Have you resorted to counselling?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by seasong, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. seasong

    seasong Registered User

    Apr 13, 2014
    South East England
    Hello All,

    I was wondering if during this awful dementia chapter in our lives we are all unwillingly experiencing...if any of you has resorted to counselling for support. If so, what are your experiences?

    I have had a few sessions myself and my take is very mixed. On one hand, I felt comforted to speak to someone who understood...On the other though (and this is the hard part), I felt so alone and let down when I texted once the counsellor to say that I was distraught because my mother could not recognise me for the first time...and I got absolutely no response. Well, for me that was a terrible day that I will never forget...and the lack of compassion I was faced with, the absolute silence froze me. I know these people are supposed to stay detached, but how can you keep talking and sharing your innermost feelings with someone so cold and distant, someone who does not "know" you outside the working environment? Was I expecting too much in this circumstance?

    Your thoughts and opinions would be such a great comfort to me.

    Many thanks, and warmest wishes.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Pour it all out

    I havent had counselling but during a bad period earlier this year when dealing with husband with AD, SIL who is handicapped and my own sister very ill in hospital I had a melt down in front of several social workers. I really don't do crying but boy did I cry on those two occasions and they were very sympathetic and let me do it. It did lead to a little help.

    A week later I was asked to,participate in a university/ govt/ Alz Scotland research program and agreed. Two academics questioned me and I talked for about an hour almost non stop. It was like a dam bursting and a fair amount of tears too.

    I must have benefitted from that though because I haven't cried since and feel I am beginning to see a glimmer of light.

    If you can get a sympathetic ear - go for it. Very therapeutic.
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    We had a talk about counselling services yesterday at the Alzheimer's forum but I am not really the person to sit and talk to a professional. I rather come on here!
  4. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    Evening Seasong,
    I am a huge advocate of counselling. However, you have to find the right therapist. If your at the mercy of the NHS you get what your given. There are some really great counsellors and some not so great. The British association of counselling could assist you in terms of the type of counselling you need (there are many types).
    Boundaries are very important so generally you would have 50 min session perhaps weekly. A counsellor is not on tap via text in my experience.
    If you want tips on how to deal with the symptoms of dementia you will find a carers course via the alzhimers society helpful.
    I hope this helps
  5. 1966

    1966 Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    I haven't but I have been half considering it just for someone to talk to. friends soon disappear in this situation and no matter how well intentioned they are they probably just don't know what to say. I signed up on here to see how other people manage, what I have learned is that everyone seems to be in the same boat.
  6. dede5177

    dede5177 Registered User

    Feb 5, 2015
    Hi I have not had counselling for this but for grief in the past and what happened to you was rude and un-professional I am so sorry you were treated that way I now prefer to speak to others with a similar experience here or I have found other carers in my local community.
  7. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    After a period of utter despair, dealing with my father's AD and mother's poor physical health, I went for counselling (reluctantly). It was a revelation! My counsellor is fantastic and always seems to know the right thing to say. Being able to unburden myself without feeling guilty at the impact on my OH was such a tremendous relief.
    It does depend on luck to some extent (I picked my counsellor from a website) but it really did help enormously.
    I'm still in the situation I'm in but now I have the tools and techniques to help me to cope with it all much better.
    We all need a crutch, whether that is friends & family, a counsellor or a glass of wine (or any combination of the above) in dealing with the horror that is AD.
    For the record, my counsellor does Skype counselling so if anyone would like her details, please send me a private message.
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Ive had counseling and found it very helpful, but as has been mentioned its important to find the right person. The first councilor I had we didnt really "click" and I found it quite hard, but after I got different person it was so much better.
  9. Summerheather

    Summerheather Registered User

    Feb 22, 2015
    I would probably go for counselling once I can stop crying if I go into it too much. At the moment if someone in work asks how it is, I tend to just mention it quickly and brush it aside otherwise it has me in floods of tears. Stupid cruel AD.
  10. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    My GP referred me for counselling, there was a mix up & I waited ages. Then I got an appointment & it was actually an assessment (had done one over the phone so I thought that was it) Anyway, I am not going to get counselling at the moment (prob a waiting list!) but she has sent me on a cbt sleep course. Just been to the third session tonight, there are 6 in total. Very good actually if not a little brutal at first!
    She has also sent me for bereavement counselling as I have outstanding issues surrounding my Mums death. Will have to wait a few more weeks for that.
  11. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I won't knock counselling I've never tried it and all I know it does help people but as Beate says not for me. They're professional being paid to listen to you, it's their job, but I do think it's a bit unprofessional to not even reply to Seasong if they give you a number and invite you to text then they should be professional enough to reply.
    I don't think I could pour my heart out to a stranger being paid to listen to me and when I left the next person came in and they did it all over again and "pretended" (bad word but I can't think of a better one) to care about them too, I think they've probably got a high level of professional detachment.
    I thought about comparing it to paying for sex but it seems a bit harsh, it's a transaction with a professional who's doing it for the money, don't read to much into the relationship side of it it's done on an hourly rate and you're a client.
    I know they give a service that helps may people, but not for me.
  12. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013
    Counselling is one of those things that we stigmatise as a cure when we stress out.

    I am a believer in talking (too much according to my husband)..and i am honest and say what i want to say!

    I arranged a counselling session for my mother..and she has s family tradition tattood on her head..its good to talk!
    But as my dad deteriorates she says less and less to anyone...
    The counselling halted after 2..as she felt it wasnt alzheimers specific..in the sense that she didnt feel they understood and needed them too..and that as she shuts down more shes actually in denial that she needs it..
    Theres coping and facing things as they arise...and coping because you arent reacting to whats happening to you and loved ones..the latter puts a lot of pressure on yourself.
    I suppose counselling has major benefits ..but what would benefit us more is having realistic and instant support when its needed...and quite frankly more understanding of dementia..which is why everyone should have a dementia friends session..and carers and helpers do the crisp session..its like therapy knowledge information.friendship reality and respect all rolled into a session...
    Best wishes..

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Talking Point mobile app
  13. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    #13 Angela T, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
    I have had counselling, and it has helped me hugely - to deal with my mother and the Alzheimer's.

    Counselling is not for everyone, and you have the find the right person - but if you feel you need the support that only a professional can give (in my opinion), it makes a huge difference.

    I have not heard of counsellors being on tap via text either - they usually set clear boundaries, it is not the same as with friends.

    As soon as my mother was dianosed with Alzheimer's, I knew I needed help to get through it - we have always had a difficult relationship (non-existant really), so it was very difficult for me to step into the caring role for her - but I had no choice, there is no-one else to do it.

    I think we need all the help we can get, professional or not...
  14. Kazza72

    Kazza72 Registered User

    Feb 10, 2015
    West London
    I'm the same summerheather, I cry daily, often several times a day. I find this forum and all the people on it a good source of comfort though...very upset today, postman has been and yet another year and no card for my mum from my loser brother...words cannot describe how much I hate him now. Heartless ******* :( anyhow, on the upside one day I will haven life back and be at peace...him, his wife or his feral kids won't!

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  15. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    You make counselling sound so wrong saying "have you resorted to" it.

    I had counselling from the Carers Trust when mum and dad were both ill and mum was being very nasty to dad saying things like "I hope you hurry up and die". Without those few sessions I don't know how I would ever have accepted mum's behaviour and been able to assume some kind of caring role.

    I had a couple of sessions with Cruse after dad died - again I struggled with my feelings towards mum when she said "I never loved him" and then called for him tearfully for months.

    I am now receiving counselling for other issues. CBT. I had a few phone sessions and managed to get face-to-face counselling which started two weeks ago. Already we have touched upon a couple of big things that I hope to be able to work through. This counsellor has been the best so far. I find the sessions very draining so I'm obviously bringing up stuff I've long tried to ignore.

    I strongly believe in counselling. But you need to get the right person, someone who you can work with. I'm sure there are good reasons (regarding boundaries) why that counsellor did not respond to your text but perhaps she should have explained better that the text was only to be used for delays/cancellations etc.
  16. Lisa74

    Lisa74 Registered User

    May 27, 2011
    Yep and lots of it!

    I have had helpful counsellors and unhelpful consellors- having had to cope with other issues alongside my (live-in) Granny's dementia from my teens. It can really help to have someone outside of the situation who can present a clearer view of what is going on, highlight your reaction to the situation and suggest strategies for managing the situation better.
  17. Summerheather

    Summerheather Registered User

    Feb 22, 2015
    I thought my brother was rubbish, he comes about once every 6 weeks with his rubbish feral kids for about 46 minutes, and all he goes on about is his health - seriously, like it even compares to what we have to endure.
  18. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    My GP recommended I tried counselling but the only thing on offer free was CBT. I went to two sessions and then the counsellor told me that CBT was not suitable for me and my GP recommended a private service for which I get at their cheapest rate.
    My counsellor has made a big difference. It is very helpful to talk to someone who stands apart from the family members so you can honestly admit to how you feel. I have to admit I did not think it would be of any use in the first place but I find an hour every two or three weeks allows me to reflect on difficult issues. I would give it a try and if it does not work for you then give it up. My main reason for trying was that my GP was wanting me to take medication for depression/ anxiety and I really did not want to do that.

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