Daylight offers a service that complements similar services offered by the NHS, which are often too limited to fully meet the needs of patients, unsuitable for some patients or overstretched.
Clients get recommended or referred to us by the mental health team and by doctors’ surgeries whose own provision is usually limited to 6 or so sessions and often based only on CBT. Many of these clients have underlying problems that exacerbate the presenting problem, making it almost impossible for real progress to be made in the allotted time. We are able to offer open-ended counselling to clients, only concluding counselling when we and the client agree that the progress discussed at the start of counselling has been made or that we agree that sufficient progress has been made for the client to move on.
In addition, it is increasingly being recognised that CBT is not suitable for some clients and some presenting issues and that some clients need other types of counselling instead of or in addition to CBT. We get some clients referred to us by IAPT CBT practitioners who recognise the unique position Daylight is in to offer services that complement the provision of the NHS.
The issues we have covered include childhood abuse and trauma, adult rape, disability-related issues, anxiety and depression where clients have not coped well with CBT. Bereavement is the most common presenting issue where the bereavement often brings other unresolved issues to the surface. The second most common presenting issue is childhood trauma which is still having a negative impact on the client, sometimes many decades later.
These case studies illustrate the need for Daylight’s service:
Case study 1
A woman aged 60 with learning difficulties, who has never left home, and has lost both parents in the last 5 years. Since the death of her mother 3 years ago until beginning counselling, she was not able to talk about her mother or mention her name. Counselling has enabled her to start retrieving the happy memories of her mother and to let go of a sense of guilt associated with her mother’s hospitalisation leading to her death.
Case study 2
A man with mental health problems experienced a succession of family deaths culminating in the most recent, which sparked a crisis in his mental health which was appropriately treated by the NHS. An IAPT therapist referred him to Daylight. Alongside grief he had an acute sense of crisis and a loss of motivation. Counselling helped him to process grief but also gave him the opportunity of reviewing his whole life, which gave him a better understanding and acceptance of himself and increased his self-esteem.
Case study 3
A woman in her 80s, after recovering from a prolonged and serious bout of depression, emerged feeling confused about herself and her changing roles in life. As someone who throughout life has been in a caring role and listened to others’ troubles, she was able for the first time to consider her own needs as worthy of attention and to realise that it is OK to look after yourself.
Case study 4
A young woman who has suffered abuse and neglect throughout childhood and survived abusive relationships as an adult found herself unsure how to make good decisions, how to maintain relationships, and felt subject to impulsive and self-destructive behaviour. Through counselling directed at the symptoms resulting from traumatic experiences, she has learnt to control unhelpful impulses, including bulimia, and maintain a stable relationship with her partner. She has come to understand the attachment issues underlying her relationship with her mother and has stopped hoping for the impossible.
In addition to our main activity of counselling, Daylight has also offered training to people from local churches to help them help others and encourage them to volunteer. Training also has the benefit of advertising our services. Over the last couple of years we have run training sessions on Saturday mornings on listening skills, anger management and self-esteem.
Over the last 13 years we have built a good reputation within the NHS and are we are well thought of by the mental health team and a number of doctors as evidenced by their willingness to recommend clients to us.
Currently, Daylight is based in Leigh and all our counselling takes place in our premises in Leigh town centre, about 10 minutes’ walk from the bus station. Daylight is currently supported entirely by a number of churches in Leigh, both financially and in providing volunteer counsellors.
Clients get recommended or referred to us from all across the Borough with many coming from Wigan and surrounding areas. We have had clients from as far afield as Shevington and Appley Bridge. Many of our clients are elderly and, even when they are not, many find it difficult to get to Leigh on a regular basis to attend counselling sessions, particularly if they have to use public transport. We maintain a waiting list since we are unable to counsel all potential clients immediately, although we do aim to give potential clients an assessment interview with about 2 weeks of their initial contact with us. We have observed that clients foreseeing difficulties with transport are more likely to drop off the list before counselling can start.
The map below shows the approximate location of all clients referred to us in 2018 and clients who completed counselling in 2017.
In addition to these issues, we have lost some of our trained volunteers in the last couple of years due to retirement and relocation.
Demand for Daylight’s service
Daylight has been offering counselling services since its inception over 13 years ago. During that time we have received many recommendations and referrals from the NHS Mental Health Team (often via the Crisis Team), local doctors and local churches. We have counselled hundreds of clients during that time. Most of the time we have a waiting list of anything up to 10 potential clients. Recently, we have had to close the waiting list on a number of occasions because waiting times on the list have become unacceptably long.
The paragraphs above demonstrate that we are already effective in engaging with users. However, there are shortfalls in our current provision due to lack of resources and geography leading to a sometimes lengthy waiting list and difficulty in provision for people living in parts of the borough further away from Leigh.
Our proposal is directed at removing these shortfalls and increasing our overall effectiveness by:
1. recruiting additional trained volunteers and/or providing training to volunteers so that the waiting list can be reduced giving shorter waiting times and reducing the number of people who drop off the list,
2. opening a counselling centre in Wigan to make it easier for potential clients in the north and west of the Borough to access our services, and
3. increasing our support base amongst local churches, including churches in Wigan, to support existing and expanded service provision and to make the service more secure for the future.