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When life is really hard, and you’ve got a lot bottled up inside, and you hurt, it can be really difficult to keep going. It might seem as though no-one cares, takes any notice, listens to you or has time for you. But that’s why we are here: to offer you the support and space to work through what you’re feeling – within a safe, confidential and caring environment. Read on to see how we could help you.

shutterstock_268755803If you’ve had an unwanted sexual experience, you might have feelings of sadness, depression, anger, worry or anxiety, or a mixture of them all. You might not know how you feel, or not be able to put words to it. It might feel as if you have a volcano inside that wants to burst out. It’s hard to keep the lid on, but then when the lid pops off and it all explodes it’s hard as well. Or the tears keep coming, and won’t stop. Or maybe the tears won’t come, and there’s no release. Life might be scary, with no-one to trust or who believes you, or, just as importantly, believes in you. You might have been told you’re to blame, and that you’re bad. The shame, even self-hatred, can be hard to live with. It might feel as if life isn’t worth living…

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone. Someone outside your family, who you have never met before and whom you will never meet again. Someone to whom it doesn’t matter what you say. Someone who won’t go telling others about you. Someone who won’t get upset or angry about what you tell them. Someone who will listen, take what you say seriously, try to understand you, and try to help you understand yourself so that you can make sense of what’s going on for you. Someone who won’t judge you. Someone who won’t tell you what to do, but, through listening to you, will help you work it out for yourself. Someone who won’t be shocked, or tell you to pull yourself together, or look on the bright side. Someone who will do their best to back you, because there is a reason you feel how you feel.

“I feel I have been able to calm myself down and realize that it was not my fault. I have been able to say things how they feel inside without upsetting anyone.”

girl aged 10

At Lifecentre, counsellors are trained to listen to you. We have no agenda but to sit with you in the mud, that painful place. There are lots of ways you could choose to use the counselling: talking, drawing, writing. Sometimes seeing how something is helps us understand it. Sometimes doing something helps. Sometimes the counsellor might explain a bit about how the brain works, which might throw light on stuff like anxiety or flashbacks.

Whatever the feelings, and however strong they seem to be, when we release them we often find that they haven’t got so much power. And that is massive. Often we find that as we start to take control, the feelings lose a bit of their intensity. And when we have got our feelings out, they’re not bottled up inside anymore. There’s a bit of distance, and we can look at our feelings, be curious about them, notice things about them, make sense of them. That gives you choice. Your counsellor will not make choices for you, or tell you what to do, but you might decide to make your own choices. It’s all about empowering you to discover your own way out and make your own decisions. Maybe even to make some changes.

“Very professional but at the same time on a wavelength with who I am. Fair play!”

male client aged 17

When you first come to Lifecentre, you will meet your counsellor and talk about how counselling might help you. If you decide that you would like to carry on seeing your counsellor, you and the counsellor could meet for up to 18 sessions. But you might decide to have three initially, or six. It’s up to you. Sessions can be one hour long, but if that feels too long then you can stop when you like. You’re in control.

Click here to learn about your rights as a young person receiving counselling

Lifecentre provides services free of charge. Our U18s clients are welcome to make a contribution towards their counselling should they wish to, but there is no requirement to do this.

If you’d like to find out more about how we could help you, or if you’d like to come and meet with one of our counsellors, please contact us. We are here for you.

We recognise that reaching out for help takes courage and can be very daunting. You may like to read the following cartoon, which explores what it might be like coming to your first counselling session