Everyone’s path towards counselling is unique. You may have been considering this for a while; it can be daunting to take the next step so it can help to have information about how I approach counselling and what it can be like. My general approach is psychodynamic; my work is influenced by a belief in the importance of our earlier experiences and how they create patterns of behaviour, sometimes out of our conscious awareness. However, we are all unique and so I offer counselling that will be tailor-made to be most helpful to you. My training draws from a variety of models including Relate couples counselling, CBT and family systemic ideas, so that I can support you in finding ways to work through the challenges you are facing. Take a look at my About Me page for more details about my training and experience.
Our individual life experiences make us who we are at this moment. At their best they add to the richness of our life and allow us to trust that we can have other positive experiences and make fulfilling relationships with other people. However, sometimes those experiences have been difficult. When we have had more challenging life experiences, particularly in childhood, our way of coping with them can hold us back from living our lives to their fullest. Exploring those issues in the company of another who is empathic and does not judge, someone outside those relationships, can help identify patterns of behaviour so that we have the choice to act differently in the future. Counselling is explorative, a process of discovery and self-awareness.
I don’t give advice or tell you what to do. I aim to work with you to draw attention to the unseen patterns that are part of everyone’s life. Sometimes it can be useful to start with a specific goal; you may want help with sadness and depression because you no longer enjoy previous activities, and wondering what lies behind those feelings can be a valuable way to understand and change them. Anxiety can affect how well we eat and sleep and can make life a revolving door of intrusive negative thoughts which makes it difficult to feel at peace.
The counselling process
Our first meeting will be a session where we can talk about how you are feeling at the moment and your reasons for coming to therapy. Sessions are 50 minutes long, and we will gather some general information about you and your experiences and it will give you a chance to meet me and experience how I work.
Counselling can be flexible, it depends on what will suit you best. Open-ended therapy allows you to explore your issues in your own time; you chose to end the work when you feel you have made the progress you are happy with. Sometimes you may have a specific goal or issue you'd like to work with over a shorter period of time. Time-limited therapy over an agreed number of weeks, normally eight to twelve, can be a solution focussed way to look at specific issues and it is always possible to extend the work if you find something you wish to explore.
If you decide to go ahead, we will meet at the same time on the same day once a week in a safe, comfortable therapeutic space that is dedicated to you and your needs. Sometimes clients work flexible hours which can make meeting at the same time each week difficult. I understand how difficult that can be and feel that it should never stop someone getting the help that they need. In that first session we can talk about practical matters and create the therapy that is right for you.
Common life challenges
Some example of issues I deal with include:
- Depression and sadness
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Anxiety and fear
- Bereavement and loss
- Life stages
- Sexuality and gender