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Wellbeing and Mental Health in Football

Football can be a very lonely place with pressure to perform from within the club, the media, fans and family and friends. We are hearing of more and more footballers suffering with feelings of depression, anxiety, panic and thoughts of suicide.

Benefits of Counselling

People usually listen to us with the intention of answering and putting their opinion forward. In counselling, we listen with the intention of understanding and seeing the world through your window. Counselling can ensure that you feel heard, give you a space to think and talk about your emotional issues. It’s a place where you can completely be yourself without being judged. Counselling can help you find the source of your problems and the courage and strength to face them. Counselling is about having somebody there, walking beside you on your journey.

What is Person Centred Therapy

Person centred therapy is a talking therapy. It’s not about giving advice but rather about giving you a safe place to explore your feelings and bring about autonomy. The therapy uses three core conditions, empathy-to view the world through the clients eyes, congruence-to be completely honest with the client and Unconditional positive regard-to be completely accepting of the client. This approach has both client and counsellor as equal partners in the therapeutic relationship. The Counsellor is not the expert on how the client feels . The client has all the answers inside of them and is responsible for their own experiences. The Counsellor is there to listen and enable the client to bring about change that is right for them. The organismic self of a person is overridden by the self concept with our true needs being ignored and pushed away. Think about the organismic self of a baby crying to have it’s needs met. If the mother doesn’t attend to the baby’s needs, then it’s self concept takes over as it starts to believe that crying is wrong and it is a bad person for wanting it’s needs met. This goes on all through our lives and the self concept eventually gains control and our organismic self is pushed further into the background until it isn’t heard at all. Person centred therapy is about listening to the organismic self and giving it back that control.

Crying is not a sign of weakness

Many people see crying as a sign of weakness and men in particular (although not exclusively) are brought up with the stigma of big boys don’t cry and men shouldn’t show their emotions. Much of this again goes back to parenting and the generations of beliefs that have been passed down to us and how society itself tries to avoid emotions and places men and women in certain boxes. As a child, if you fell and hurt your knee, you may think crying is weak if you were told to not be a baby and be a big boy/girl, brush it off. This may also have the effect of teaching you that your feelings and your pain are not important, so you should just push it all away and get on with things. Some may even have been punished for showing emotion. “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry for!”. Crying is not a sign of weakness, it just shows we have emotion. It alerts us that something is wrong and needs addressing, like a survival mechanism, a warning. It’s also the release of anxiety and stress hormones. Crying is beneficial and it’s a normal part of being a human being. People who are able to express their emotions and have a good cry are reported as having better psychological outcomes than those who suppress it. Many men (again not exclusively) are brought up to believe that the only emotion that is acceptable is anger. This restriction of their emotional range can have a very negative effect on their psychological well being and can lead to depression, anxiety related disorders and addiction. So, if you feel the need to cry, go ahead and cry. You’re a human being with emotions and it’s ok to express them

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