So you’re interested in learning about or improving your own wellbeing but you’re still not entirely sure what actually happens in them. I’ve had a few people ask me about how I structure my session or what I do with the people I work with, so I thought I would put something together so you know exactly what to expect when you book a wellbeing session.
Why is wellbeing important, even if you’re not unwell?
Before we get into the nitty gritty, the first thing you should know is: you don’t need to be experiencing a mental health issue to start looking after your wellbeing.
Most people are reactive to their mental health rather than proactive, meaning they wait until there is an issue before taking notice of it. This illness-orientated approach has been long-standing but there is a shift happening towards a wellness-orientated focus that uses the promotion of health and wellbeing. Dr Antonis Kousoulis writes in his article on Prevention in mental health that our healthcare systems would be unable to provide the millions of people who experience distress each week with the professional help they need. Part of this wellness first focus is to encourage people to take care of their mental health in the same way they do their physical. Just as you should eat well and exercise to maintain a healthy body, there are many things that you can do to keep yourself in a state of good wellbeing. This can go a long way in helping to reduce the chances of experiencing a stand alone episode of being mentally unwell. Alternatively, if you do become mentally unwell or live with a long term mental health condition, being aware of what helps or hinders your wellbeing can build your resilience and mental strength. This means you can either manage symptoms more effectively or have a foundation of engrained strategies to support your recovery.
If you’re wondering if there is a difference between mental health and wellbeing, or just want to know a little bit more about wellbeing, head over to the article What is wellbeing
Who am I?
You can find out most things about me on The Wandering Mind, however in a nutshell, I’m a registered mental health nurse who is passionate about making mental health and wellbeing support accessible. Some of this is through writing content , creating resources or working 1:1 with people to improve their wellbeing.
It’s important to note that I am not a therapist. As much as I will draw on my professional experience as a mental health nurse and we might draw from similar theories or principles that therapists do, I am not a qualified therapist or counsellor.
What happens in the session?
For everyone who signs up for wellbeing sessions, the first session is always an assessment. This allows for 2 things; it gives me a great insight into what makes you, you and secondly it allows us to make sure we’re both in a good place to work with each other. There are times where I may suggest that actually you would be best linking in with a different kind of support before focussing on your wellbeing. For example: if you’re heavily using drugs or alcohol, if you’re experiencing severe mental health symptoms or if I feel that your support needs are outside of my professional spectrum.
During the assessment, we’ll talk about what your aims are for our sessions. This will influence how often we see each other and what we do. The Wandering Mind Wellbeing Session is underpinned by CBT principles which at its core is a collaborative relationship. This means we’ll work together to meet your goals, if you’re expecting me to have all the answers I’m afraid fortune cookies might be a better bet.
I can’t tell you exactly what these aims will be, as we are all perfectly different. However, some common goals people want to work towards are; exploring negative thoughts or behaviours and finding more positive/helpful ones, achieving personal goals, finding ways to improve mood, learning about their own wellbeing and what makes them tick (or not). In some cases, people just want a safe place to off load and talk through what might be bringing them down.
I offer both face to face and remote sessions. Remote sessions are open to anyone anywhere in the world and I can usually be flexible on what days and time the sessions are booked. Face to face are dependent on location, I am based in Cornwall and so limit these bookings to North Cornwall and South Devon. Both remote and face to face sessions will follow a similar core structure which will include:
- Catching up on what’s happened since the last session
- Talking through the set objectives from last session
- A main discussion
- Setting next objectives
The Wandering Mind has a big emphasis on the connection between movement and the mind, for those who wish to meet face to face there is an additional option for sessions to be in the great outdoors; walking, biking, open water dipping, sitting on the beach – as long as you feel comfortable to talk the world is your oyster.
You may have noticed the mention of the word objectives. Yes, you will be set homework to carry out in between sessions, but remember this is a team effort so nothing will be set that you’re not on board with. The purpose of these objectives are to encourage you to practice, reflect or complete an action that will get you closer to your goal. It also helps to reduce the feeling that the sessions are stand alone, objectives create a natural flow from one session to another.
The great thing about the wellbeing sessions is they are super flexible to be what you need them to be. Essentially, how often we see each other and for how long will depend on you, your goals and how much you’re wanting to spend. I recommend a minimum of 3 sessions for anyone as this allows us to complete the assessment, set a goal and at least start working on it.
Before we start anything we’ll chat about how many sessions you want to book and the frequency that we’ll catch up, some people prefer bi-weekly, monthly or some like to touch base every week. What’s important is that it works for you.
Hopefully now you have a better idea of what happens during a wellbeing session. However if you have any further questions or if you’d like to book a call to discuss signing up then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org