After reading February's Therapy Today I reflected on the article entitled "Time to Flex" by Sally Brown. This article discussed how we work within a time frame and the impact this may have on therapeutic outcomes. It suggested from previous research that outcomes aren't affected whether your session is 30 minutes, 90 minutes or anywhere in between. I feel on reflection that flexibility is key to providing an accessible service.
I considered the barriers to accessing Therapeutic services for those living with a disability or illness. Those barriers aren't simply about cost, and physical accessibility but sometimes and most importantly, time and energy. Managing a disability or long-term health condition can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting at times. Any task can come at a cost and counselling may be lower on your priorities if you simply don't have the 'spoons'. Sometimes it may feel impossible to meet all your needs. Factoring in yet another appointment may feel overwhelming or sometimes impossible. It doesn't mean you don't want support for your mental health it may just feel unattainable. Equally, as a disability-led service, our counsellors are also managing their health and are often are unable to work full-time.
Looking at this issue holistically I want to provide opportunities for both the clients and counsellors in this service. A service which can meet the need of the counsellor and client making everyone feel valued. I want to announce the introduction of 30-minute sessions within our service. I hope this promotes inclusion and accessibility and this helps support our community as a collective. It may make counselling more accessible to you from a cost, access and time perspective. I hope that this adjustment to our service will support more individuals who see counselling as out of reach. And to my colleagues who manage their own disabilities and illnesses, I hope this provides further opportunities to offer flexibility in managing your work lives. I think we all need flexibility to navigate our lives. I always say you need to be a logistics expert to live with disabilities and illnesses. So, let's navigate this together.
Written by Helen Rutherford MBACP Accred