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What brings us to psychotherapy or counselling?

Emotional distress

There may be times in our life when we experience intense emotional distress. These feelings can include anxiety, sadness, anger, panic, grief, jealousy, longing, fear and resentment. Sometimes we might curiously feel numb. We all respond to these feelings differently.


We might feel depressed and may avoid friends and family, sleep a lot or a little, eat more or less than usual and may find it hard to enjoy things. For some of us these feelings might be so intense and overwhelming that we don’t want to continue living.


We might feel intensely anxious, worry about many things, find it hard to relax and get easily annoyed or sometimes violent. There might be an underlying sense that something awful is going to happen.


These intense feelings may have been triggered by a recent event in our lives, e.g.

  • a relationship breakdown

  • a bereavement

  • loss of a job

  • an illness or accident

  • a life stage transition: parenthood, fertility, caring for older parents, moving into adulthood, menopause, children leaving home, end of life

Early experiences

Sometimes we have experienced these feelings for many years or we have some idea that they are linked to old experiences or traumas, for example:

  • relationships with parents

  • abuse in childhood, including verbal, physical, sexual or neglect

  • sexuality 

  • race & cultural differences

  • domestic violence

  • low self-esteem and low self confidence

Psychotherapy can help alleviate distress and find meaning in our life

With our therapist, who is not family or friend, we gradually start to make sense of these feelings. As we gain more understanding of formative experiences and their influence in our lives, we gain emotional relief and we can start to make new choices. Often we are able to find new meaning in our lives.

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More information

If you would like more information on

  • How do I choose a psychotherapist?

  • What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

  • What are the different types of psychotherapy?

you can look at these websites:

UKCP - UK Council for Psychotherapy

BACP - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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