How Can Counselling Help me?
Counselling helps by helping you to get more clarity and perspective on your life and the issues you are facing. People often start counselling hoping it will make them 'happier', but ultimately counselling helps you to know and understand yourself better in order to face problems in a healthier way, which hopefully leads to a more fulfilling and enriched life (happiness is hopefully a part of that too!).
It isn't always an easy process and often starts out more difficult that many anticipate, but in my experience this is a good thing (like a detox) and it means you are on the right path towards a better life for you.
Some issues take a few sessions to tackle, others may take a lot longer. I'll be open and guide you towards what I believe will benefit you most, based on my experience. However, I never want anybody to feel obligated or trapped in therapy, my firm belief is that you are in the driving seat and if you wish to stop or pause at any moment, I won't be offended and value any decision you make.
The main thing is that we tackle whatever issues you have together, build a trusting alliance in order to help you and your life become what it needs to be and thrive.
What is Counselling?
Counselling is a term used to describe talking therapies, typically sought by those wishing to tackle, manage or overcome an issue which may be impacting their life in some undesirable way, with a professional and qualified counsellor and/or psychotherapist.
There are many forms of counselling approaches and many varied and unique reasons somebody might wish to embark with a counsellor.
I ultimately practice a pluralistic form of counselling, believing no one therapy alone is always sufficient, with the Person-Centred approach as my core professional philosophy (which means building an authentic, empathic and non-judgemental therapeutic relationship based in trust).
Is Therapy Confidential?
Yes. I conduct my therapy in line with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) - and Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI) - codes of ethical conduct.
In the event of an immediate safeguarding issue, I am duty bound by UK law to disclose issues of extreme risks of harm to self and/or others, either to your GP and/or the authorities. I will never do so without informing you prior to this decision though.
How Many Sessions Do I need?
This will differ for everybody. During an initial consultation, we will briefly discuss your reasons for attending therapy, what goals you may hope to work towards, or what specific issues you may wish to discuss. The amount of sessions may be something agreed on from the start, or an ongoing negotiation between the two of us.
There is no 'normal' when it comes to therapy length, but it is my belief that the 6 (or so) session model of therapy that many organisations use is one of a pragmatic benefit to the system, than that of the client - it can still be useful and helpful, but therapy at depth inevitably takes longer. It all really depends what it is that you want to work on.
Do you work with Children or Couples?
No, I am not currently trained to work with under 16's (although I have plenty of knowledge of child development, the UKCP stipulates that treating children requires specific training). I'd recommend seeking a specialist child psychologist or counsellor.
I do not work with couples (although, with your full consent, it might be appropriate to invite partners and family members to sessions intermittently if this will aid your therapy).
What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychotherapist?
There has never been a clear answer as far as I'm concerned! Some people suggest it is the differentiation between those with a certain level of qualification and/or accreditation. Others suggest it might be the length or type of work.
CBT for example is often differentiated from counselling, and counselling is seen as more associated with a pastoral or humanistic approach to something more 'in-depth' or 'meaty' such as psychodynamic therapy or psychoanalysis.
The reality is, it doesn't really matter - just ensure that whoever you are seeking help and support from has a good training behind them and ask yourself "do I actually like this person? Do they make me feel accepted, respected and understood?" - if not, they probably aren't the therapist for you!
Do you work with secondary care / psychiatric mental health conditions?
I will work with individuals who have significant secondary care issues (e.g. Schizophrenia, Bipolar) and/or diagnosed Personality Disorders, so long as there is a treatment plan in place and/or the condition is currently stable/managed.
During initial consultations, I will enquire about this information and any existing or historical support you have received. If during a consultation these issues are identified, I may offer to make a referral to your GP (with your consent), or signpost to more appropriate services to ensure your care and safety.