Rachel Ann, 46 from South Gloucestershire
I answered the phone. "Hello Rachel, it’s Kinergy counselling here, I’m calling to offer you your counselling sessions."
"Oh that’s great news." I replied. But his next sentence made my heart sink.
"It's a gentleman counsellor." He said.
"Ummm... ok..." I replied, my anxiety growing by the second.
The man on the phone seemed to pick up on anxiety. "I understand your fear and trepidation but this gentleman is qualified and is used to hearing and talking about the things you are likely to say. You don’t have to say yes to him, but if you say no you will have to wait a bit longer for a female counsellor."
"Can I please think about it and let you know tomorrow?" I asked. He said that was fine.
That evening, I had so many thoughts racing through my mind. Could I really open up to this man about such a sensitive subject? Would I feel comfortable sat in a room on my own with a man? Would he listen and not judge? How would he feel being a man and knowing what happened to me? It would feel so uncomfortable and embarrassing.
After a while I began to calm down and started trying to rationally think about my anxieties. Firstly, of course I would be safe, this man was a qualified counsellor and had probably heard it all before. Besides, at the end of the day I needed help, help was being offered and I needed to take it. I was reassured that if after a couple of sessions if I wasn’t comfortable I could cancel and be put back on the waiting list.
I will be honest, the first few sessions were a little uncomfortable, but it’s so important to be honest when your talking. I often said things to him that I thought may be offensive but he was very understanding, compassionate and reassuring and caring. I’m so glad I took the chance on talking to a man, he helped me a lot and in a funny way he helped restore a little of my faith in men.
I would really encourage anyone to reach out and get the help you need. Whether you talk to the same or opposite sex counsellor. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, it’s hard talking about these things. I used to feel like a victim but I now KNOW I’m a SURVIVOR!