A counsellor is a qualified listener who can help you think about your situation, look at your options, and find ways to cope. When you talk to a counsellor you will get the chance to explore your feelings, including your relationship with the person you care for. They can help you find your own solutions and make decisions about your life.
Anything you say to your counsellor is usually confidential (it only isn't if you say something that suggests you, or someone else, are at significant risk). Ask your counsellor to explain what the confidentiality guidelines are before you start counselling.
Face to face, phone and online counselling
When you have counselling you would usually meet someone face to face. If possible meet somewhere away from where you do most of your caring so that you can talk freely and don't get distracted.
If you struggle to get out you may want to consider phone or online counselling, this can include counselling over Skype. Find out more about online and telephone counselling on the Counselling Directory website.
Talk to your GP
It is a good idea to talk to your GP about how you are feeling, particularly if you are anxious, depressed, or stressed.
They will be able help you find the right sort of support. This may be counselling but it could be another sort of therapy or treatment.
They will know about what sort of counselling is available locally and may also be able to give you self-help leaflets and website links. Some practices even have counsellors based at their surgeries.
Counselling on the NHS
You may be able to get counselling for free on the NHS. It is normally made up of 6 to 12 sessions that will be about an hour long each. Talk to your GP to see if you qualify for free NHS counselling.
Counselling at local carer services
Some carers’ centres offer some sort of counselling. It may only be offered to certain carers; for example, if you care for someone with alcohol or drug problems.
Check with your local carer service to see what is available near you. Please be aware that counselling is very popular and there is often a waiting list.
There may be other organisations that offer carers counselling near where you live. Your GP will be able to help you find suitable local counselling. Here are a few examples:
- Carers Federation in Nottingham
- C4C Counselling for carers in South Devon.
- VOCAL counselling for carers in Edinburgh and Midlothian
Some local councils also offer counselling for carers. For example, carers in Rhondda Cynon Taf can get confidential telephone or face to face counselling.
Other therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
As well as counselling there are other therapies including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and group/family therapy. Find out more on NHS Choices - talking therapies explained. Your GP will be able to help you find the right sort of therapy for your situation.
Finding a private counsellor
You may want to find your own counsellor, and pay for sessions yourself. This can be very expensive but can be a quicker way to speak to someone. It is great if someone you know can recommend one to you, or you could ask your GP.
You can search online for counsellors near you on the Counselling Directory. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) may also be able to help.
Next update due: June 2017