Counselling for Mental Health Diagnosis
If you have been received a mental health diagnosis by your GP or Clinical Psychologist, you may be wondering whether person-centred counselling is right for you.
It’s important to know that person-centred counsellors do not diagnose mental illness. Instead, I will explore what your mental health diagnosis means to you, how you feel about it, and whether you feel it ‘fits’. Everyone feels and reacts differently to their mental health diagnosis.
You may feel relieved that there is finally a word/description/label for the thoughts/feelings/behaviours which you find difficult. It may be reassuring that other people have and do experience something similar – that you are not alone.
You may, however, feel that the label doesn’t quite fit, like it minimises or dismisses the reality of the experience. You may feel stigma around your diagnosis, like there is something ‘wrong’ or ‘broken’ inside you which others will judge.
You may even feel a mix of these positive and negative reactions.
Personally, I believe that labels can be useful – they increase awareness and understanding, allow for people to access support, and can be used for research.
However, labels will never capture the lived experience which is unique to everyone. They don’t capture the pain and distress that people actually feel. That’s why it’s important for us to discuss how you feel about your diagnosis.
Fortunately, there is strong research to show that people with diagnoses respond well to talking therapies, including person-centred counselling. It may take a little longer than approaches like CBT but the research suggests that the positive benefits are longer-lasting.