I truly wished I was not in the position, where I can write about how counsellors can you let you down, but here I am. I was so hurt and let down by my counsellor. After losing my brother and being diagnosed with a heart condition I think it far to say I was an emotional wreck. I was assessed and advised I could benefit from bereavement counselling and also, I would be able to discuss the issues I was having with survivors’ guilt.
As I mentioned in my antidepressants post, the NHS allows you just six counselling sessions. For me, this was nowhere near enough time to even scratch the surface of how I was feeling. I discussed this with the counsellor I had been seeing at a well-known mental health charity. She agreed to continue seeing me on a private basis after the six NHS sessions. The counsellor advised she would be available for as long as I needed. It was important that we clarified this before the private counselling commenced, because I felt I had years of issues that had been bubbling away below the surface. I wanted to move forward with my life, not continue to waste it.
After a few private sessions, she told me, she had taken on a new role at the charity. When I asked her if there was any chance she wouldn’t be able to continue to be my counsellor, she assured me, this wouldn’t be the case. It played on my mind. So I phoned her the next day and yet again she assured me that it would not affect her ability to continue to be my counsellor. “I promise you, I will continue to be your counsellor”.
On Saturday afternoon, a few days since we had last spoken, I was out walking when she called me. “Turns out you were right; I can’t be your counsellor anymore. I need to focus more on my new role.” I still cannot believe that she let me down. What made it worse was that she phoned me, rather than waiting and telling me face to face in our session scheduled for the Tuesday. She was a coward; she knew the promises she had made to me and she wasn’t respectful enough to tell me face to face.
It would appear that she has a complete disregard for her clients and their welfare. I was utterly distraught. She did offer to transfer me to a colleague, but I felt that wasn’t appropriate for me. As I mentioned in the antidepressants post, finding the right counsellor is key. To get the most from counselling, a relationship with the counsellor/ therapist is required. If I don’t like or trust the person it will not work.
Starting with a new counsellor
After her call, I was really upset, unable to sleep all night. My stomach knotted, I felt awful. I felt hurt, angry, frustrated, upset and alone. It felt like I had been abandoned when I needed her the most. However, I had no control, I didn’t get a say in any of it, it was all her decision. I felt like I had wasted both my time and money, I felt worse than before I started counselling.
The loss of my brother had put so much pressure on me, to fix my life, get out of my relationship and find some contentment if not happiness in my life. I knew I couldn’t get through it on my own. But how would I be able to start again with a new counsellor and how would I be able to trust they wouldn’t do the same to me.
I am lucky that a very close friend is a counsellor, she was there to support me, she found me a new counsellor. It’s so hard starting over with another counsellor, however the first one did me a favour, because I now have an amazing human helping me.
A counsellor, that I can only hope will stay with me until I achieve my goals. We have spent a lot of time discussing how I feel about my previous counsellor, to be honest I would prefer to forget about her. What bothers me, is the fact she is free to continue to behave in such an unprofessional manner. I cannot bear the thought of other people going through the same. Most people who require the assistance of a counsellor, are already feeling vulnerable. No counsellor should be in the job, if they cannot grasp how abandoning their clients is not beneficial to them.