Hi there, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing to look at my website, and also to explain to you a little bit about myself and how I work. Hopefully, by doing this you will be able to gain a slight insight into what I have to offer and will be able to decide if my way of working would suit you as an individual.
At the beginning, what can you expect?
When we first meet, this is when an assessment is done. I look to understand what your current difficulties are, and take some background information from you. This helps me gain insight of your past experiences, your current situation alongside giving me an understanding of what it is you aim to get out of counselling. The information you provide me with should give me an indication of if I am the right counsellor for you or not. Then if not, hopefully, I will be able to signpost you in the right direction.
I guess you could consider the assessment more as a two-way street, as equally, this is also your opportunity to see if you feel I am someone you would be happy to work with, and also talk to in great depth. What matters the most I guess, is when we meet it just “feels” right for you.
Subsequently, if we both agree counselling is going to be beneficial to you, we then go through the contract. The contact is a very important verbal agreement between us both which helps me to keep you safe. On the day we meet I will give you quite a few examples of how and why I would endeavour to keep you safe. And then, if you feel happy about our contract, our counselling session will commence.
How I will view you as a person, and how this has an impact on how I chose to work with you.
I work in a highly non-judgemental manner, meaning I am not looking to criticise you or condemn you in any shape or form for any of your past or present experiences, or any of your thoughts. I work from the viewpoint that we are always responding to our environment, that we are all individually unique, and understand that for some of us, our environments may have been so bad, that we might of adapted coping mechanisms, that although the coping mechanism’s themselves maybe viewed as unhealthy, were necessary to us at that point in our lives, as inevitably, it was our only way of coping with the present moment, or at the very severe end of the scale, it was ultimately, our only way of survival.
Alongside this, I believe we always know what is best for us, and that you are the expert on you. You know what hurts, and you also know what heals. I look to you for your answers. I don’t give you advice, but I help you to search deep within yourself to gain your own clarity and to know your own way forward.
The Counselling Process
Through the counselling process, we go on what I consider to be, a psychological journey together. You are always in control. You are the leader of the journey. I always go at your pace, never rushing you, and I only go to the places you feel you’re ready to take me. I’m not going to force you up a hill you don’t have the energy to climb; I always look to you for the direction. For example, even if there is a fork in your chosen path, and you are uncertain of which path to take, I help you weigh up and look at your options, but the decision of the best way forward always lies within you. However, sometimes on our journey, you may take me to a very dark cave, that you may have visited frequently, and when this happens I may be able to help by shining a light between the cracks, helping to illuminate things for you.
Although I have never been on your journey before I know what tools I need to bring with me in order to keep you in a psychologically safe place, and this is a place, where you ultimately, have complete control. The journey is an inward one, and guides you on a path of self-discovery, finding the “real you”.
If I had to describe myself as an object to you (regarding the way I work) I guess I would say I was a mirror. The reason I say this is because I help you to take a clearer look at yourself, hopefully removing any severe distortions you may have in place, helping you to see yourself, more clearly and realistically.
As we work together I help you to have self-awareness, through self-understanding. Sometimes I may suggest books for you to read so I can provide you with a deeper understanding of a topic (relevant to any difficulties you may be experiencing) I may also give you work to take home such as thought records if we both feel this is something that would help you.
So then, how does change happen?
Through the process of forming a non-judgemental relationship with you, in which you are free to express yourself openly and honestly, and most importantly, in which you are free to be you. We should be able to form an in-depth understanding, and be able to define together (with great clarity) what problems are standing in the way of you moving forward to the quality of life, or way of being you desire.
If the problems or difficulties you are experiencing, have been around for quite some time, so much so, that they have just become ingrained and a part of who you are, then for some, change may be desirable, though equally (and understandably) very scary.
Working together we will be able to explore in depth, any fears or false beliefs you have about yourself, others, or the world, that may be getting in the way of you having the quality of life you want.
Once we have a good understanding of the problem, we can then look at goal setting together. To do this I measure with you, how your problem is affecting you in the here and now, and then we seek together to put a realistic, achievable, time scaled, action plan in place. Again, the action plan will be specifically tailored to you as a unique individual. The action plan will consist of the choices you make, as you have all the control. I believe this also helps to ensure you are not being set up to fail. You are the person who knows you best, you know what is realistic to you, and you also know what is achievable when it comes to your own goals.
So what if you’ve tried that before, it didn’t work, and you feel change is impossible?
Because change can be scary I recognise that for a lot of people they have a strong desire for change, however sometimes resistance sets in, and what they desire, and their actions may not actually match up.
In my experience of working with clients in the past, I have found this to be quite common. Therefore for me as a Counsellor, it is imperative I work equally with both parts of you (the parts that equally want opposing outcomes). For example, if you have a certain kind of addiction and you desperately want to change I work with the part of you that wants to change, and desires a better quality of life, alongside the part of you that finds yourself repeating the addictive behaviour over and over again, almost making you feel like you’re stuck on a treadmill wanting to move forward, but not actually getting anywhere.
Many of my clients have found working with them in this way to be very illuminating and helpful, as our actions and behaviour patterns are always speaking to us considerably louder than our words.
For example, for some people, this may be a self-sabotaging part of their personality that prevents them from moving forwards towards self-development and personal growth. Perhaps this part of you affects your relationships? (although this part of you could ultimately show up in many areas of your life) and you may feel as though there is this very ‘large’ part of you that is craving so desperately for a close and meaningful romantic relationship, so much so, you feel exceptionally lonely and isolated, and this leads you into a downward spiral making you feeling depressed.
Yet equally, alongside that part of you, there is the ‘other’ part of you. The part every time someone manages to get even slightly close you, you manage to easily push them away, and you have a history of doing so. This happens when you have an inner conflict of mixed emotions, both of which want opposing outcomes. No wonder your left feeling so mixed up and confused. And yet I believe in order for change to occur, both these parts need to be voiced, expressed, heard, explored and understood before you can experience any balance, alongside positive and constructive change.
A few examples of some areas that people may find themselves stuck
Stuck in Toxic Relationships
The part of us that stays stuck in a toxic relationship but desperately wants out, versus the part of us that needs to stay.
There are many different reasons that people may seek counselling. For example, some people may be stuck in a toxic relationship with an abusive partner, and not be able to leave, even though it makes no logical sense to themselves, why they actually stay. Therefore, for a deeper understanding of why they stay stuck, there is a possibility the answers we are looking for, could be found within the subconscious. Again working with these different parts I feel, helps us to work together to have a deeper understanding of the root cause of the problem itself.
Stuck in a Toxic Relationship with Ourselves
Think about it for a minute, if you are in a toxic relationship with your partner, you can always have a little time (at some point hopefully) without him/her, can’t you. But what if the person you are having a toxic relationship with is actually yourself?
Well, for a start you never get a break from yourself. As strange as this concept may first sound, I believe the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship of all.
The reason I say this is if we view ourselves from a highly critical position, and we are really hard on ourselves, listening to our own inner critical voice, putting ourselves down, beating ourselves up, for things we did do, or simply failed to do. If we are telling ourselves on a consistent basis, how worthless we are, how unlovable we are, we begin to believe it. Yet ironically enough, if you had a friend who repeated these awful things to you, like a record on repeat, relentlessly, I imagine you would be trying to avoid them like the plague!
So you see, I believe strongly, that if we want truly meaningful relationships with others, we must begin with the relationship we are having with ourselves. Because if you have a very low self-worth, and no self-acceptance whatsoever, then ultimately you will never allow anyone else to accept you, so you unconsciously, may continually push others away and distance yourself from the very closeness you are yearning for and desire.
Stuck in a situation, for example, you don’t know if you should stay or leave your partner
Have you ever found yourself lying in bed awake until 3 am in the morning, with the same dilemma going around and around in your head? You may have a big decision to make, and simply not know which path to choose. It may be you’re in a relationship, something has happened, and you simply do not know what path to take. You can’t decide if you should make up or break up?
You have a lot of friends who may be quick to give you advice, but they haven’t walked in your shoes, so can never fully understand what your relationship means in its entirety to you. And whilst it is great to have supportive friends, how often do you really take their advice on board?
I strongly believe your true answers to all your dilemmas lie within yourself. I work with each of your conflicting emotions and thoughts, allowing you to take a bird’s eye view of your inner conflicts and come to the resolution that feels right for you.
In counselling, we work not only with our brains but with our feelings. Whilst you can begin to understand behaviour intellectually, you can only fully understand yourself from getting in touch with your emotions. As your emotions become clearer to you, you begin to realise your feelings are not optional extras that can be ignored, but they are the very centre of yourself. Whenever our emotions are genuinely engaged, there is always the opportunity for personal growth and development. This is true experiential learning, which is how we have learned anything of importance right from birth.
In order to engage with you effectively, I work as an integrative therapist and may use different types of therapy depending on your individual needs. I could possibly do this by incorporating Person Centred Therapy (PCT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and Psychodynamic Therapy, skills and techniques. I could also integrate Inner Child Therapy, Transactional Analysis (TA) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness, tools and techniques within therapy.
Mind (Mental Health)
I have worked as a Counsellor at Mind working with individuals who have experienced a wide range of issues such as;
- Personality disorders
I have also worked for Cruse Bereavement working with people who have experienced significant losses in their lives. Alongside the emotionally and physically crippling effects of losing a beloved, people can also be severally affected by loss in a number of ways;
- Loss of a beloved pet
- Loss of a romantic relationship
- Loss of a job
- Loss of a friendship
- Loss of a personal dream
Emotional Symptoms of Grieving
- Increased irritability
- Preoccupation with loss
- Inability to show or experience joy
Physical Symptoms of Grieving
- Digestive problems
- Chest Pain
- Sore Muscles
Highlighting I feel, what affects us emotionally, equally affects us physically.
New Pathways (Historical Childhood Abuse, Rape and Trauma)
I currently work with adult men and women at New Pathways specialising in historical childhood abuse, rape and trauma.
Child abuse can happen in different ways, and can include neglect as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse; in many cases, people experience more than one type of abuse.
Often, people abuse others because they want power and control over them. If you were abused as a child, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault or because of anything that you did. Abusive behaviour towards children is always wrong and never the child’s fault.
Everyone is different. It’s not easy to know exactly how you will feel as an adult living with past experiences of being abused. You may have reported the abuse as a child, lived with it in secret for years, or only recently remembered the abuse you experienced. However, it’s possible that at some time in your adult life your memories or fears will come back, which can lead to some very intense emotions.
Different life experiences can trigger these emotions, including bereavement, becoming a parent, experiencing an unrelated crime, moving to a new area, and current news stories in the media.
Not everybody who has experienced childhood abuse will also experience emotional or mental health difficulties. However, some people may experience the following symptoms that last into adulthood:
- Post-Traumatic Stress
- Sleep Problems
- Self-Harm and/ or suicidal thoughts
Counselling helps you to recognise how your past experiences may be affecting you in the present moment. Some people may experience some or all of the following difficulties;
- Forming and maintaining meaningful romantic relationships
- Have a history of choosing the wrong partner
- Trust difficulties
- Low self-esteem
- Sexual Difficulties
- Anger (outwards, or turned inwards)
- Confusion over sexuality
Training, qualifications & experience
- Personality Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Engaging with adults who have been sexually abused
- A Taste of Mindfulness for Counsellors
- Love and Loss: The Roots of Complicated Bereavement
- Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling
- Ascentis Certificate, Awareness in Bereavement Care: The Foundation Course
- Mental Health First Aid
- ASSIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training)
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Attachment disorder
- Bipolar disorder/Manic depression
- Borderline personality disorder
- Carer support
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Personality disorders
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship issues
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress