Hi, I am Diana Crowe and my role is Head of Services at MS-UK. I have been asked to talk to you about the psychological services that we offer so I will share with you information about our MS-UK Counselling service.

The counselling service has been successfully running for over three years now and has made a significant impact for those that have accessed the service. These are some of the quotes we have received from individuals who have accessed the service:

  • My counselling experience has been ‘life changing’

  • Counselling has helped me find a new perspective on things, I’ve been able to talk through my feelings and understand them

  • I’ve come away from the session feeling excited about what we’ve realized

  • This has really helped me through a difficult time….I can’t thank you enough

Anyone that has a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can access counselling and it is free to access however we suggest a donation of £5 per session or an amount of their choosing where possible.

It is a big decision sign up for counselling and there may be a variety of reasons why someone would want to talk to a trained MS counsellor here at MS-UK. For instance it may be to help process diagnosis, a relapse or a transition into a more progressive stage of the disease. Many share they have experienced a sense of grief, loss, fear and anxiety to name just a few emotional reactions.

This is the only service of its kind in the UK and all of our counsellors at MS-UK are fully trained about MS and all have a wealth of experience and knowledge that provides them with the skills to work with individuals living with MS. They are all registered or accredited with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and MS-UK has organisational membership too. This means that we have to ensure that we adhere to their ethical framework.

You can register online at our website www.ms-uk.org/counselling or ask your health professional to do so on your behalf. You will then be offered an assessment for counselling by telephone or video call – it is your choice. You will normally have this appointment within approximately two weeks, depending on your availability. During this 30-45 minute session the counsellor will get to know you a bit better, assess you suitability for counselling and identify the goals you wish to achieve when you start counselling. Most people then go on our waiting list once they have agreed the counselling contract and will be seen within about 12 weeks for up to six counselling sessions. We can even send you a text and email reminder so you don’t forget your appointments.

At the end of counselling we also ask if you would like to have a follow up appointment with our MS-UK Helpline in six months’ time to see what difference the counselling has made and it identify any further support you may require.

Feedback from clients given to the MS-UK Helpline after six months:

  • Counselling was of huge benefit - tools suggested are being used on daily basis.

  • Counselling was an amazing thing for me

  • Very positive experience, incredible and changed outlook. Given confidence to apply for jobs, anxiety less intense. Can manage situations more calmly. Said without counselling she wouldn't be where she is now

Last year we also started to offer single session therapy (SST). It basically does what is says on the tin! You can register for this service by going to www.ms-uk.org/ms-uk-single-session-therapy and you should be seen within approximately two weeks depending on your availability. It is an opportunity to have up to 90 minutes with an MS-UK Counsellor to focus on one particular issue that is impacting on you right now and work towards finding a solution. Sometimes that is all you need! Where possible we ask for a donation of £25 before the session and you need to tell us beforehand what it is you want to focus on. This is what one of our clients said:

I felt the single session worked well for me. It helped me to really focus on what challenges I was experiencing and allowed me the space to talk through these in a safe space where I could be open about my MS diagnosis. It was really beneficial and enabled me to work through my thoughts and to create a plan to focus on.  The session also gave me techniques on how to practically deal with stress and anxiety.  The counsellor was someone I felt I could open up to with the challenges and how these may be linked with my MS

So if you feel that you could benefit from either of these services please do register online at www.ms-uk.org or call the MS-UK Helpline to find out more information.

Please call 0800 783 0518 between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.