Image by Marie Vonow
Sometimes you feel the need to talk about a matter that is on your mind. Who you choose to talk to will depend on the topic,the supports available and your personality. While some people are comfortable talking to just about anyone
about things that are on their mind, others are private and don't readily divulge. Who would you talk to?
One day I was on a bus when the woman next to me asked my advice about a family issue. I was surprised as I wouldn't have discussed this type of matter with a complete stranger. It just goes to show that we are all different.
I can see the advantage in her talking to someone who didn't know her family. I wasn't going to share the information with the other party involved as I didn't know that person. Other advantages were that I was right there so the woman didn't have to arrange a time to talk and wait. Unlike with some professional counsellors there was no fee.
Family or Friend
Often we choose to speak to a trusted family member or a friend. It is helpful to have someone we know well to talk to. We have an idea of who will understand and empathise with our situation. We usually know if the person is likely to keep the discussion confidential. Sharing matters of concern with those close to us strengthens the bonds of friendship especially when the other person also confides in us.
There are times when we just want to talk and are not looking for solutions or feedback. Perhaps we actually don't want
advice but just need to unload. Talking out loud can provide a release of anger, sadness or other strong emotion. Sometimes talking aloud can help you sort through a jumble of ideas and provide a way of working out your plan of action.
Try talking to your dog or cat. I am serious. You will not get unwanted advice and Fido/Fluffy will not repeat anything you say so you can be totally honest. Stroking your pet as you talk can be soothing and help you relax. This enables you to make better decisions.
If you have a health issue it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor or other health professional. He/she can provide you with information and arrange tests or a referral if necessary.
Your medical professional may refer you to a counsellor or psychologist if that seems advisable. Counsellors are available at various places and sometimes you do not need a medical referral. Some services involve a fee and others are free or subsidised. If your issue is complicated, a professional counsellor may be able to suggest strategies or provide therapy.
Some places offer counselling to help with specific issues such as gambling, substance abuse or financial difficulties.
Phone and Online Counselling
Counselling over the phone can be helpful, especially in isolated areas where there are few or no suitable face to face services. This form of counselling is also convenient for people who are unable to leave their house. Phone counselling services include trained Lifeline counsellors who are available 24/7 and the National Dementia Helpline.
There are some online counselling services. These may include call back services or web chat in real time. Again, this type of service can be helpful to people who are unable to access face to face counselling.
Sometimes volunteers are available to chat on the phone where a person needs to talk about day to day issues. These services can be useful for elderly people, individuals with a disability and those who are isolated. Some carer support groups provide this type of service.
There are groups to provide support to people with various health conditions and those who care for others. Groups are run either by the members themselves, a paid worker (perhaps one who has lived experience of the condition) or a professional such as a social worker. Each group will operate in the way deemed most suitable to provide support to the members. There is the opportunity for participants to talk to others who are going through similar experiences.
Communicating with others can be a source of comfort, joy or a way to have fun. Humans feel connected to others when they are involved in a good conversation. Talking to someone can be helpful when dealing with problems or experiencing loneliness. When good things are happening it feels uplifting to share those things with others.