Counselling is a safe place to come in and talk to someone about your alcohol use and possibly any underlying issues that may be a reason for drinking. The sessions give you the opportunity to talk to a trained practitioner and explore various aspects of life and feelings. Counselling provides a place to talk about them freely and confidentially in a more structured environment that would not be possible to do with friends or family. Exploring feelings that you may be bottling up such as anger, anxiety, grief and possibly embarrassment may become quite intense and perhaps through counselling you may begin to understand them better and thus manage them in a more positive way. The counsellor will encourage you to learn how to identify triggers for drinking and learn to put in place more positive coping mechanisms. We will explore what your goals are and support you to achieve these. This may be to either reduce your drinking or become abstinent, but it’s your choice.
At TCA we understand that life can be busy and chaotic and we endeavour to be as flexible as possible to meet your needs.
Counselling is by appointment throughout the week and also on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening until 9pm. It may be possible to arrange an appointment at a more convenient location than the TCA offices or even on a Saturday morning.
There’s no charge for our counselling service. As a voluntary organisation we offer this service free. If you are able to make a donation to TCA you can do this through our donating page or by speaking to a member of staff.
To arrange for counselling please phone any of the numbers and you will be asked for some details and an appointment will be sent out to you within a few days.
Jason (not his real name) is 22 years old. He left school at 16 and had various jobs, the last one being as an apprentice with a building company. However, he had been made redundant and was trying hard to find something else to do. He had recently been diagnosed with having bi-polar disorder and he felt that this was a relief as it helped him to understand the reasons behind his unpredictable behaviour. As is usual with bi-polar Jason would have spells when he was very active and hyped up and other spells when he suffered from depression. Since his recent diagnosis he is under the care of a psychiatrist who is trying to help Jason control his symptoms with medication. It was the psychiatrist who suggested that he should do something about his alcohol intake.
The counselling process
Jason spoke about his binge drinking which had been going on for about 5 years and which he felt was a way of coping with how he was feeling about himself and his life. He is the middle brother of 3 and lives with his father and younger brother. His mother left the family, to be with another man, when he was 5 years old and this man had been physically abusive to Jason and his younger brother. He now has no contact at all with his mother and he describes her as being someone who has no maternal feelings at all and he has no feelings of affection for her. His school days were not happy as he felt that he was considered by his teachers as being a trouble maker and he experienced some bullying from his peers as he had difficulty fitting in. On reflection he can see that he was experiencing symptoms of being bi-polar but at the time he did not understand what was going on for him. Jason said that he feels he also has a bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder) as he likes things to be in order. He disclosed that he had taken cocaine in the past but managed to get himself off it and has not had any for the past year. Jason feels that having managed to deal with his drug dependency he can deal with his alcohol issue.
During the assessment meeting Jason said that his goal was to be a social drinker. We looked at ways in which he felt he could cut down and during the next few weeks he set himself the task of drinking only at the weekends and being careful not to overdo it. One of the best strategies for cutting down on alcohol is to keep oneself occupied and so Jason decided to join a gym and get some regular exercise. Physical exercise has the benefit of releasing “feel good” chemicals into the bloodstream. After a few weeks Jason started a course at college so this also helped to keep him busy.
I worked with Jason over a period of 5 months and during that time he reported that his medication for bi-polar was being effective and he felt that he was gaining more control over his life. He also felt that talking about his childhood helped to come to terms with the past and enabled him to focus on the future. He had a few relapses with his drinking when he was out with friends and found it difficult to stop after a few drinks so he gradually came to the conclusion that he needed to stop drinking altogether, at least in the meantime. The last time I saw him he reported that he felt much better about himself as he was attending college, had a part time job and was doing regular exercise. After the last session Jason decided that he felt he was no longer in need of counselling and he sent a text with the following message: “Thanks very much for all your help. Coping much better and I found the service you provide really helpful”
Mr P was referred to our agency by Criminal Justice Service following an offence that was committed whilst under the influence of alcohol. He has since been charged with Drink Driving and Assault. When Mr P attended for his initial appointment it became very apparent that he was in considerable pain. He described to me a pattern of binge drinking 4-5 days per week and he was very concerned that the stomach pain he was experiencing was linked to his alcohol misuse. He also informed me that due to his crime he had also lost his job and felt that he had lost all purpose to life. At this point he had managed to refrain from drinking over the last 3 days and his goal was to work towards reducing his alcohol to a safer/sensible level. We discussed a plan of action that would allow him to work towards this goal and I also encouraged him to make an appointment with his GP regarding his health concerns. A range of educational material was also provided and discussed with him.
We began to work together on a weekly basis and established a good working relationship whereby Mr P became very open and honest about how his alcohol misuse was impacting on his life as well as the underlying reasons as to why he drank. Through exploration of this his motivation levels to make positive changes in his life increased and within approximately 2 months he had achieved his initial goal of reducing his alcohol use. As a result he felt that his physical health had improved greatly as well as his mood being much more positive. He also told me that although his relationship seemed fine he now realises that his alcohol use was also affecting his partner. They are better at communicating with one another and are doing a lot more together as a couple.
He was still concerned about his future prospects of employment due to the fact he now had a criminal record. With his agreement I referred him on to another service in the area that were able to assist him with preparing a CV and also advise him of how to deal with the topic of his criminal record in interviews. They were also able to organise a course for him that would give him a qualification to work in the building trade. Although he presently remains unemployed he says that he feels much more confident about applying for jobs and says that without attending TCA he wouldn’t have been aware of all the support available to him. When reviewing the case he stated that “having someone to discuss my issues with allowed me to regain direction in my life”.
Women’s Group I don’t think I would have been
able to make the changes in my life without the
support I received...”
when phoning for some support...”
explore the positive changes I have managed