What is counselling?

Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by things going on in your life so much that you are struggling to cope. Or perhaps you feel confused or alone with certain issues that you are experiencing and you're not sure where to turn. Talking to a trained professional can help.

Can you recall the last time you shared your problem with a friend or loved one and with good intentions they gave you advice and it left you feeling even more confused? A qualified counsellor will not do this and has had vigorous training which supports you in ways that facilitate your healing process. In my therapy sessions, you are in a safe environment where you are able to express yourself freely without being criticised or judged. Your sessions are confidential and I follow the ethical framework of the BACP. The counselling service I offer is designed to enable you to make the right life choices or changes for you.

Since each person is unique with his or her own experiences, I will use techniques that are based on the individual's circumstances. The number of sessions you may need depends on the circumstances. Some people may only need a few sessions whilst others may need several. This is up to you.

There are many different kinds of therapy, however, the counselling sessions that I offer are more focused on Person Centred and/or using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques and are explained below.

Person Centred Counselling

The Person Centred approach to counselling firmly holds the belief in every person's ability to become fully functioning and every person has within himself or herself the innate ability to move constructively towards their own creativity, fulfillment and life choices. This innate ability is often blocked or distorted by some of our life experiences including experiences where important people in our lives tell us we are only loved and accepted if we behave in certain ways or express certain feelings. Because we all have within us the need to feel accepted and valued, these experiences which we are told are not acceptable are often pushed out and denied from our awareness. This can leave us with feelings of confusion, unhappiness and a loss of our own sense of self and confidence in our abilities to live fulfilling and contented lives.

The Person Centred counsellor or psychotherapist aims to provide the client with an safe, encouraging environment where the client does not feel judged which in turn enables the client to explore some of these denied experiences and to accept more of who they are as a person. The counsellor therefore, is a facilitator of the client's own healing potential which enables the client to find their own way to move forward.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps to identify and explore how unhelpful automatic thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world around us can often lead us unconsciously to behave in unhelpful ways. The aim of CBT is to explore and identify in a safe environment how these unhelpful negative beliefs can affect our behaviour which in turn can often actually re-enforce our original negative beliefs that we hold of ourselves. A crucial aspect of CBT is for the therapist to provide a professional , non judgmental, safe and supportive environment where the client can begin to explore their own thoughts and beliefs about themselves and the world in which they live. CBT is a collaborative approach where client and therapist work together within their therapeutic relationship to begin the clients journey. Various CBT techniques can be employed during therapy in order to test out a persons core beliefs in order to challenge those beliefs and ultimately adapt them to more helpful and productive thoughts and beliefs about themselves. Techniques can be cognitive (recording negative thoughts) or behavioural (starting with small behavioural tasks to test out their beliefs), hence the description of cognitive behavioural therapy.