Christine Peters Counsellor and Play Therapist in Surrey

We all lead busy lives; juggling work commitments and family life can be difficult but we can cope. Then something unexpected happens such as divorce, bereavement, redundancy or illness and daily life suddenly becomes a struggle. We notice that we have become more irritable and less patient than usual with children and partners. We might recognise that we are withdrawn at work but become angry when we drive home; we might become forgetful, unable to make decisions and lack motivation; we might start to drink more in attempt to shake off feelings of deep sadness; we might have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much andlack energy. We notice that we worry continually and have to go through certain rituals before we leave the house - checking plugs, handwashing and obsessive cleaning.

Alternatively, maybe we are living life to the full, but it feels as though there is 'something missing' that we cannot explain. We might have close family and friends but still feel misunderstood, un-heard, lonely and isolated.

Maybe we have reached a cross-roads in our lives when we are wondering what is it all about, and what the future holds.

For all of these situations counselling is not a cure all, and counselling won't take the pain away, but it can be helpful. A counsellor can support us to explore and unravel different experiences. By enabling us to reflect counselling will aim to give some clarity to feelings and emotions so that we can understand ourselves.

For some people there can be a stigma about coming to talk to someone about their feelings. Try not to worry, a counsellor will not judge you.

Perhaps you would like to come for a consultation but are worried about what you are expected to say. There is no right and wrong, sessions are for you to discuss whatever you like.

If you prefer not to talk, you can draw, paint or listen to music. The sessions are confidential to you. Ethical exceptions: clinical supervison: case details are anonomised: if you disclose that you are committing physical/sexual abuse to a child or vulnerable adult or if you intend to commit serious self-harm. In these instances the appropriate agency will be informed.

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