What kind of things do people talk about in Counselling?

People work with me to get help with anxiety or panic; bereavement; depression; the demands of caring for someone else; feeling guilty; a personal crisis; relationship difficulties; sexual abuse; stress; traumatic experiences; violence and conflict etc.

Sometimes it can be less clear what the difficulty is, such as feeling stuck; exploring identity; personal development; feeling out of control; life not being how they want it to be; coping with life changes; difficulty making decisions; etc.

There are many other things Counselling can help with too.  If you don’t see what concerns you I’d be happy to discuss whether I may be able to help you.

What Counselling involves and how I do it.

As you probably know, Counselling is a ‘talking treatment’.  This means we’d explore together what you want to change and find a way forward that feels manageable for you, for an hour every week.

Through working with me in this way people begin to develop and change.  I believe this happens because all of us have within ourselves the capacity to heal, to grow and to create a more satisfying life of our choosing.  Much of my work is helping people re-discover and mobilise these inner resources that seem to be ‘lost’, or that have become distorted or mistrusted, through experiences in their life.

For example, you may begin to notice how the way you deal with your difficulties has become a habit and it doesn’t really work now.  Using this insight I’d help you explore other possibilities until you found what works for you.  I may suggest things others have found useful too.

My attitude is warm, genuine and respectful.  I might suggest using writing, drawing and other ways of working if that helps.  I also help you learn how to effectively use your time in Counselling.

I have found this way of working to be the most effective I can be at helping people get what they want from Counselling.  After all, life is for living, not for counselling!

However, as you may well know, counselling is not a ‘quick fix’ and often takes time.  Counselling needs you to be willing to talk about what concerns you, be committed and to work at what you want to change, which at times can be difficult and painful.   As your Counsellor, I’d be supportive, work at your pace and be committed to helping you through.

If you are interested in theory, then I consider my main theoretical approach to be modern Gestalt, into which I have integrated theoretical ideas from Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Existentialism, Transactional Analysis, and less so several other approaches.

As a Counsellor I won’t give you advice or solve your problems for you. I won’t ‘psycho-analyse’ you.  I won’t judge or criticise you.  I won’t label you with a ‘disorder’ or ‘condition’ and I will keep sight of you as another person, whatever your difficulties.  Lastly, I am not there to ‘befriend’ you, although I expect our work would be friendly.

What happens if you contact me about counselling.

I’m happy to discuss on the phone what you might want from counselling, with no obligation on your part.  Then if you want, I usually suggest we meet for an initial session, for which I make no charge and there is no obligation on either of us to take it further.

In that session we’d discuss what you want and I could see whether that is something I can help you with.  This also provides you with an opportunity to meet me, to sit in the room you’d be working in and to ask me any questions you have.  I believe this helps people to make an informed choice about whether to work with me, as well as enabling me to see if I can help them. 

Following this you may want to start with me the following week, or you are welcome to take a couple of days to consider your choices and either continue with me or seek alternatives.

How long does counselling take?

Counselling usually ends at a mutually agreed time, unless unforeseen circumstances intervene.  At the beginning I can give you an estimate of how long I imagine it may take.  I usually work with someone for six sessions to start with and we then review how the work is going.  Then during the work we will regularly review how it is going to ensure Counselling is being effective and to consider how much further work, if any, is necessary.  The ending is therefore agreed and clear to us both.

Is counselling confidential?

Yes.  Very occasionally I may need to speak to other professionals as I have an ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of you and of others.  I would involve you in this.  If you chose to work with me I’d explain this fully before we started. 

Are you qualified?

Yes, I am a fully qualified and BACP Registered and Accredited Counsellor (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, which is Counselling’s professional body).

I have a Diploma in Counselling.  My training course was accredited by BACP.  As you may know, the Diploma is the recognised professional qualification for all counsellors.

In addition I am now personally Registered and Accredited as a Counsellor by BACP too.  If you are interested to know more see BACP Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists 

Are you a member of a Professional Body?

Yes, I am a Registered and Accredited Counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, so am bound by their Ethical Framework.  This way of working is there to protect you by ensuring I am professional, ethical and safe.  For example it ensures our work is confidential, that you know exactly what will and will not happen in counselling, and that I’m fit to practice.

If you are interested to know more, follow this link BACP Ethical Framework

What experience do you have as a Counsellor?

I have been Counselling since 1999.  

As well as working in private practice, I’ve worked as a counsellor in an NHS GP’s surgery; for Lewisham Bereavement Counselling; with the families of people who use alcohol/drugs for Adfam; and with men in Wormwood Scrubs Prison.  I’ve also done telephone counselling for the British Stammering Association and for Adfam.  Lastly, I’ve worked for the mental health charity Mind on their Information Line.

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