I took up the Employer Assistance Programme that my firm offers and after a short interview I was matched with a counsellor – Dave Cooper.
After session one I came away thinking that perhaps they hadn’t quite matched us right because this man was challenging the things that I was saying about myself and who knows me well enough or better than me to do that!? I was unsure going into session two and then half way through things started to click. Session one he had given me a couple of questions to think about and straight after the session I’d written my answers down, then just before session two I looked at them again and answered them differently. I wasn’t sure how, in such a short time I could have changed the answers but as the sessions went on it became apparent – what Dave was doing by challenging me was making me reflect and this was something I don’t usually do.
I took up telephone counselling sessions knowing that I could say whatever I wanted and didn’t need to feel awkward or embarrassed by being face to face with my counsellor. This really worked for me as my initial issue and the reason for having counselling was because I had an affair the previous year and going into the detail of this was not something I had done with anyone else. However once we got into the sessions I didn’t think this would have been a problem with Dave, he was completely non-judgemental and never once made me feel uncomfortable or that anything I had done was ‘wrong’.
My advice for anyone taking up this service would be to persevere if at first you don’t think this is for you. By the end of our 6 sessions I felt like everything had clicked into place. I really felt like Dave had understood where I was coming from and had very quickly (considering the fairly limited amount of time) managed to get the measure of me and my situation. Everyone is different but I don’t tend to confide in people so this in itself was a big deal for me.
Another piece of advice would be to take a pad and pen and scribble as and when things are said that strike a chord. Looking back on my brief notes week on week was in itself a sign that things were going in the right direction. I used a different colour each week so I could see when the notes were made and this was quite an eye opener in itself. By the 4th week my notes were far more reflective and my attitude towards my actions and how I was going to move forward in life was totally different.
When I went into the counselling it was because I was convinced that I had ruined my relationship and wanted help coming to terms with this or coming to terms with my actions. By week 6 I feel a whole new positive future awaits me. I spent a year almost hibernating from life because I was in such a mess, I missed lots of family events – although I was there in body I was never present in mind. And now I’m looking forward to life. I’m excited about doing things with my family, the things that we all take for granted like the shopping, gardening – tangible evidence that my relationship is not only back on track but better than it’s been for a very very long time. Counsellors say that it’s a two way relationship, both parties have to bring something for it to work and I really believe that if it weren’t for Dave I wouldn’t have been quite so committed and enthused by the process and therefore wouldn’t have taken such an active part – thereby wouldn’t not be in the happy position that I find myself now in. To say thank you doesn’t seem to cover it but thank you Dave, you really have helped me to turn my life around.