lines and had great experiences. Just knowing they could call and speak anonymously was a huge benefit.

    It's awesome to know that there's someone there to talk to if I really need to
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    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 160
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:58 pm

    It's a good question @Peace Dove and it's great to open up conversations to hear about the different journeys people have been through with counselors and other treatment to hear what's worked and what hasn't.

    For me, I didn't see a counsellor until I had been in recovery for around 18 months. Before then the only support I had was from 12 step fellowships and I thought that was all I needed. I decided to see a counsellor to see if there was anything more I could learn to help me in my recovery and I approached it with an open mind. I found the counsellor I saw to be helpful in that she was able to ask me a lot of reflective questions and helped me see what I could get from counselling. I also had times seeing counsellors during my addiction and because I was so close minded it never helped me until I was in a more open minded place. At the time I blamed the counsellors and said to myself "counselling doesn't work" but it wasn't until I stopped blaming other people for my problems and was willing to be helped that anything helped me, surprise surprise :roll:

    Something that was said to me was "you can't graft new ideas onto a closed mind" and this has always resonated strongly with me. If I am not open minded and willing to be challenged then there's no way I can heal and grow. I will just stay in a painful place until I'm willing to accept that I can't solve things on my own. I need help and guidance from things outside of myself that are loving and caring. Once I was able to adopt this perspective everything changed and when I reached out for help, I got value from it in the forms of peer support, counselling and support from friends and family.

    It would be great to hear other peoples experiences with this :D
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    TheDees
    Moderator
    Posts: 150
    Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:29 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:43 pm

    Hey there, as a counsellor myself, but also a person with my own stuff, it is also about finding the 'right fit' and really giving it your best shot. You need to put in to get out of it, it is easy to say "counselling didn't work" sometimes that may be because you aren't ready for change or counselling at the time. but I always say to everyone to keep giving it a go and be open minded. :-)
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    Simply me
    Member
    Posts: 69
    Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:51 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Fri Jun 25, 2021 3:50 am

    Heylo folk,

    I've been seeing psychiatrists / psychologists/ counsellors of various descriptions for over 20 years now, and they definitely all had their own styles n ways of working. Some have been qualified formally, others by life and a combo. I've been part of research and experimentations, lab rat and beneficiary. Developing insights into n reflecting back where I was at, is where i found them the most helpful, as I journeyed from a highly traumatised teenager who had been coerced into silence, to beginning to find my voice again. That''s a big part of what its been about for me.....

    I've had a lot of shame about speaking my story out loud at times, it took teasing like a knot, and repeating aspects of it over and over before this eased. At first I felt it would mean I was broken or weak for seeking counselling out, so that was a shift. From being pushed into it n just kinda being a bum on a chair, to beginning to make my own choices about who and when or if I wanted to work with someone, cos it is work, life's work, clarifying where we want our story to go and empowering in reclaiming it. To me that's what a good counsellor supports, by assisting the building up of existing core strengths, we all have them, diverse yet true....

    I definitely wouldn't have 4 months of sobriety under my belt, without CounsellingOnline.org and these forums. Expertise and access 24/7 rocked for me. Pausing when apt. Also being able to type chat rather than speak allowed me to contact more discretely, when for example there were others around I didn't want to hear the conversation /dialogue but I needed support. Accessing via my phone also meant it was transportable. Sound like an ad, ooops not meant to have them on the forums ;)....

    I am a believer in lived experience / peer support. You can just feel it when someone's understanding is coming from this place, and it allows for some strategies n indeed even belly laughs around some of the dark stuff, so healing. I've experienced some shocker textbook derived sessions, humans aint textbooks thats for sure.

    Phone counselling has supported me in developing, and healing, friendships. Translation, I could meltdown and talk stuff through anonymously without needing to edit, rather than worrying friends and family who can become sensitised, burnt out even. Get **** out basically. Sometimes those closest to us get frazzled, and simply don't have the needed skills to navigate eh. My fella n me both use phone lines despite having each other in our lives, sound odd, it works for us. He calls it 'çoaching'. I've also found it useful for 'making a plan' of how I'll spend my time when the distress begins to ease, where to from here. Much as I used to hate the line ''and what are you going to do after this call" it got me thinking about self care...

    Thanks, blessings n good vibes.....
    3 x
    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 146
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:04 pm

    heya @Simply me I love your posts, you bring so much honesty and insight to this space. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I really like how upfront you have been about the difficulty of speaking about your own story. I think the simile you used there is really powerful, it shows how complex it can be to sit comfortably in a space, once you open up about what you've been going through. I have to 100% agree, a good counsellor should be an empowering figure in your life, they should be someone who works for you and provides you with tools, not make you feel like you've got no say in your future.

    Haha it may sound a little like an add but we really do appreciate hearing these things! It's amazing to be able to be a part of our journey and I'm so glad we've been able to support you and that we've actually been useful haha! Also you're 100% right, humans aren't textbooks! We all have different things that work for all of us, and it can be infuriating when people try a one-size-fits-all approach. We're lucky to have our peer workers here, and members like yourself who do share such important insight!

    I totally get what you're saying about the importance of phone counselling, it does offer a lot of opportunities for privacy and, as you say, not having to "edit" yourself. It sounds like you're very aware of those around you, which is wonderful to see. Support is a two way street, and it sounds like you really get that! I don't think it's weird at all that you and your partner both use the phone lines! If it works for you it works for you! Also it's a good way of setting boundaries and not treating each other as emotional outlets all the time, which can sometimes be a drain on any relationship!

    Thank you so much for your wisdom here! I hope your weekend is tracking well :)
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    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:44 pm

    I haven’t used phone counsellors though often think I might like to. But it’s finding the time and privacy, whereas something like this forum I can access discretely with family in the room etc. or often in the middle of the night when I lay in bed awake.
    I haven’t been on here in a while, I’m a little lost as where to next and am exhausted of the constant struggle of my husbands drinking, denial and accusations.
    So maybe it’s time I did pick up the phone and make that call. I think it’s great we have the opportunity to access this help though :)
    4 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 160
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Thu Jul 01, 2021 9:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing @Starlee, it's really great to hear that this forum is able to provide some solace and it sounds really hard what you're going through with your husband.

    I really struggle when people close to me are struggling with addiction and they're in total denial. Like, it's so obvious what the problem is but they're just not willing to see it for what it is and realise that the substance use is at the root of all the other issues.

    Family Drug & Gambling help is another great resource for loved ones or family members of people strugglign with addiction to get support. They have a 24/7 helpline where you can talk to somebody who has a lived experience of having family members struggle with addiction and multiple support groups.

    How are you going with your own self care whilst having to hold all of this?
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    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 21
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: Meet the Counsellors

    Sun Jul 18, 2021 7:48 pm

    I feel like I’m going ok. I go to the gym most nights, can’t say I’m all that productive at the gym haha but it’s my time out just to clear my head. Sometimes I just sit in the car and don’t even go in. I have great family and friend support too. But I don’t see an ending to this, and if I’m honest with myself I don’t want to keep living like this. I think about it every single day, because not a day goes by where there’s no drinking, accusations or even me constantly checking if he’s drinking or what mood he’s in. It’s so consuming. Don’t get me wrong there are good days, but even then I’m waiting on edge for something to happen. But I feel stronger than 6 months ago, I know when I’m heading for a break down and I go home to my parents just to recharge.
    But I also see him struggle mental health wise and it’s heart breaking. But I feel helpless as there’s just the constant denial, says what I want to hear type stuff.
    Anyway I don’t even know where I was going with this post.. sorry feel like I’m waffling on and not sure what my point was really. 🥴
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