There are also practical techniques that can make a real difference to the way you feel.
Find out more
Self management programmes
Self-management programmes like those run by the Expert Patient Programme (EPP) can be very useful in helping you to adapt to life with MS.
They can help you manage your symptoms and emotions, as well as helping you to develop the skills needed to continue with day-to-day activities.
Talking therapies can help you come to terms with change, and overcome anxiety, depression and other emotional difficulties. They offer a chance to talk about the problems you face in a way that helps you to understand yourself and how you're feeling.
Using this understanding, you may be able to work out ways of taking positive and constructive steps towards improving the way you feel. You may also find you deal with situations in new ways that make them seem less stressful or difficult.
Talking therapies can also help all those affected by MS to feel less alone when dealing with distressing symptoms.
The MS Society Helpline also offers information and support to anyone with MS, their families, friends and carers.
There are a number of different talking therapies, including:
- Counselling: This allows you to talk about the difficulties or troubles you are facing without being interrupted. Counselling is completely confidential
- Psychotherapy: Tries to help you understand why you feel the way you do, and what lies behind your responses to other people and things that happen to you.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy: Focuses on specific, practical problem-solving techniques.
- Self-help groups: These groups, also known as peer support groups, are usually for people who want to overcome a shared problem. You can find out more about these different types of talking therapy from the mental health charity MIND or by asking your doctor. In Scotland, the Scottish Association for Mental Health has more information.
Your GP or MS nurse might be able to help you get access to talking therapies - just ask them to refer you to a specialist.
Unfortunately, access to these therapies on the NHS is limited, and varies from region to region.
If your GP or MS nurse can’t find you someone to talk to on the NHS, or the waiting time is too long, you might want to pay to see someone. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website can help you find a counsellor or therapist.
Your local MS Society group may also have information on counselling services, or may run a group or offer discounted counselling.
Many MS Society local groups have regular support group meetings. Each group also has a fully trained MS support officer who can provide support and offer guidance about other local services available. Counselling is also available from some regional MS Therapy Centres.
Live in Scotland?
COSCA is the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland.
There are lists of accredited counsellor or psychotherapist members and voluntary sector counselling services on its website. These lists can help you find someone in your area. There are also guidelines on how to select a counsellor.
Find out more on the COSCA website
Live in Northern Ireland?
MS Society NI provide a counselling service at MS Society NI Resource Centre every Friday.
Find out more by contacting our resource and day centre in Belfast