Counselling is the process by which I help you find new ways of dealing with thoughts, feelings and situations that you find difficult.
Whatever your problems, I will give you my undivided attention. When you're struggling to cope, I will do my best help you make sense of things. I believe you have it within yourself to find a way that works for you.
Sometimes problems can seem like an impossibly knotted ball of string - as soon as you untangle one bit, a knot appears elsewhere. Usually, that's because people try to solve problems using solutions that once worked well, but not anymore. The natural reaction is simply to try harder in applying solutions that no longer work. It's not your fault, human beings are just wired up that way – we are natural problem-solvers and our problems persist when our problem-solving strategies don’t work anymore.
Counselling works by helping you integrate your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations in a way that makes sense to you and reduces confusion. When you have a better perspective on your life, then the way is clear for self-development.
I can help you clear away confusion and find solutions to your problems.
Often the unmanageable problems that people experience in day-to-day living are the result of aspects of themselves that they're not aware of. When you become willing to see things differently, then you open up the possibility of becoming self-aware. Self-awareness is the foundation on which a new way of life may be built.
Self-awareness includes all of our senses, not just our thoughts. Most people have a bias towards either thinking about problems or responding to their problems in an emotional way. In my experience, we need to be able to think about and feel our problems in equal measure if we are to move forward in our lives. My approach encourages you to use emotional awareness, somatic (body) awareness, behavioural awareness and rational thinking to discover more about yourself and to find ways of dealing with your problems. This starts with thinking about what you might need from counselling.
It’s useful to think about what you might want from counselling. Everyone is different and the first session is for us to assess your needs, and to establish a way of working together. Here is a guide to help you think about what you might be seeking:
If you have a specific, well-defined area of concern, then short-term counselling might be right for you. The first focus in this type of counselling is on finding out if there are mixed signals between your thoughts, feelings and behaviour which are causing you to feel stuck. The second focus is on helping you find a way to integrate these signals and develop a more completed sense of yourself, including your thoughts, feelings, desires, intentions and behaviour.
Sometimes we get stuck with problems which started much earlier in life, perhaps in childhood. They become so familiar to us that it seems they become part of who we are. We want to solve our longstanding problems, but we are scared of who we will become – so we get stuck. Long-term work involves gently and slowly exploring your feelings and perceptions, so that change happens at a pace that is right for you.
I normally recommend that you see me weekly, for the first six to twelve weeks, to keep the experience of therapy fresh in your mind, and help you track your development from one week to the next. However, some people like to space their sessions out because of time/money pressures, or simply because they prefer a more reflective style of working. Whether you want sessions weekly, fortnightly or just at times when you feel you need extra support, I work flexibly to accommodate your needs.
Sometimes I work with people who have a specific aim in mind, which may not seem directly related to therapy. Whether you are a counsellor in training, or you require greater knowledge in counselling-related skills or theory, I will be happy to provide a bespoke service tailored to your development needs.
The approaches I have described in the preceding sections, above, are not fixed patterns of therapy: I work flexibly in response to your needs. Three questions that I will ask you in therapy are; “How do you feel therapy is going?”, “What do you find most helpful?” and “How will you know when you’ve got what you need?” Your answers to these questions will change as you change and will shape the approach I take in your counselling sessions.