Sometimes life can be testing. It can threaten both our sense of self and our emotional well-being. This can lead to a variety of feelings, including inner turmoil, isolation, confusion, distress, anger and or pain. At these times, it can be helpful to use the quiet, reflective and confidential space offered by the counselling setting to help us process our life circumstances, so that we can make more sense of them and find a more satisfying way of being.
What happens in counselling?
I aim to provide a setting where you can tell your story at a rate and pace that is right for you. As you speak, I will remain attentive to your thoughts, feelings and experiences, so that I can reflect these back to you in a way that enables you to feel heard, understood and thought about. This requires a certain level of listening and stillness in me, the counsellor. Initially, this may feel a bit strange and disconcerting, since most of us have never experienced being truly listened to before.
As you become more comfortable with this type of listening, you should find that you are able to reveal more of yourself and share parts of yourself that have often lay hidden. I am likely to encourage you to look more closely at some of the significant moments, relationships and or encounters that have occurred in your life, so that you can reflect on how these may have impacted upon who you have become. As we explore these experiences together, you should begin to notice that new thoughts, feelings, ideas and insights emerge about yourself and the world around you. Over time, you should also start to feel as if you come to know yourself and others better, that you feel more at ease with yourself and that you feel more in control of your life.
What about counselling for young people (18-25)?
Yes, I offer counselling to young people. Having worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and with adults for some years, I have a good understanding of the impact of different developmental stages on us. I recognise that managing the transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a challenging, lonely and confusing time and I am ease with supporting young people as they search for a sense of identity, purpose and belonging.
Listening to the music behind your words…….
But do I really need counselling?
If you are looking at this website, then it is probably a sign that something in your life does not feel quite right and that you would benefit from counselling. If you contact me by phone, then we can discuss it a little more and you can decide whether or not to take it any further.
I feel apprehensive about coming for counselling.
Taking the decision to enter in to counselling can be nerve wracking. We might feel ashamed or embarrassed of our difficulties. We may fear feeling vulnerable or exposed. These are all normal worries. I recognise that overcoming these anxieties and contacting a counsellor takes great courage. As a result, I do my best to foster a safe and trusting relationship from the very beginning. Over time, your worries about coming for counselling should subside and you should begin to settle in to the process.
What if I don’t feel I can work with you, the counsellor?
I believe that the quality of our relationship is fundamental to the success of counselling. It is important that you feel a sense of connectedness when you are with me. If, when you speak to me or meet me, you feel that you cannot work with me, then it is OK to say so. You are free to seek out a different counsellor at any time.
My preferred approach is psychodynamic which has its roots in psychoanalysis, one of the oldest and most established forms of therapy available. Psychodynamic counselling is less intense than psychoanalysis, with sessions being offered less frequently and on a more short-term basis. It is founded on the belief that our early life experiences have a profound impact upon who we become as adults, regardless of whether we are fully aware of this or not. By developing a greater understanding of such processes, the psychodynamic approach aims to facilitate positive change in your life.
Whilst the psychodynamic approach is my favoured approach, I have worked for many years in mental health services and during this time I have received training and acquired skills in other areas of practice, including assessment of neurodevelopmental issues, completion of graded exposure work and the use of creative therapies. Where appropriate, I may integrate aspects of these approaches in to my work.
Essentially, psychodynamic counselling aims to help us understand how our early relationships with significant others influences who we become and how we experience the world. Often we may not be entirely conscious of how these early relationships have impacted upon our present-day interactions, emotions, behaviours and thought patterns. By engaging in psychodynamic counselling, we are enabled to become more aware of these influences and so gain greater control of how we behave within relationships, so that we can feel more content with ourselves, our relationships and our lives.
As part of this process, I am likely to encourage you to explore how current thoughts, feelings and behaviour may be connected to your past experiences and to consider how some of these issues may be impacting on your relationships to others. I strongly believe that how we relate to each other in the room is a reflection of your relationships outside the counselling room and therefore, I may well encourage you to reflect upon how you are experiencing me in the room. I may also support you to reflect more deeply on your inner thoughts and feelings and try to enable you to stay in the moment within sessions, so that you can experience your feelings more fully.
In truth, exploring ourselves in this way can be both uncomfortable and frightening at times. However, over the years, I have seen how this approach has enabled many clients feel lighter and somehow relieved of ‘something’, whilst also finding new and more satisfying ways of being, feeling happier in their relationships and having a clearer sense of purpose. This in turn has led them to live more fulfilling lives and ultimately allowed them to end their counselling sessions with me.