Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Feeling really upset

I have to get this off my chest and get some advice. I went to my counselling course yesterday. We have two tutors,one of them(a lady) has been off for 4 weeks with flu and she came back yesterday. I am already very guarded with her as at our fist listening skills practice she made a comment that I was being a burden to my children. That really really upset me but I decided to let it go,however I've not forgotten about it. Yesterday at afternoon break she caught me on the stairs and she asked me how I was (she was very close to my face when she said this)I said I was fine and asked her how she was,she just stared at me for a bit and then said "you're very good at that aren't you?" And walked away! I was really upset as it was the way she said it too and after my horrible counselling session yesterday I was really really sensitive. We then had open group and she seemed to be wanting to rile us up and in then I asked her about what she said and said I was very upset with her,she didn't explain herself and I got more upset,then she started on some of the others . It was appalling. How can someone who is running a course be like this? Once it had finished we were all extremely upset and the two tutors scuttled away to their room. I honestly cannot carry on with the course if its going to be like this. I'm in bits today,have a raging headache. I do have issues very badly with being bullied and that's how I feel she is being with me. I can't believe this is happening in a place that is suppossed to be safe.

12 Replies

From reading all your blogs on here it seems like the course is pulling you down so much it's obviously making you feel worse about yourself and not helping with fibro, did you pay a lot for the course. I know we are all different but there are two ways to go with this

a) leave the course and do something else...

b) think I am strong it's only a course when it's done and I have my qualification I will never see this tutor again

Personally I think anything that would give me that much stress I would say stuff it my mind and body are more important, I've done it with my in laws and my life is much less stressful

Hope you feel better soon and make the right choice for you

VG x


That is an option. Failing that, see if you can see another Counsellor as clearly this Counsellor isn't doing you any good at all.


Unfortunately there is no guarantee that Counsellors are empathetic and sensitive, they should be, absolutely, but there will always be those that slip through the net.

If you feel you have a genuine grievance it might be worth getting advice from the BACP as a starting point. (BACP - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)

Here is a link, select BACP on the bottom right and then Professional Conduct and hopefully they will be able to help you.

Of course it takes time and energy to report someone and this is something that isn't available to us in bucket loads having Fibromyalgia.

Counselling should be a positive way to address unresolved issues with a trained empathetic and constructive listener with an aim to help you understand better hearing someone else's view.

Hope this helps you TM, please let us know how you get on.

(((hug))) xxx

References - BACP - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

NHS Choices - Counselling


Thanks VG I've had to do the same in my life to get rid of people that were not doing me any good. I even went as far as to get an harassment order against my ex husband to keep him away from me and here I am in another situation where I need to take steps to protect myself. But really I suppose it's an ongoing thing recognising when people are crossing your boundaries. I paid two and half grand for this course,I was in a much better place emotionally wise when I booked to do it. It was a hell of a risk. There are no refunds for whatever reason. The only thing I could do would be defer for a year but I can't see me going back in a year. I may get the same tutor! I'm tryin g to think of what else I could do that wont impact on the fibro. I used to have a florist shop but the stress of all that brought the fibro on and it's such a physical job I couldn't do it again. I'm mad about dogs( I have four) so maybe working with animals might be good but again it will mean me retraining but hopefully not as traumatic as the counselling course. Or maybe I'm just not well enough to work:(. As soon as I try to do anything I seem to go backwards. But then I will have to spend all my parents inheritance in order to live and will end up back on benefits with all the awful stress that that brings. I feel in a lose lose situation at the mo. I'm on my own with two children and I just don't know what to do anymore.


Oh Liberty just seen your reply thank you Hun you have been so supportive of me in the last week. What happened yesterday was with a tutor at the college I'm going to,the thing that happened Friday was with my personal counsellor who I see as part of doing the counselling course. Sorry if that's been a bit confusing. I think I was extra sensitive and raw after my counselling session on Friday then I went to college the next day feeling bad but that was no reason for her to say what she did. I had a long chat with one of the other course members last night and she was horrified too with what happened. This tutor has been very poorly and i am wondering if this was a factor in her behaviour yesterday but saying that she wasn't unwell when she upset me the first time. It's weird but she seemed to be picking on the most vulnerable in the group. I want to complain to the foundation director but I just haven't got the energy,I get the feeling these people will all close ranks when one of them is critisised. But why should I loose my money when it is a member of their staff that has caused all this upset..?


Hi TM, you are obviously feeling very raw and vulnerable at the moment and it is inexcusable that your tutor has made you feel even worse. I have a dear friend who went through training to be a counselor and I remember her telling me that it was a very stressful experience because the tutors pushed them to examin themselves from all angles, which inevitably opened a lot of old wounds. She explained that they did this deliberately as it is what happens when you practice as a counselor, your clients' issues can bring back painful memories of your own and you need to be able to deal with that. She said she found out an awful lot about herself and her internal pain triggers and this in turn helped her to become a better counselor.

I have no idea if this is what your tutor was trying to achieve, if it was she probably should have explained herself and her motives before the end of the session. Or perhaps she went through some kind of trauma herself while she was off with 'flue' and is still trying to deal with it. It could be that she is just a nasty person who enjoys making people feel bad about themselves!

My advice would be to give it one more chance (you have invested a lot of money and time into this). Get there early if you can next time and talk to the others about what happened and ask for their support. If the same thing happens again, confront the tutor and tell her how she is making you feel and ask her why she is doing it. It might be that that is what they want you to do - although it seems a clumsy and irresponsible way of doing it. Be strong and stand up for yourself. Get your classmates to back you up so that you don't feel isolated.

If this doesn't work, demand your money back and put the whole episode behind you. Life is too short!

Take care and don't let them get you down. You are worth so much more than that and there are better places to spend your precious time. Hope this doesn't sound too much like a lecture...I just hate to see somebody who is trying to do some good in the world being treated so badly. All best wishes to you. Jane x


Thank you so much Jane. I did wonder if she was trying to provoke us deliberately but our other tutor ,who is a man does none of that,he is very kind and very aware that we are vulnerable. I usually have issues with men after a lifetime of bad experiences but I feel safe around him. That is a positive. I will see how I feel in a few days but today I don't feel I can keep putting myself through this.xx


I do not think I myself could carry on to be honest unless I could put her firmly in her place in front of the whole group. I am not suggesting you do this but for me it would be something to consider. Fibro sufferers tend to mull things over whilst trying to come up with a solution, well I do anyway. Ihope something is sorted soon hun xxxxx


do you have a record function on your phone?

it might help you to listen back to what is said hen you feel calm and safe at home.

or it could be evidence for your money back.



Hi, I also have had "trouble" with the Counsellor running our Counselling course. I found out some very unpleasant underhand things about the way she is running the course. I contacted the BACP who advised I contact AQA, The man who wrote AQA paper then rang me with advice. I had a meeting with the tutor which turned out to be not face to face but on the phone. Since then after passing triad exams, journal and essay she has said I may volunteer for a charity but any hours done can't be counted towards my placement until she says I'm ready. In the mean time I listen to the other students share about their "Clients" and "Supervision" some of these students are having their own personal crisis and one has recently had suicidal ideation, which means ethically they shouldn't practice, and guess what? they all volunteer for the tutor at her practice "charity" some boundary issues me thinks, and her husband who isn't a Counsellor but a hypnotherapist is their private "Counsellor"!!! Abuse of power I call that! there's more, and so it goes on, just want my piece of paper now. If it is AQA diploma course you are doing get in touch, I found them very helpful, they are supporting me all the way. Are you doing psychodynamics at the moment, if its not personal to you but directed at everyone in the class it maybe they are stirring up negative transference.

I do hope you can continue and find a way with support to be assertive and clear the air. Good luck


it seems your tutor needs a tutor, however she is being paid you are not. This leaves you with 3 choices, record her and play it back, ask her what her problem is, get out while you are sane.


Hi -- you say that this tutor also upset some other people on the course at the "open" session -- do you have a tea-break when you could speak quietly to the others and see how they all feel about the way she treated you all. If you are all unhappy about her then there is probably some "complaints" procedure that you could all carry out ( maybe the nice man tutor would be able to tell you if there is a complaints procedure or failing that maybe you could speak in confidence to this "nice" tutor about your concerns) Do you have the phone number for the man tutor? Maybe you could speak to him before saturday and ask his advice. You really need to take some positive action -- you should not feel apprehension about going to the course -- and you should not feel that you have to give up on the course just because of one "upsetting individual". Good luck xx


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