My core counselling approach is Humanistic, which holds a belief in the ability of the individual to develop emotionally. So, by being listened to with empathy and without being judged, you talk about how you feel and think in the moment, and understand how life events have brought you to where you are. This helps you gain awareness and acceptance of your circumstances, and to find ways to be more fulfilled – with or without making major changes to your life.
My style is friendly, supportive – and occasionally humorous. I don’t give advice or make constant suggestions to try to put things ‘right’. You find solutions through the process. Counselling is a therapeutic dialogue which helps you to develop the self-esteem and confidence you need to lead a more fulfilled life. Sometimes I offer written personal development exercises to help deepen thought and reflection. It is really encouraging to see a client gain an insight or new perspective that enables them to move forward.
“Coming through cancer treatment, you have helped me to think through what has happened to me, what I have been through, and to get a broader perspective. Through your counselling, I became aware of the blame and guilt that I felt, and you have helped me to challenge my thinking. I like the fact that there is also a practical aspect to your approach.”
AL, cancer survivor
When seeing clients who have anxiety I blend in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), by examining and challenging negative thoughts, and gaining new perspectives. I offer CBT exercises to deal with these debilitating thoughts and the ‘critical voice’ many of us have.
I also offer CBT Mindfulness and visualisation, through relaxation exercises. This is purposefully paying attention to yourself and what is around you, learning to put the ‘hub bub’ of life to one side. This ‘creates space’ in your mind to feel calmer, less stressed, and to be more alive to what is around you.
Counselling sessions are 50 minutes. The first session is an assessment, when I take your details, you outline your situation and we set goals for the counselling. I work by a simple agreement which sets out our commitment to each other. We will formulate a counselling programme and discuss how many sessions you might need, working within your budget.
Counselling is entirely confidential, other than if issues of harm arise from what you say. For more information see About.
How long will the counselling process take?
There are no ‘quick fixes’ for emotional distress; this can be deep rooted and takes time to work through. However, I am always mindful of a client’s budget, and some people find just a few sessions help them to gain self-awareness and learn self-help techniques. We work with goals and check regularly how we are progressing towards them. A course of six sessions is the standard offered in many NHS settings (often limited to CBT).
I recommend weekly sessions to start with, as this pace gives you time to process thoughts, feelings and change without losing momentum. After a few weeks some clients then move to fortnightly; some return for ‘top up’ monthly, or occasional, sessions.
How might counselling affect you?
You might feel confused and ‘lower’ in mood in the early stages of counselling, although many clients say they feel good having talked about things for the first time. Progress may not be a smooth curve, but if we set goals carefully (and develop them as you go along) you should see improvements in mood and behaviour within a few sessions.
Could counselling affect your relationships?
It is up to you whether you tell anyone close to you about counselling. Support from family members can be invaluable but they may feel concerned or even threatened by the possible changes that you might go through. Your relationships are often part of our dialogue and we can discuss how you cope with these through counselling. I often explore with clients how they can help their partners and others close to them adapt to the changes with them.
We can talk before you commit to counselling
I offer an initial, no cost, telephone conversation of up to 30 minutes for you to outline your situation and see how my counselling could help. Please phone or email me to make a mutually convenient time for this.