What is Counselling?
Counselling is a unique, one-to-one relationship between two people who agree to meet privately and regularly for a period of time with the aim of restoring emotional well-being to you.
The therapeutic relationship is different from any other relationship as it is focused 100% on you. It allows you a safe place to be yourself and to say what you truly feel in confidence without fear of judgment, criticism or unwanted advice.
Talking about your feelings is a necessary part of therapy, which might seem strange at first, especially if you are used to bottling things up. When something is getting you down, counselling can help you gain a clearer understanding of your emotions. Feeling that these are OK allows you to deal better with whatever is in your path at this moment in time, as well as whatever has happened in the past. I will listen to you carefully, paying attention to the things that matter to you. When you cannot see the wood for the trees, I can help you to see your own strengths, resources and opportunities you may not have seen before. This can enable you to focus on feelings, experience or behaviour, with a goal to facilitating positive change.
The counselling relationship is a professional one and the boundaries and expectations of it are different from a friendship. For example, I will not meet you socially or expect you to remember my birthday. I am also required to keep brief notes of in-session work together which you are anonymised in. These notes are held in confidence by me after your engagement has ended. You can request to see your notes at any time of your choosing.
The frequency of sessions can be arranged to suit your needs but is usually weekly at the beginning. I prefer to see clients, on the same day and time where possible and each session lasts 50 minutes unless longer sessions have been arranged.
After three sessions, I will review how things are going with you to check what you find helpful and what, if anything, might not be helping you. I find it mutually beneficial if you can say honestly what you feel during the review as I can adapt and tailor my approach to suit you better.
As a registered member of the BACP and in compliance with their ethical framework I attend regular Clinical Supervision. Professional supervision is essential to good practice as it helps support both yours and my own well-being and my ethical practice. Put simply, it is where I take an aspect of my counselling work with you to discuss with another trained therapist (the supervisor) with the intention of gaining a deeper understanding of the issue. Your name and any facts that could identify you are anonymised and not told to the supervisor unless you give your permission.
Finally, there is never any obligation to continue with sessions once you feel ready to stop.
When you first contact me by phone, email or text, whichever you are comfortable with, I may not always be able to answer straight away. However, I will reply to your request as soon as is practical. Once we have made contact and an initial therapy session has been agreed. I will send you an agreement by email for you to sign and return. The agreement covers all matters of a contractual nature, length of sessions, fees, confidentiality.
During our first counselling session, I will ask questions about you and your life. Typically, questions will be why you sought therapy, your personal history and current situation and any symptoms you may have. This information helps me to make an initial assessment of your situation.
The therapeutic relationship is built on trust and I am happy to answer any questions you may have and offer clarification on anything you are unsure about during our sessions.