- Social Workers
- Community Psychiatric Nurses
One question you may be asking is – should I get individual counselling/therapy? A good counsellor or therapist can be a great help on your journey. Some Survivors have found them a lifeline. Others manage OK without them. Whatever your view, remember that they are just people and so need to show you the qualities of a supportive person mentioned previously. In addition you may want to check out the following :
- Has the counsellor ever worked with survivors of sexual abuse?
- Have they worked with men abused as boys?
- What training have they had?
- Who are they accountable to? E.g. a supervisor or professional body.
This may help you decide whether you think the counsellor is competent and has knowledge of the issues. In terms of dealing with a crisis you may want to ask :
- Do you do emergency sessions?
- Can you be contacted at home in a crisis?
This will give you some idea about what level of support you can expect from them.
You may or not be able to afford counselling/therapy. Privately, it doesn’t come cheap. Two options to consider here are :
- Seeing if your G.P. is prepared to fund a counsellor. Family Doctors often control budgets and can decide what to spend money on; or they may have a counsellor attached to the surgery.
- Try to negotiate a reduced fee with a private therapist. They often operate a sliding scale for people on reduced income.
When choosing a counsellor it is important to make sure you feel safe and secure, and the counsellor/therapist is properly qualified to a recognised standard and DBS checked. Always choose carefully and be prepared to shop around until you’re satisfied. At First Step all of our counsellors are DBS checked and have or are working towards recognised qualifications. Our counsellors are monitored on a regular basis to ensure they are working ethically and to our high standards.
If you decide that you need some individual counselling to get you through the crisis try not to see it as a sign of weakness or failure. Men sometimes tell themselves this. It’s really the opposite – a sign of courage and strength to face up to painful issues and tackle them head on.
Other professional helpers such as social workers, G.P’s, Community Nurses and Psychiatrists are usually in some way tied up with the mental health system. Again, if they are to be helpful in a crisis they need to show the qualities of a supportive person. They’re sometimes able to give practical support in a crisis, such as :
- G.P’s can prescribe medication. This isn’t the answer to dealing with abuse but in a crisis it can provide some short term relief.
- Social workers often have knowledge about what resources might be available to help in the community.
- Community Psychiatric Nurses sometimes have useful skills in areas like anxiety management and relaxation.
- Psychiatrists tend to be very powerful and control access to a lot of resources.