Survivors of childhood abuse benefit from unique counselling service in their own, safe place

ACCESSING support anonymously can be a barrier for many adults who experienced abuse as children, particularly those living in rural and remote areas of Scotland.

Trauma Counselling Line Scotland or TCLS was established in 2011 and is an unique service – run by Scottish charity, Health in Mind, and funded by the Scottish Government through Survivor Scotland.

Lorraine Sorley is TCLS team leader and she explained that TCLS is believed to be the only case-managed telephone counselling service in Scotland and how each person is allocated their own counsellor, sometimes within days of first making contact.

“When someone is allocated their own counsellor they always speak to the same person which means they never have to repeat information about what has happened to them and because the service is delivered by ‘phone it means location is never a barrier to receiving help,” said Lorraine.

The service is free; sessions are anonymous and totally confidential.

Lorraine continued: “Childhood abuse can include sexual, emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual abuse or neglect with many people never telling anyone what happened to them as a child.

“Anyone using the service will decide what time of day or evening is best for them and as it is telephone counselling, it doesn’t matter where they live and we know from our clients that they choose to speak to their counsellor in a place where they feel safe.”

The counselling team are fully-trained and highly experienced, with male and female counsellors available from a range of ethnic backgrounds. Counselling is also offered in Polish, French and Italian.

“Having access to specialist support means survivors are able to address the issues that have affected their lives and understand how their experience may have prevented them from living the life they want to lead,” continued Lorraine.

Last year, people living in the majority of Scotland’s health board areas used the service.

Calling the Trauma Counselling Line Scotland is free and the number is 08088 020406.

Trauma Counselling Line Scotland; a personal experience

“On making first contact with TLCS, my frequent despair was present, as throughout 20-plus years of poor mental health. I rarely looked unwell, and only more deterioration would bring me to anyone’s attention, having exhausted formal help years earlier.

“I was reluctant to seek new help, as it had previously felt poorly matched or even harmful at times.

“Trauma-line helpers acknowledged the sense of my being in permanent crisis. Something not recognised before, so a great relief in speaking to someone who ‘got’ the complex effects of multiple trauma.

“The despair (and risk of completed suicide) subsided a little from knowing regular help would arrive soon. Communication from TLCS was very clear about arrangements.

“Working with a TCLS counsellor, I felt safe, and my impression was of great skill, knowledge and experience; also a sense of them personally giving their all to help, and of genuine communication and connection.

“We shared light-hearted moments, amidst all the difficult work. There was nothing fixed, rigid, or formulaic, but rather a relationship that felt like counselling, parenting, and mentoring at different times – a real contrast to previous help, which felt formal, distant, or medicalised.

“I know I was difficult to work with at times; highly-motivated and driven, but unfocused and scattered in the experience of self. For a while, my counsellor followed the confusion and chaos, got to know it, then introduced new perspectives, ideas and guidance.

“Together, we constantly reviewed our position, as more of the complex trauma emerged.

“Many parts of a confusing experience have improved. Words can’t convey the changes in one’s experience of self. But I feel more present in the world, more connected to other people, developed more pride and self-compassion, and have some valuable insights.

“Perhaps, overall, a less severe experience of depression is the most noticeable result.

“Assimilating the benefits of counselling is not instantaneous but I now have a better view of what is possible. The work will continue privately at some point in future, and I now have a template of what can be helpful for me.

“Thank you to my counsellor and TLCS for making all of this possible.”


Need help now?

If you or someone you care for is facing a crisis and in distress, please contact NHS 24 on 111 or your GP directly.

Click here for further information and contact details.

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