Counselling for disability

Photo by Son of Groucho: http://flic.kr/p/59GgxP

Photo by Son of Groucho: http://flic.kr/p/59GgxP

Becoming disabled can mean facing up to big changes in how we feel about ourselves, what our lives are all about, our relationships with other people, and with our bodies and sexuality.

You may have questions such as:

  • Why has this happened to me?
  • Am I still the same person I used to be?
  • How can I get over not being able to do the things I could do before?
  • How can I deal with the loss of my independence?
  • Will anyone want a sexual relationship with me now that I’m disabled?
  • How can I find happiness again?
  • What can I do with my life now that this has happened?

When you become disabled, you may find that your body – or a part of your body – no longer does (and perhaps no longer looks) the same as it once did. You may have to learn how to be comfortable with yourself again and to be able to say with confidence – “This is me”.

‘Other people see me differently…’

On top of that, you might encounter responses from other people, including those closest to you, which can be hurtful or difficult to deal with: people may assume that you’ll never live independently, go to work, fall in love and have a family; you might feel that they treat you differently simply because of your disability. And you may be thinking those things about yourself too.

How can counselling help?

We can’t change what other people think, but we can change our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs about ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in. We can’t always cure physical ill-health or disability, but we can change the way we think and feel about our physical difficulties or limitations.

By changing how we think and feel about ourselves, we project a more confident self to others and that can change the way people behave towards us in return.

My approach to counselling for disabled clients tells me that it’s only by acknowledging the past – if necessary by mourning what we’ve lost and by identifying what we can bring with us from ‘before’ – skills, personal resources, interests, talents etc – that we can move forward into a more positive future.

Photo by RambergMediaImages: http://flic.kr/p/86P7Yw

If a member of your family is disabled…

Disability has an impact on the disabled person’s family as well as the individual themselves. You may feel that you can’t share how you feel with your family member – that it wouldn’t be fair to them, that their problems are far worse than yours, that you blame yourself for the situation and can’t express the feelings of guilt or distress.

You may be feeling isolated, lonely, overwhelmed, angry, grief-stricken for the loss of a ‘normal life’, anxious about the future, confused about where to turn for help.

All of these feelings are very normal, but knowing that doesn’t necessarily make them any easier to deal with. Talking about these feelings with someone who won’t judge you for them, who will help you to express and process them, can be enormously helpful.

Why choose me as your counsellor?

Many years ago, I went through the process of becoming disabled and learning to adapt to new ways of living my life. I know what the process is like ‘from the inside’. My partner also had a family member with a disability, and so I understand the pressures and anxieties that family members may also be feeling.

My training as an integrative therapist has given me tools to help you work through those feelings, whether you’re disabled yourself or you have a family member who is disabled.

Please contact me today if you would like to book a no-obligation initial assessment session. You can email me or phone my mobile – 07881 623 081.

My counselling room is wheechair-accessible (including the toilet facilities) and there’s adjacent on-street parking.

You can live a full and fulfilling life after becoming disabled; talking it through with someone who understands the process ‘from the inside’ can give you the help and support you need to make a difference in your life.

 

Resources

I run a series of workshops for disabled people who feel they’d like to brush up on skills such as assertiveness, building self-confidence and self-esteem, goal-planning and time management. If you’d like to reserve a place on the next workshop (date to be announced), please email me. You can find more information on the ‘Ability Plus’ page.