Counselling Appointment this morning

So I went to my first counselling IVF appointment today and I must say I did not find it helpful at all. First of all it was located within the ACU unit and next door to the room where your blood is taken. So a month and two weeks after my IVF cycle has ended and I got a bfn, I was once again sitting in the waiting room of the clinic with a whole load of new couples and patients. It felt weird and not in a good way. Two of my doctors and a host of nurses who had treated me walked past me repeatedly and did not acknowledge me. Granted they probably see hundreds of patients a month and so probably don’t remember me, but it made me feel anonymous. As if the system spits you out at the end of your treatment and washes its hands of you when IVF fails to work.

The counselor was nice enough, but she told me that she was available for sessions throughout my entire cycle and I was confused because no one told me I could have counselling DURING the cycle. The counselor seemed surprised that my cycle had ended, perhaps she had incorrect notes? Because it was an initial appointment she asked me to explain everything from the beginning: how long I had been married, if I had always wanted children, when I started TTC, when I was referred, when EC was and ET and the bfn test. Jeez, it sure felt like I was reliving it all and not helpful. At the end of the session she recapped what I had said and then told me what I was feeling: uncertain, grief, sad sometimes, happy other times, hopeful, anxious etc. – all of which I already know!

Maybe it is because I have already done a lot of thinking about the IVF and infertility before or maybe because I did CBT, 10 years ago and so feel mentally strong in myself or because I have supportive parents and husband, but this counselling did nothing for me. I found the appointment totally unhelpful and the setting of an office in the clinic in the hospital was a very immediate painful reminder of an experience that I need to recover and repair from. I think recovering and repairing away from the hospital is better for me.

This counselling is a just too little, too late.

Also, I have to say I feel that I have received 100% more emotional support from everyone on this forum, than from any medical professional throughout this whole cycle. No one has been unpleasant to me, but the whole experience is super clinical and impersonal and I feel as if only the women on this forum understand how I feel. The forum has been a big comfort to me.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to share my experience and ask if anyone else felt counselling did not actually help them?

23 Replies

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  • i had counselling appointment after my first failed ivf and i felt it didnt work because she just kept saying channel ur upset and anger into a hobby which i did to begin with but then i didnt want to continue my hobby as it made me feel worse. x

  • I'm sure she was trying to be helpful, but I'm not sure a hobby can make you feel less angry. Unless it is something like boxing perhaps? I dunno....

    I actually think support groups of women who have experienced IVF might be the way forward rather than counselling. Well for me at least.

    I do hope you are feeling a bit better now xx

  • My counsellor suggested a hobby too. I started Tai Chi (on her recommendation) and it really helped me to relax. But, she suggested it after really understanding who I was and what would suit my personality. I felt she really 'got me' as she said she often suggests yoga but suspected I would find that boring - which I do! Anyway, the point is hobbies are a great way to manage the stress of fertility but you need to be given guidance on what the right activity is for you! x

  • Hi we had a counselling session after our 1 failed icsi cycle. As you said had to sit in waiting room where we had sat before next to the bit where we had our actual treatment. Didn't find it that helpful. Felt she spent the whole time trying to work out whether we were about to split our wrists or not! Xx

  • That is definitely how I felt. She said that I seemed a little unsettled. I felt like saying: 'Your office is right next to the room where my blood was taken at least 3 times a week for 12 weeks and where I learned to stick needles in my belly. Oh, and the waiting room, which is about 2 metres from here, is filled with about 30 couples that I definitely don't feel comfortable crying in front of!'

  • Yes its def not well thought out. Glad we went as it has benefited us to have least gone but we were def not interested in going again. X

  • I found this a very interesting read as I am just considering having counselling after our first round of failed ICSI. I am struggling mainly with people at work continuously asking when I'm going to start a family (as we have kept our troubles a secret). I think I'll give it a go, but won't my hopes too high! x

  • Well, I would definitely try it. I have had counselling in the past and CBT (for something other than IVF) and I felt it did help then, but to be honest it was not provided by the NHS and it was in a relaxing neutral setting and I paid quite a bit of money for it. I tend to find the NHS has not been that helpful for me when it comes to mental health services.

    You might find it really beneficial! I just thought it was insane that someone thought that putting the counselor and the counseling room in the heart of the IVF clinic was a good idea. I was just a few doors down from where I had my embryo transfer and it felt actually more upsetting for me to be there again. I would have preferred a different floor of the hospital at least.

    On another note, I totally understand how you feel about all the 'family' questions. Everyone is always asking me. And some people have even just assumed I don't want kids because I have not had a baby already. No one can ever know what goes on in someone's private life and they should really be more tactful!

    I am sorry your cycle failed. I feel your pain. I hope that counselling and this forum brings you some comfort xx

  • Thank you your condolences mean a lot ☺ I think I will give it a try & I guess im expecting it to be in the vicinity of everything else that went in a our clinic is really quite small. Thanks for all the advice & sorry for jumping in on your thread! x

  • I'm sorry to say I had a very similar experience and it was awful. After my failed cycle the consultant told me I should try it, so I had one appointment. Like yours it was on the same floor as where I'd had my ET and the lady I saw made me retell everything which was hard and very upsetting. When I started crying there were no tissues and I spent the rest of the time wiping my nose and eyes with my sleeve! I felt like it was a waste of time but I had ticked the box to say I had seemed out some help.

    It sounds like you are a very strong lady so I would suggest finding your own support network and dealing with things in your own way. I know counselling in these distractions works for some and that is great, but an experience like you and I had is not helping anyone at all.

    Good luck on your journey xx

  • No tissues?! Surely a basic supply for a counsellor?!

    I found my counselling appointment moderately useful. She helped me think about some of my fears and helped me to dismiss some. But I didn't bother to go back for the further two sessions I was entitled to so I guess not that great.

  • I went to see a counsellor and found it really helpful. But, I paid privately and had a good rapport with her. You're probably right that she didn't tell me anything I didn't know but I found her understanding immensely comforting and she gave me some really good coping strategies. If you still feel you need to speak to someone again I would give the counsellor another try or maybe book someone privately.

    Take care of yourself x

  • Sorry to hear about your experience Kira - I have definitely found fertility network monthly meet ups much more helpful than counselling as the women who attend can often offer not only support but practical ideas for issues they have gone through which you might be going through or about to go through as this forum does but it is meeting face to face and coming together which I found so supportive. You also sound like you are very strong and have done so much of your own thinking that the formulaic counselling session (where the nhs do have to check you aren't going to top yourself - it is literally the criteria of any nhs funded counselling session!) just wasn't for you - wishing you all the very very best with your next steps x

  • After I had a failed cycle I saw the counsellor to discuss & help us come to terms with possibility of donor eggs! She started telling us about a website that donor egg children have set up because they are so angry in their situation!!!😳😳😳😳helpful?!?! Nope!! I still don't know why I didn't make a complaint-she actually scared the s**t out of us and made us feel worse so a year later we still can't get our heads round it!!

    So sorry your experience wasn't good-sounds like you are much more capable than her at knowing how to help yourself tho xxx

  • Man! That is not helpful! But for the record I know two children born as result of egg donation and they couldn't give a fig about it. They love their parents!

  • Thanks Hun that's comforting to know xxx

  • Hi ,

    I also had a similar experience after my first failed ivf. And our councillor room was also next to d room where bloods were taken. It was really stressful. And to be honest i felt as if she was not focusing on d problem rather trying to find out problems between d two of us . I think sometimes time is d best healer than anything else . U do what u feel right for u gurl . Xx

  • My counsellor - faced with me who had researched and read tonnes before my appointment meaning I felt calm and collected and ready - basically informed me that I should be prepared for my egg donor child to grow up with a chance of commuting incest! I was livid!!

    I don't think counselling is right everywhere but I have friends who have benefitted amazingly well xx

  • Prepare for that? Surely the chances of that are minuscule!

    I agree, I think you just have to go with whatever is right for you in that moment with what you are living through.

    I do hope your egg donor research was a success!

  • I basically told her that I thought that everyone could have the chance of that their parents hid a secret past! Crazy woman. Thankfully my consultant was amazingly supportive over it.

    Research and reading and this forum were my saviour x

  • What a stupid thing for that counsellor to focus on.

  • Sounds like u had the same councellor has me!!! What an insensitive thing to say!!!

  • I didn't even cry or get upset... I just thought: you clearly have no idea of what struggles women go through. Within minutes of me replying she said "right! I think we are good to go! Good luck!" Still at least the outcome was - go straight for treatment! x

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