How counselling can help
Sometimes we're stuck, fearful, or overcome with emotions we don't seem to understand and that get in the way of living our lives the way we want to. Talking to someone else, being with someone who can listen in a deep and meaningful way, can help us make sense of our lives and our feelings so that we can become less stuck, less fearful and more alive.
I find that many of the clients I see are struck by how powerful, and empowering, it can be to be truly listened to, to be heard by someone who is not a friend, not a colleague, not a family member but someone who listens without judgment, but with respect and with compassion.
Psychotherapeutic counselling is a useful, but cumbersome definition of what I do. I have trained as a counsellor, not a psychotherapist (and not a psychoanalyst, who is a qualified doctor working in the field of mental health, often in a hospital), but broadly speaking, counsellors and psychotherapists deal with the same kinds of issues. The professional body to which I belong is the BACP, the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, so professionally speaking, we're very similar.
Type of counselling
You may have heard of different types, or styles, of counselling/psychotherapy – CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), person-centred therapy, psychodynamic counselling, Gestalt, TA (Transaction Analysis). I am a person-centred counsellor; I believe we all have a great deal of power over our own lives, even if we sometimes can't see this. My style is integrative, which means that my practice is informed by a variety of theories and approaches which I use where I think they might be helpful to you. So I might draw on elements from CBT, Gestalt and TA for example.
What I can help with
I have seen clients with a wide range of issues, often described by their doctors (or themselves) as anxiety, depression, bereavement, trauma, anger, obsessive compulsive disorders. I prefer not to use these labels because they are just that- labels, and labelling tends to limit, not integrate.
People are wonderful, complex beings, with a wide range of sometimes interconnecting, sometimes warring, parts. I see my job as working with you to help you reconnect the different parts of yourself in order to find greater enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
What actually happens
At its most basic, you talk and I listen. This sounds very simple, and in some ways it is, but it can also be extremely powerful. We begin to develop a relationship unlike any other relationship in our lives. I am not a friend, a colleague or a family member, which means that you don't have to censor or adapt what you say to me in any way whatsoever. But I do care - you will matter to me.
I am not silent in the sessions, though you will do the majority of the talking. I might notice a pattern, a thread, in what you're saying and I might draw your attention to this. Sometimes this is enough - you recognise something you've half-known all along and you begin to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes it takes much longer. There may be times when I suggest a role play, an exercise or some drawing or writing, something that I think might help you, but I will always discuss this with you and we will only proceed with your agreement.
The sessions are sometimes painful, sometimes joyful - you might be surprised by how much humour and laughter there is. But whatever it is you bring, I am there, developing a relationship with you, working alongside you.
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