Counselling is about exploring difficulties you may be having or distress you might be experiencing or dissatisfaction with areas of your life.
As a counsellor, I try to understand the difficulties from your point of view and help you see things more clearly. For many people, this leads to positive changes in life and a stronger sense of being able to deal with problems that come up in the future.
You might have a clear idea of what you want to talk about and perhaps also what you want to get out of the counselling or you might not know exactly where to start. Our work together might be short term, working towards a specific goal, or longer term, perhaps exploring painful issues that have been there for a long time.
What does counselling involve? Counselling involves exploring your problems, worries and concerns in a safe and non-judgemental environment. There are different types of counselling – you can get more information about the different types from the British Association of Counselling and Therapy (BACP) website, here. I am trained in 'Person Centred' and 'Relational' counselling - feel free to contact me for more information. But basically, my approach to counselling is to understand what is troubling you and help you explore your difficulties and see things more clearly, so that you feel more able to cope and move forward.
Can counselling help me? I believe that most issues and problems we face can be helped through appropriate counselling. Often just talking about your worries and concerns with a counsellor is a good place to start. Sometimes people don’t want to bother their friends and family, perhaps they wouldn’t understand or have the time. Other people don’t have close friends or family that they would feel comfortable talking to. Talking to someone independent and trained in counselling skills in a safe and non-judgemental place can help you explore your concerns and often leads to positive changes in life.
How long does counselling take? This depends on you and what is troubling you. Sometimes a few weeks might be enough to help you see a way through a particular issue or problem. For people who perhaps have deeper problems that have been there for a long time, it might take longer to explore concerns. Some people stay in counselling for a year or two, others, even longer.
Couple counselling tends to be short-term and focussed (6-12 sessions maximum). If one or both partners has deeper problems or issues to explore, then we may agree to take a break or end the couples counselling so that one or both partners can receive individual help from a counsellor. Then we can continue with the couples counselling again later.
I believe it is useful to regularly review how the counselling is going for you, and for you to decide, with my help if you need it, when the time is right to end.
How much does it cost and how often will I need it? Each counselling session lasts 50 minutes for individuals and one hour for couples. Please see 'Appointments and Fees' for costs. Most people I see come weekly, on the same day/evening and at the same time each week. But I am happy to discuss variations to this. For example, if you are on a low income, or if you can't come every week. It might be that you just want to try a few sessions, or you might want much longer. I am happy to work short-term or longer, whatever feels right for you. We can regularly review the counselling to check how things are going and whether you're getting what you want out of it.
What happens when I contact you? If you telephone or leave a telephone number, I can get back to you as soon as I am able by telephone. We could arrange via email a day and time to speak by telephone. We’ll then arrange a time to meet in person for a first session.
What happens at the first session? The first session is an opportunity for us to meet and for you to decide if counselling with me is right for you. It is also for me to understand a bit about your situation and get a feel for whether I think counselling with me can help. You''ll have an opportunity to get a feel for the counselling room and see how if feels for you to be talking to me. Hopefully this will help you decide if you want to go ahead with the counselling and we can agree what happens next.
It’s not unusual to feel nervous and anxious, especially when you first come for counselling. I understand that, and I’ll do what I can to help you feel more at ease.
More questions? Please do contact me and I’ll do what I can to answer your questions.
You can find out more about counselling from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy at www.bacp.co.uk.