I offer counselling for stress, anxiety, depression, life transitions, relationship issues, sexual abuse, trauma and substance misuse. Finding a counsellor you can trust to help you make sense of your concerns is important. I provide experienced, caring and confidential counselling based on what you would like to change and using your ideas about what works for you. Contact me for a friendly chat and we can decide if I am the right person to support you with your difficulties.
Counselling is an opportunity to work on things in your life and to find more satisfying and rewarding ways of living. Research shows that therapy can be very helpful for many people and that most clients leave counselling feeling much better than when they started. However, research also shows that the more clients know about therapy before they start, and the more they put into it, the more they are likely to get out of it. Read on to find out about the counselling I offer and how you can make it as helpful as possible for you.
A counselling ‘menu’
There are many ways of helping you and it is possible to think of these as options on a counselling ‘menu’. You decide what you would most like to work on with my support. Some of the issues that people often choose to focus on are:
- talking through an issue in order to make sense of what has happened and to put things in perspective
- making sense of a specific problematic event that sticks in your mind
- problem-solving, planning and decision-making
- changing behaviour
- negotiating a life transition or developmental crisis
- dealing with difficult feelings and emotions
- finding, analysing and acting on information
- undoing self-criticism and enhancing self-care
- dealing with difficult or painful relationships
Often people find it most helpful to work on these issues on a step-by-step basis. One of the ways that counselling may help is to identify and disentangle the various strands of the problem and help you to decide what needs to be dealt with first.
A flexible, personalised approach to helping you
The counselling that I offer is based on the belief that people who come for counselling are experts on their own lives (even if they don’t feel like they are) who have lots of potentially good ideas about how to deal with their problems. I believe one of the main roles of a counsellor is to help the person to make best use of their own experience and understanding.
This means that I try to be as flexible as possible in responding to your needs (known as the ‘pluralistic approach’ to counselling). Different people are helped in different ways. For instance, some people may find expressing their feelings most helpful. Others prefer to take a rational approach to their problems and use counselling to think things through. It’s possible that you could change over the course of counselling from finding one kind of activity helpful to preferring to work in a different way.
The following suggestions are some of the ways you might prepare yourself to get the most out of counselling:
Thinking about what you want from counselling
It is important for me to know what it is that you want to achieve in counselling – what your goals are. A good outcome of counselling depends on getting what you came for.
When counselling begins it can be difficult to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Most people have maybe only a vague sense of what they hope to get from counselling. This is perfectly normal – I will encourage you to talk about your goals and we will work together to make them clearer. It is fine to have lots of goals or just one goal and it is okay for your goals to change. What is important is to let me know what it is that you want from therapy.
One of the ways that you can get the most out of therapy is to spend some time on your own thinking about your goals before the first session and between sessions. It can be useful to write down your goals so you don’t forget them.
Thinking about what you think will be most helpful for you
There are big differences between people and what they find helpful in counselling. There is little point trying to work with you to tackle a problem in a particular way if you think that the approach being taken is a waste of time. It is very useful then if you can think about what you believe might work best for you and share these ideas with me. Try to think of times when life has been difficult before and identify what was helpful or not helpful for you at these times. You might also think about what you have heard from friends or family, or seen in the media, about how counselling can help. For instance, some people find it useful to be taught how to behave in different ways, others find it useful to ‘let it all out’ and others might like to try to solve problems in practical ways. Whatever you think is most helpful to you, I will try to help you with this.
Identifying your own personal strengths and resources
Part of my job is to help you to identify your existing strengths and resources, and work out how you can apply them in your current situation. You have a range of skills, experiences, relationships and abilities that I believe can be used to help with your present problems. Engaging in or re-connecting with hobbies, interests, activities, supports and relationships and recognising your personal qualities can be helpful when you are facing difficulties. It is useful if you can make a list of your strengths and resources and to share this information with me.