My Counselling & Psychotherapy Approach
I am originally trained in what's known as 'Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling', which basically means that I work by building a professional relationship with each of my clients based on compassion, trust, empathy, genuineness and acceptance (plus a good laugh occasionally where appropriate!). Data from contemporary psychotherapy research clearly indicates that what "works" best in counselling and psychotherapy is essentially the quality of the relationship between the therapist and client, which I always prioritise.
Nowadays, I strongly believe in an 'integrative', or even 'pluralistic' approach to therapy - everybody is different and has individual needs/wants when accessing therapy. I don't believe that any one therapeutic approach or modality holds all the answers. I'm also not the kind of therapist to be overly passive and 'sit and nod' (which is unfortunately a common perception of person-centred therapists). I'll be encouraging us to work safely and collaboratively - like detectives - on exploring relevant past relationship dynamics, behavioural patterns, socio-cultural-economic experiences and sometimes even transpersonal themes (where appropriate) which might inform your present issues - and hopefully overcome them.
We'll often also be co-formulating goals and/or directions in the beginning stages of therapy, and I'll occasionally introduce the offer of exercises that work towards specific solutions (e.g. action plans, journaling or behavioural activation techniques).
The key factor is that we work together cooperatively and I will guide you through the process, with the emphasis being that you are always empowered and in the drivers seat.
Face to Face Counselling
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many therapists offer a choice of face-to-face and online videocall counselling. Whilst I value the opportunity to do online counselling very much (for some this may be the only option), I still primarily prefer face-to-face work since it offers a much richer experience of relating, a broader scope to explore practical therapeutic exercises/techniques and provides a guaranteed private and safe space away from the rest of your life.
The Counselling Room
I work from my counselling room (see pictures below) which is situated on the first floor/upstairs of my home. It is a warm, private and safe space, on a small residential street just off Hucknall High Street (you'd never know there was a main road around the corner!). I do have wheelchair access into the house, however sessions would need to be conducted on the ground floor in my front/living room - please ask for further information if these are your requirements.
Transport links are very good, with the NET tram service stopping only a short walk away (3-4 minutes) and the Trent Barton 'Threes' service stopping regularly on Hucknall high street, just around the corner from me. Specific information on how to get to me can be provided upon request.
There is a small residential car park next to the house with a single guest parking space (indicated by a yellow sign), but I cannot guarantee this will free unfortunately. Please be aware this is a narrow street and it can be difficult to get in/out with larger cars!
Alternatively, there are several free and/or cheap carparks along the High Street such as behind the 'Lighthouse' charity shop or slightly further away 'Piggins Croft' carpark, just off Yorke Street at the back of Wilkinson's'. There is also the free NET Tram Park & Ride only 3-4 minute walk away.
Online Videocall Counselling
I've been conducting online videocall counselling and psychotherapy for several years now. Whilst certainly not a substitute, I see it as a different way of working and it is already fast becoming a new format for therapies in the NHS, charity and private sector organisations. It's been a wonderful tool that has opened up my ability to work with international clients, those in different parts of the UK and those that prefer a blended approach of face-to-face and online work.
The basic principles remain the same as stated in the sections above. However, you will of course be bringing something of your own environment into the meeting too (or wherever you choose to do videocall) and this can mean a big difference in the dynamic.
Some of the benefits of online videocall counselling and psychotherapy are:
Health and safety - during the covid-19 pandemic, online videocall was the primary option for therapy and ensured safety for many peoples health.
Convenience - working online means that you can cut out the travel time to and from therapy.
Broader therapeutic media - sometimes with online therapy, it can be useful to have the capacity to share media links that are appropriate and beneficial to your therapy. This might be certain songs, inspirational videos, essays etc. that can be shared instantly.
Ability to meet over a large distance (I've worked with people all over the UK and international clients)
I primarily use Zoom for my online therapy videocalls, although I can use Skype as an alternative. I recommend you download the Zoom app (which is free) to your preferred device (PC, laptop or mobile) and ensure you have the correct video and audio settings configured to your liking. Once you have an account, we can also add each other as a 'contact' and call through the app directly when we are due to meet.
Alternatively, if you prefer not to download the app and register your own account, I can send an email link 5 minutes before our scheduled meeting which will grant you access to the videocall with a provided passcode.
Online therapy is reliant upon a stable internet connection (and this is never 100% guaranteed!). Please ensure you have the internet bandwidth capacity for this if you wish to meet online.
Privacy and Safeguarding
There is also the additional issue of privacy and potential safeguarding issues that may need to be discussed prior to online counselling. It's important to still have a safe, private space to engage in therapy - sometimes this is simply not possible from your home and face to face counselling may be more appropriate for you. There are several other things that may be considered to ensure you get the most out of our meetings - this can be discussed by email and/or an initial consultation. I will also send a further information sheet to you that highlights these considerations.