What is counselling?
Counselling is a 'talking therapy', and it offers a safe and confidential setting where you can explore and understand feelings and experiences that may be causing you general unhappiness, distress or concern, and make choices and changes that you want to make.
It involves a working agreement (or contract) between yourself and your Counsellor, and rather than offer opinions or give advice, the Counsellor will listen in a deeply understanding way, and without judgement or criticism.
Counselling is about enabling you to find your strengths and solutions for moving forward, so it does require openness and commitment. Whilst the Counsellor works alongside you, they do not provide a 'fix' or 'cure'.
There are different forms of counselling, yet the aim or purpose is often the same, such as enabling you to enhance your life, your relationships with others, and overall sense of wellbeing.
Why do people come for counselling?
There are many reasons why people come for counselling, such as bereavement, general unhappiness or dissatisfaction with life, recent or historical abuse, family and relationship issues, mental health issues, ill-health and disability, stress, confidence and self-esteem issues.
Perhaps the most important reason is that you feel you need it, and if something is bothering you it can be helpful to talk to someone who will listen and understand your perspective or experience. Many people really benefit from counselling.
How do I know if you are a qualified Counsellor?
I am listed on a register that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority, and only Counsellors that have been vetted and approved are on this register. You can view my details on the National Counselling Society website.
Are you a member of a professional body?
I am a registrant member of the National Counselling Society (NCS), and I work within their Code of Ethics. I am also subject to their complaints procedure currently in force.
How do I know if you are the right Counsellor for me?
I offer an introductory appointment in the first instance, and this provides an opportunity to establish if we could work well together. At this same appointment, we will talk a bit about counselling, your reasons for seeking counselling, and your personal aims.
If either of us decide that I am not the right Counsellor for you, I can offer details of others, or you can browse the established Counsellor sites, such as the Counselling Directory or Welldoing Directory.
What happens in an individual counselling session?
In an individual counselling session, we will always start where you want to start, and I offer a welcoming and relaxed space where you can be yourself, can talk in an open and honest way, and feel heard and understood.
As a Person-Centred Counsellor, I place an emphasis on feelings and emotions (I trust that addressing feelings and emotions leads to healing and change), yet we may also explore life events, your relationships, and patterns of behaviour.
Exploring feelings and emotions can be difficult, yet there are many creative ways of doing this, such as through the use of art materials, photos, writing, and even referring to images or metaphors.
At times I will challenge what I hear to enable you to reflect, or see things in a different way, yet this will always come from a place of support and genuineness, rather than criticism, judgement or blame.
We will spend an hour together, unless we have agreed an extended session. There will be time near the end of the session to reflect on what we have explored together.
How do you work with couples and families?
I can work with you from the age of 18, and I encourage an environment where you can talk, observe, and listen to one another. As the Counsellor, I will listen, respect and respond to everyone's experience, as opposed to 'take sides'.
We will have an hour and 30 minutes together, unless we have agreed an extended session. At the start of each session, everyone will have the opportunity to say what they would like to talk about, and an agenda will be set from this.
To aid communication, I may take on the role of mediator/translator, comment on what is happening in the room, and offer the opportunity to practice ‘speaker’ and ‘listener’.
My counselling areas include communication difficulties, trust issues, mental health issues, ill-health and disability, bereavement and loss, separation and divorce.
What are your counselling fees?
Individual appointments are charged at £40 for 1 hour, and couple and family appointments are charged at £50 for 1 hour 30 minutes. I do offer concessions, so if finances are a concern for you, please speak to me about this.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions depends on the nature of our work, however, I suggest an initial 6 sessions, with a review at session 6 to establish whether it's helpful to continue, pause, or stop altogether.
Short-term counselling is 6-12 sessions, and I also offer long-term counselling. All counselling work is reviewed on a regular basis.