What is counselling

Counselling offers you a confidential and non-judgemental safe space in which to explore and maybe confront, change or channel feelings that are causing you discomfort, such as anxiety, confusion, grief, anger, rage or depression. These emotions may be related to recent events, or events from the past.

 

Counselling can also be effective when you start to see certain patterns that create questions for you, for example: 'why does X keep happening ?', ''why do I always DO that?!'.

 

Counselling is also helpful if you simply want to understand yourself better or live a more fulfilling life. Counsellors will not advise or tell you what to do but help you find answers within yourself; they can gently challenge assumptions and offer understanding and kindness.

 

How does a session work?

Individuals sessions are 60 minutes, couples sessions are 90 minutes and are generally held weekly. If this timing does not suit your needs, we can discuss and negotiate this in our initial meeting and I do work flexibly as for many clients, life is often not that predictable!

 

I tailor my approach to your individual needs and work with you in a private and confidential setting.

During sessions, we work together to agree the focus, pace and differing methods we might use to help you explore whatever is current for you. The space and time is very much yours to achieve your goals therapeutically.

How long is the process?

Counselling has an overall aim of change, or maybe a 'shift' for you from a 'stuck' place. This does not happen from one day to the next, and although three or four sessions can sometimes be enough, six to ten are sometimes needed. Some clients want to work on deeper long term issues or situations which can then take longer. 

 

There are no hard and fast rules or expectations and each person responds differently, right now you may be seeking immediate help for a specific situation, and that's OK.

What kind of counselling do you do?

I have found there are two answers people are potentially seeking when being asked this question:

 

The first whether I specialise in any particular issue (i.e. bereavement, anger management) or client type (i.e. children, teens, older people) and the second, less commonly sought answer is the approach/methodology of therapy (i.e. Cognitive Behavioural, Psychodynamic, or Person-centred).

 

Regarding issues or client types:

I have a broad range of clients from all walks of life presenting with a wide variety of concerns, and therefore am not restricted in who or what type of issue I work with.

Occasionally someone may present with a particular problem where a different approach may suit that particular person or their presenting issue; in those cases, I will refer the client on to a more suitable therapist within my extensive network.

I do have particular knowlege and experience of working with people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or trauma and also with people who have (or are questioning) a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity or a family member of someone who is.

 

With regard to my approach or methodology:

I work in what is known in the counselling and psychotherapy world as an 'Integrative Approach'.

This approach has a person-centred and humanistic base, and draws from several compatible theories (its not simply 'pick and mix') to tailor work with each client and their individual situation.

 

The following is an outline of each of those theories and approaches; you can see there is a rich resource to draw from:

 

Person – Centred

Person- Centred Therapy is mainly focused on the therapeutic relationship formed between the counsellor and client with the therapist aiming to provide that person with an environment and opportunity to develop a sense of self. This environment is a comfortable and non-judgmental place where the client can engage with another person in a non-directive manner and be aided in finding their own solutions to their problems. Person-centred therapists believe that a free and equal relationship exists between client and counsellor and each person’s perception of the other is important to the work, the counsellor is not the ‘expert’, the client knows their own feelings and emotions better than anyone.

 

Humanistic

Humanistic therapists provide support so that the client can freely explore their whole life experience, rather than singular blocks. Particular attention is paid to combining the past, present and future, instead of concentrating on one specific area, problem or issue.

There are many different types of humanistic counselling, all of which involve a close counselling relationship between the counsellor/therapist and the client. These include Gestalt Counselling, Transactional Analysis, Transpersonal Psychology, Depth Therapy and Humanistic Psychotherapy, to name but a few.

 

Gestalt Therapy

This type of counselling is directive (as opposed to non-directive and person centred), and offers the client an opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings, and how these are processed. It provides an incentive to become more aware of the mind, body and spirit. By working through and clarifying feelings a client can achieve greater understanding of their own personal experiences.

The therapist can provide support and enable the client to become more self-aware. This may be done by applying a series of creative exercises and counselling experiences (like role-play/dialogue) to help increase self-development and self-knowledge.

 

Transactional Analysis Counselling

Based around a client’s self-development and personal growth, transactional analysis provides a connection between a client’s past and how this influence’s present decisions and choices. Transactional Analysis also proposes that three ego states run through every relationship a person has with others. These are the Parent, Adult and Child ego states.

The client is encouraged to look back over past decisions they have made, and to analyse and understand the consequences and subsequent direction. This form of humanistic approach to counselling can help clients become more in tune with their thoughts and actions and tinter-ppresonal /relationship dynamics.

 

Psychodynamic

Psychodynamic Therapists consider adaptive functioning developed in early life that has and continues to cause discomfort. There tends to be an emphasis on the conflicts between conscious and unconscious thought and how they relate to the clients development along with how thoughts that you may not be aware of can affect your life. Also, central to this approach, psychodynamic therapists believe that any negative emotional or behavioural aspects of the individual’s life stem from early childhood experiences. Other areas for this kind of therapy can be the effects and expression of emotion on the client, looking at patterns in the work or life of the individual, and exploring for example, how a client may attempt to avoid distressing thoughts, events and feelings (often referred to as either resistance or the use of defence mechanisms).

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

 

Counselling and psychotherapy, although two completely different terms, are both essentially the same thing. Both counsellors and psychotherapists provide a service for people who are looking for support for a wide range of mental health and emotional issues.

 

The possibility that there is a difference between the two is a heavily debated question in the field, and one that has yet to be answered.

It is generally understood that counselling tends to tackle problems at the time of the crisis or that sessions are considered 'short term' (ie around ten sessions), whereas psychotherapy focuses on longer-term, deeply embedded psychological level concerns and may take a greater number of sessions to work through.

However, this is not a universally agreed contention and different professionals have differing thoughts about how they work.

 

Whether you choose a counsellor or psychotherapist, the main thing is to choose the right individual. research shows that how well you connect with the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is likely to determine how successful the process is. ( see also what I suggest regarding regulation on my main 'counselling ' page)