Bipolar disorder counselling

Ask someone suffering from mania, depression or exhaustion what they think their problem is and you could get three different answers:

  • it’s the environment—stress from work or family life is creating problems for them;
  • it’s psychological—they’re prone to over-commit or under-achieve;
  • it’s biological—their brain is not functioning the way it can for others.

All three are possibly correct, and it takes a skilled clinician to determine which answer is most correct for you.

I’m not a diagnostician—for that you need to see a psychiatrist or a diagnosing psychologist. But once you’ve been to see one and had enough sessions that they feel confident diagnosing you, then you and I can begin the interesting work of unpacking what the diagnosis means for you and those who love you.

Or perhaps a loved one has been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and you want to know more about what you can expect of their behaviour and how you can help them achieve balance and some ‘normality’.

I know well the challenges and surprises that happen with bipolar disorder—I have a bipolar disorder myself.

The objectives of counselling for people with Bipolar Disorder

  • To help you make sense of your current or past episodes of illness
  • To discuss long-term planning, given your vulnerability to future episodes
  • To help you accept and adapt to a long-term medication regimen
  • To improve your functioning in school or the workplace
  • To deal with the social stigma of the disorder
  • To improve family or marital/romantic relationships

Common reactions to being told you have Bipolar Disorder

  • “The diagnosis is wrong, it’s just a way for other people to explain away my experiences” (rejecting the diagnosis);
  • “I’m just a moody person” (under-identification with the diagnosis: giving some credence to it but making few, if any, lifestyle adaptations;
  • “My illness is everything, and I have no control over my behaviour” (over-identification with the diagnosis: rethinking your life problems and beginning to blame all, or most of them, on the disorder, or unnecessarily limiting your aspirations because of the illness).

You may wish to read my post on the myths of Bipolar Disorder (and this post on Creativity and Bipolar Disorder).

Make a time to come and see me and we can talk through the issues that accompany Bipolar Disorder and how to best manage them. Call me on 0410 642 052 or use my contact form below. Let’s work together for a brighter future.


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