This is a story from a young woman (Dani) who received counselling support from Stepping Stones over 18 months. This period included activity during the first lockdown up until November 2020.
At Stepping Stones we use the Clinical Outcome Routine Evaluation form (CORE10) from the first assessment appointment to the last counselling session. At assessment Dani’s CORE10 score was nineteen. This indicated that she had mild to moderate levels of distress. Her GP diagnosed and prescribed her with severe anxiety and beta-blockers respectively.
I had a strange journey with therapy; my first counsellor quit at the start of lockdown, and I found I didn’t gel with the second therapist. Through this I still felt very supported by Stepping Stones, which I realise must have been very difficult, and it is so appreciated!
Since finishing up therapy a few months ago I used the skills we discussed in therapy to address my day-to-day issues. Most helpful has been skills that help me take a step back, and think situations through. There still are some things I struggle with, but I feel I’ve made great progress in the past few months. I don’t think it’s something I could have done alone, or with self-help guidance.
I also really appreciated how human the counselling I received was. Little things like hearing their personal anecdotes and views of the scientific side of counselling. The general tone of conversations, made it feel like I could open up and have an actual conversation. In previous experiences I have felt like I was having a sheet read to me, which was not the case here.
Previously I was finding it really difficult coping with when things went wrong, especially considering the time I came into counselling. As a result of the work me and my therapist did I feel like I now have the skills and capacity to cope when things go wrong in life.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the second counsellor I spoke to. It’s tricky to articulate why, but I didn’t really feel like they were listening to me, and I was asked what felt like strange questions. I did consider dropping out of counselling, but a friend advised me to first ask to change counsellor if possible. I understand that this is most likely just because what works for one person won’t work for another.
When I mentioned this to Admin I felt taken seriously, and that we could work together to figure out a next plan. I really appreciated this, and helped me to get the support that best worked for me. On the whole my experience with Stepping Stones was incredibly positive. Thank you again!
At the final session, Dani completed a CORE10. The score had dropped fourteen points and she was now registering a score of five on the scale. The scores had fallen below the clinical cut off. What this meant in reality is that Dani had less anxiety, and better day-to-day functioning. She experienced improved personal relationships, greater personal insight and understanding and increased ability to cope when under stress.
Dani also commits to weekly volunteering sessions as a Shout Volunteer. Supporting others with mental health struggles has always been a goal of hers. She feels that the help received from Stepping Stones meant that she was able to get to a place as a volunteer.