Human beings have a tendency to repeat patterns of behaviour, and even when they would like to change they often find themselves unable to do so. Counselling is widely recognized as an effective way of dealing with personal problems that stem from unhealthy behaviour patterns; understanding them, addressing them and moving on.
The counselling relationship is different from other social relationships. It is limited to the counselling session and the confidential counselling space, so it can provide a safe environment in which to investigate past and present feelings and relationships. Exploring your concerns can often help you understand your strengths and build on them to support the changes you want to make.
At first it can be difficult to think or talk about feelings – you may feel embarrassed or ashamed – but with the guidance of a counsellor it becomes easier. Rather than give advice, the aim of counselling is to help you think about choices and options that you may not have considered before. By understanding more about yourself, and by developing a greater self-awareness, the aim is to find different ways of thinking about and dealing with painful situations or feelings.
In a typical counselling or psychotherapeutic setting, a therapist meets with a client in private and will explore any difficulties/distress the client may be experiencing in confidence. Sessions last 60 minutes each and are usually scheduled weekly but can be on a more ad hoc basis to be arranged between you and your counsellor. Counselling is more likely to succeed once clients are open to believing that they can change their feelings and that their happiness is not dependent upon something or somebody else.
Counselling and Therapy can help in some of the following ways:
The potential benefits of counselling are many. Through being listened to and through us working together for your benefit, you can gradually find resources and solutions. In my experience as a counsellor working with couples, groups and individuals, the following areas are likely to improve:
Counselling or Therapy sessions provide you with a secure space in which to talk freely and openly - in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family - to a person who neither judges nor offers advice. Counselling can help deal with various difficulties and challenges in life and empower to make changes that we want in order to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. During sessions you are gently encouraged to explore various aspects of life that may be troubling you. By listening with empathy, attention and patience your therapist will attempt to understand the difficulties from your point of view and help you find a fresh perspective on your situation. As the trust between you and your therapist builds, you will be encouraged to look at aspects of your life, relationships and yourself, which you may not have thought of or felt able to face before. This experience can enable release, reduce pain and deepen awareness as to the underlying causes of distress. It is a way of facilitating choice or change and reducing confusion.
Therapeutic counselling offers safe, confidential, supportive and creative space where we can be free to explore our difficult thoughts and feelings. Through a therapeutic relationship with a counsellor and exploration of our past experiences, we can make sense of our present difficulties and begin the process of greater self-awareness, self-acceptance, healing and growth. Many people, at some point in their lives, find themselves struggling with problems such as, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship issues and bereavement. Counselling sessions aim to support you while we figure things out together. The aim is to give you the strength and clarity to take control of your life and to achieve success, vitality and contentment. Talking to a counsellor offers a neutral and reflective space that offers support in dealing with overwhelming thoughts, helping you to find deeper understanding, a different perspective and sense of direction, as well as the ability to make decisions and take choices. Discussing current issues can help to make sense of how the past is shaping your present, identifying destructive patterns, and behaviours that may be affecting your day-to-day life.
Life is not an easy process. Sometimes we can feel unprepared and unsure how to deal with what life throws our way. We see therapy as a place where you can explore and discover things about yourself as well as look at any specific problems. As we are not part of your immediate circle, we can offer a different perspective. We offer a safe, caring, non-judgemental environment in which to explore any issues you might wish to bring. As your counsellor, we will not tell you what to do nor will we give advice. We will not analyse you or give you a diagnosis. Your first face-to-face appointment with us is an opportunity for you to see whether you would like to work with us. During this session we need to obtain certain practical information from you. Then the main focus is to find out why you are coming to see us and what is spoiling your life at this moment. To this end, we will ask you some questions so that we can understand you more fully as a person with a past, present and future. What we will do is listen to you, your experiences, your feelings and worries, and work with you to see things more clearly, reduce confusion and enable you to move forward. You and we will explore, if possible and time permitting, what you would like to achieve as a result of your therapy with us. At the end of the session we will discuss our recommendations with you. There is no obligation for you to book any further appointment unless you want to. All sessions are carried out on a strictly confidential basis.
During subsequent sessions our style of counselling / therapy will be more interactive and responsive, often expanding, deepening and prompting your feelings and thoughts on the basis of information we receive from you. The aim of our work with you is to facilitate your understanding of yourself, to clarify your own needs and wants and to work on better interpersonal relationships so that your life becomes richer and more satisfying. We will never judge you. Our attitude to our clients is one of total acceptance as he or she is at present - not simply of what that person might become. We provide a non-judgmental and supportive place for you to safely talk and be listened to. As a therapist who is willing to share your distress we are interested in the bigger picture which has been creating your distress. We try to create an atmosphere to foster your sense of safety and trust. Within such an environment you might start to feel comfortable talking about things which you have not discussed with other people before.
We don't see therapy as something that always needs to be serious and focus on difficulties. We believe in using humour and also in looking at and celebrating what is working well in our lives. Our approach is to see ourselves as someone who can access a variety of ways of working depending on you and to go with you on a creative journey of discovery. We try to be as open-minded and sensitive as possible. However, we do not give advice or offer solutions. We aim to provide you with a warm, authentic relationship where you have the space to express yourself, to make discoveries and to grow.