Abby’s Story

“I referred myself to YMCA because I had received counselling at university and felt I needed to continue that support at home. Through my school years I was bullied and, starting at the age of 15, began to suffer from depression and anxiety. I had received support such as CBT from other agencies the type of therapy was not suited for me. Therefore, YMCA was perfect for me. My counsellor understood my dislike for CBT and so introduced me to other therapies, such as mindfulness. The sessions were held at my local library on a Thursday evening, so were close-by and didn’t affect my studies. The room became a safe space for me to openly discuss my feelings and how I felt the past week had gone. My counsellor was attentive and always informed me that I had a right to feel how I was feeling, we would then analyse that feeling and this helped me realise why I felt bad about things and what I could then do to counteract that. I was always offered ‘homework’ which included sheets that helped me write out how my day went or any feelings that were apparent, but this was never compulsory and my counsellor always checked that I was willing to do this. If I did not get around to completing the ‘homework’ I was never shamed or told off but asked why, this meant if I felt it wouldn’t work I could say that and my counsellor would then present me with other things that might work. There are originally 6 sessions of support but I was always informed that if I needed more time or wanted to re-refer myself later down the line I could, it made me feel that I wasn’t just ‘part of the system’ and could ask for help without being a burden. Throughout the counselling I felt supported and that my counsellor really cared about how I was doing. I have left counselling with many resources that I can use if I need them and knowing that people do care and do want to help”.