I've spent many years working as a social worker and one thing I have noticed is that people can take a long time to get help.
I spent a year visiting one mum with depression before she would think about seeing a counsellor, another took about the same amount of time to realise she needed help to leave her violent relationship.
People follow my Facebook page and two years later are ready to get help for their mental health.
There's one thing in common with all of these accounts and many others.
Some people can walk into their GP, tell them what's going on, show up to therapy and make changes needed.
But the vast majority are afraid.
"What if they ask me about my childhood?"
"What if it doesn't work and I fail at counselling too?"
"What if they don't like me?"
"What if they're like the school counsellor I saw 25 years ago?"
These are genuine concerns.
By working with a third party, like a family support worker, or following someone's Facebook page, you can build your trust that counselling will help.
Most therapists will ask you a bit about your childhood - that helps us to understand what makes you work - but if you want to talk about what's happening now, you can say so.
Most therapists will be client-centred (which means you're in charge of what happens in therapy); at least, the ones I know are.
But you also need to trust that the therapist knows things you don't - like the impact of early childhood on resilience, or that trauma usually doesn't happen on its own - so these questions may not make sense yet but they do have a reason.
We are also very different from each other.
Just this week I referred a client to a colleague because I know I'm not the best fit for them.
This doesn't mean you failed or I failed; it means that there are many types of counsellor and one will be right for you.
Don't be afraid to follow a therapist and ask questions, we are always willing to help you find what you need.
- Linda is an art therapist and social worker in private practice in the Southern Highlands, NSW and may be contacted for any mental health concerns at email@example.com or on 0438 400 446