IN the past the solution to mental health conditions or traumas was to offer medication. It made the problem go away. But only temporarily.

Now there is an ambition to treat conditions for the long term getting away from quick fixes.

Part of this is through counselling which is now viewed as vital in aiding recovery.

Carol Potter is a cognitive behavioural therapist and integral counsellor.

She has always wanted to help others. She said: “I was a sensitive child, more interested in reading, drawing, painting and writing poetry than playing outdoors or sport.

“My interest in counselling was first seriously sparked when I was 18, and volunteered for five years as a Samaritan.

“I realised I wanted to be able to really understand and support people who were feeling anxious and depressed.”

Carol, 46, was a registered learning disability nurse for 26 years, but due to a spinal problem had to change direction.

In 2005, she took a diploma in integrative counselling and she completed the post graduate diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy.

She qualified as a CBT therapist in 2013 and practises part time from home and for Life- Force, a Colchester-based organisation offering support.

“Working as a therapist can be a little isolating at times,” she said. “When you are working with people who are often feeling suicidal or unwell, it can feel overwhelming.

“For this reason, I am aware it is important for me to ensure I keep my own mental health intact. “I enjoy walking in nature, spending time with friends, family and animals, and practice mindful meditation regularly to help with this.

“It is essential the therapist has access to robust supervision.”

She said often people feel their issues are too inconsequential to seek therapy.

“Some people have said it feels indulgent to access it. I say to them, if this £200 to £300 you spend on therapy makes a difference to you and changes the rest of your life, what greater gift could you give yourself ?

“It is common for clients to initially feel self conscious, especially if accessing therapy for the first time. However, this usually dissipates fairly quickly.”

She was concerned about the wait to be able to seek help via the NHS. Some of her clients have had to wait up to six months.

She said: “Regarding trauma, I have seen several clients who have been victims of rape or sexual abuse. “Clients often say it can take them several years before they feel able to address and process a trauma such as this.”

She joined the Life-Force centre, in East Hill, Colchester, about 12 years ago as a student when she needed a placement as a student counsellor.

Once she qualified, she was accepted on to the team.

She said: “The building has a calm and tranquil energy about it. Some rooms are especially geared up for work with children.

“ She stressed the importance of accessing help if someone is suffering with a mental health condition. She said: “Sometimes people just sharing the problem is therapeutic in itself.

“Counselling can open a door to the unconscious and all sorts of issues can slowly be processed and resolved.

“Other people benefit from strategies and tools to help them challenge and over-come the problems they experience.

“Picking up the phone, and making an appointment to talk about the problem is the first step to gaining help which could start the change the future direction of a person’s life.”