"I spoke to our HR manager because I was having a number of problems – frequent headaches, feeling dizzy, anxious and quite unwell. I found myself staring at my screen for long periods of time unable to work and therefore not being as productive as I could have been. These problems had been happening for a while and I felt they had become worse over a 4 year period.

Our HR manager explained that I could apply for some face-to-face counselling with CABA. I was extremely nervous but she encouraged and supported me to make the initial call – I had never thought about counselling before. I felt that I needed to do something so I phoned and I am glad I did as it is a process that changed my life and continues to do so.

After an initial assessment, CABA processed my application and a counsellor called to arrange our first appointment shortly after. When I got there, I was so anxious and almost couldn't speak but was able to open up and discover some important things about myself. Through gentle questioning about my upbringing, family, work and feelings about my life at the present time I could understand why I worried about peoples' opinions of me, why I felt that anything that was wrong was my fault and why I was always treading on eggshells for fear of disappointing. My anxiety and fear had stemmed from childhood experiences and I could now put things into context.

I understand that I was experiencing stress, and perhaps depression, and I was constantly trying to meet unreasonable expectations so am now realising that I can enjoy a good work/life balance by being more realistic and setting my own reasonable goals.

My life now is so much better, although there is still a long way to go. Having counselling and being able to understand everything has impacted on so many areas of my life; my relationship, friendships and family, work, my social life, but perhaps most importantly, how I view myself and respect myself. I feel more confident as a result of counselling and everything has started to slot into place. My work productivity has improved so much.

I have decided to have some more therapy which CABA is supporting. I feel so fortunate that I have had the support of my HR manager and CABA as it is a difficult process emotionally but can completely change the way you see everything."

*Some personal details of this client have been changed to protect their identity

How CABA can help

CABA supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please contact us.