Counselling for Legal Professionals
Life in the law can be tough, exacerbated by uncertainties with Covid-19 and increased homeworking. External challenges driving economic uncertainty and cost challenges can magnify distress in a sector where long hours, an unrelenting workload and high expectations are common and can lead to psychological exhaustion.
A demanding career
In 2019 the Law Society Gazette published research by the insurance firm Productivity which found lawyers to be the second most stressed professional group in the UK - with 63% of legal respondents experiencing daily stress. The stressful nature of the profession is backed up by The Law Society’s Junior Law division 2019 report with 93% reporting stress from high emotional or mental pressure.
The reasons for the stress can be traced to a toxic set of factors from working in law including long hours with overwhelming workloads, high client demands and emotionally challenging cases, intense competition and fear of a negative career impact if one is seen as struggling at work.
The consequences are serious - lack of sleep and alcohol and substance abuse are common, all have a negative impact on mental health leading to anxiety, emotional burnout, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Pressure to appear in control and on top of the game can lead to a mask being worn when inside one in running to keep up. Emotional health suffers with the impact felt personally and on families and loved ones.
The situation can be exacerbated with increased homeworking. Loeb’s 2020 report into how Law firm’s have adapted to remote working in the US found that the two biggest challenges in working remotely in the legal sector are related to mental health: General Anxiety (28%) and Social Isolation (20%) (Loeb, 2020).
Counselling - a safe, confidential space
Counselling offers a confidential and safe space to explore what is happening in your professional and personal life. In helping you map out difficulties, grow perspective and explore choices you can learn to manage stress and realize your potential. Coming to a greater understanding of yourself and how you operate within the work context will help you make the changes that will lead to a stronger more resilient emotional state and better able to cope in the workplace.
Counselling has proved effective in addressing these challenges specific to working in law:
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Growing confidence
- Growing resilience
- Work/life conflict
At its core, counselling provides a place to talk to a professional who, in listening non-judgmentally, can help you make changes. It’s important to speak to a counsellor who understands your needs, has experience in the issue you are facing and can suggest the type of counselling that may work best for you, for example, person centered, psychodynamic, Cognitive behavioral or integrated.
Your counsellor will be able to offer confidential one-to-one, short term and long term counselling that is unique and tailored to your specific needs.
You can usually expect to pay between £40 - £90 per session.
What do I do next?
The hardest steps are admitting we need help, picking up the phone and stepping through the door.
At The Practice we offer a confidential and safe space for legal professionals with a full therapeutic service of experienced, qualified Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists, Counsellors and Coaches, serving Weybridge, East Molesey, Guildford and surrounding areas in Surrey.
Our highly skilled professional team of therapists also includes lawyers who have re-trained to become therapists adding an increased insight into the difficulties associated with this profession. Supported by our specialist practitioners and life coaches, we have the skills and experience to uniquely support you.
The next step is to contact us at The Practice, or call us on 0333 0096 321.
Above The Law, 2019, Can We Finally Talk About The Elephant In the Room? Mental Health Of Lawyers, viewed 4 October 2020
Law Society Gazette, 2019, Lawyers are second most stressed professionals, research claims, viewed 4 October 2020
Loeb, 2020, Law Firm’s Adaption to Remote Working, viewed 4 October 2020
World Health Organization, 2019, WHO urges more investments, services for mental health, viewed 4 October 2020,