What is Counselling?
At its heart, counselling is about two people in a room talking. A counselling session takes the form of a conversation, with the difference that one person is a counsellor, and the other a client, and the conversation is all about the client. The client can use this conversation to identify problems, find solutions, and explore what is really going on for them so they can find a way forward. The counsellor listens, and provides a safe, non judgmental space so the client can feel heard, understood, and accepted. It sounds simple, and in many ways it is – but in our lives, how often does someone really gives us this space without having their own agenda? This is not to say that a good counsellor won’t challenge clients – part of the role is to challenge thinking or feeling patterns that might be stuck, unhelpful or negatively affecting people and their lives and relationships, so that new patterns and ways of thinking, feeling and being can be established.
My counselling method/training is based on the Person Centred model developed by Carl Rogers, but is also informed by emotional focusing, mindfulness, and recent research/developments in neuroscience. Such knowledge helps me to tailor my approach to each unique person I work with, so that we can work together to find a way forward. I have been told I am easy to talk to and offer a safe, comfortable, accepting and non-judgmental environment.
In our day to day lives we face so much pressure from our parents, partners, society, friends, children, relatives, employers and so on, that it is sometimes difficult to explore who we really are and what we really need. Counselling offers a safe, confidential, regular space to explore whatever it is you need to explore without these pressures. It can help with a wide range of issues, from problems with work or relationships to issues such as sadness, bereavement/grief, anxiety, stress, guilt, sexual problems, issues around sexuality, or perhaps past issues such as sexual abuse/trauma or losses in childhood. Counselling can help to reduce the power of past issues, build confidence and self esteem, reduce anxiety, find new meanings and understanding of our lives and ourselves. and help people feel more in control.
As a counsellor I aim to listen to you empathically, with compassion and acceptance, and rather than offering advice, will strive to understand your world and how you feel, with a view to offering new perspectives which will help you make the changes you wish to make in order to get through a difficult time or to live a happier and more fulfilling life. I am comfortable working with a wide variety of people and issues, from day to day issues such as stress, worry, anger and relationship problems to issues such as self harm, addictions, bereavement, depression, anxiety, sex and sexuality issues, and many more. I will treat whatever you need to bring with respect, and if I cannot work with your problem for any reason I will explain this and refer you to more suitable sources of support.
How Long Does Counselling Take?
This isn’t an easy question to answer as it’s different for everyone! Many people can really benefit from a few sessions with me, whereas some prefer to work longer term. I usually suggest that we agree to work for 6 sessions to begin with, and review progress as we go along. If at any time we feel more or less sessions may be needed, it is something we can discuss. Many of my clients feel better within 3-6 sessions, sometimes less, sometimes more. Sometimes many more – the safety of a long term therapeutic relationship is something which can help explore many more issues other than those that lie on the surface, but my aim is always to work towards what you need as soon as possible, or refer you on if this is not the right type of therapy for you!
Is There a Difference between Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Some therapists would argue there is a big difference, others not so much. Personally, I am qualified to practice as a counsellor/psychotherapist, but I don’t see a massive difference between the two. I am able to work with day to day issues on a short or medium term basis (what some would describe as counselling!), or at a much deeper level on a long term basis (what some would describe as psychotherapy!) or a mixture of the two.
How Do I Get Started with the Therapy?
You can contact me to book an assessment session. We can get to know a little more about each other and what you want to get out of counselling, and you can decide whether you wish to take things forward. You do not have to decide there and then, I encourage people to think about committing to what is potentially a life-changing process! This is a valuable session in itself, I use an NHS-approved assessment tool to help get a picture of how you are feeling, and even if you decide not to go ahead I will be able to offer you advice and signposting to what may be helpful to you. Many of my clients find the initial session to be a very helpful experience in itself, and at 1.5 hours it’s a chance to get settled in and look at things in depth. In my experience and way of working these sessions tend to be a mixture of counselling and assessment and for the time involved I do charge my usual fee of £60.
Is There a Waiting List?
At exceptionally busy times there may be a waiting list for my private counselling services or initial assessment sessions. Please see my contact page for details of current availability.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, feel free to contact me.