I am familiar and experienced with working on a one to one basis with people presenting with a wide range of problems that beset them. Some people come into counselling with a clear idea of a particular issue they would like some help with. Others, only have a vague idea that there is an underlying unhappiness or are uncomfortable with their lives and not quite sure how best to deal with it, they only know they want help and in the first instance will contact me to arrange a consultation.
How I work
The consultation is an opportunity to meet and to talk about what made you seek counselling, what expectations and hopes you have for undertaking counselling/psychotherapy. I will be honest with you if I think you are being unrealistic in your expectations or if I think that I am not able to help you with your particular issues and I may be able to refer you to someone more suitable. Whilst I don't offer advice and behaviour strategies I do believe in relating and engaging with people in a way that fosters and actively encourages an exploration of how needs are met and why people behave the way they do.
I work mainly psychodynamically which essentially looks at how your past influences your present. At our first meeting we are both assessing one another and the decision to begin work will usually be a mutual one. We will arrange some practical matters such as when we meet and the fee, and depending upon the issues or problem you wish to focus on we may also decide but it is not a given whether the work is short term or open ended.
In general I prefer to establish a regular time and day to meet as this makes for continuity and containment of the therapeutic process. I endevour to accommodate clients who work shifts. I also prefer clients to commit themselves to at least six sessions. This allows us both time to get one to one another and to develop a rapport where you can begin to trust me and the process of counselling and we can start to look at the issues and problems in detail.
Counselling and psychotherapy is not easy, it requires committment, patience, courage, psychological insight and financial investment.
Once work gets underway the way in which I work is to encourage a flow of talking, thinking and reflection between us that allows for exploration of your interior world, your feelings and perceptions. We will explore the ways in which you relate to people and how you get your needs met or not, the ways in which you cope when faced with anxiety and fear, how you respond to conflict and criticism with a view to making connections between your past and present. Do the ways in which you now relate serve you well, are they genuine and honest ways of relating or do you feel obliged to behave in certain ways to conform in order to fit in or do you think that others in your life let you down and disappoint you but for one reason or another you cannot find the words or the courage to speak out. Where do these responses and behaviours come from and what purpose do they serve in your life. Sometimes particularly in relationships it feels that you have no choice except to fulfill others expectations of you and you don't have the feel you have the right to behave otherwise. Counselling can illuminate these patterns of behaviour and to allow you the time to process some of the accompanying feelings and more importantly show you that you can exercise choices in your life. Change is never easy and there may be times when feeling under threat or pressure you fall back into former ways of coping or others around you strive to make you return to the old and inauthenctic you however if you persevere a more clear sighted and integrated self will emerge.
What Conditions Can it Help?
What Benefits can be Expected?
Counselling can help you gain clarity and understanding of how difficult and traumatic experiences from your past affect your present day life. It allows you to look at the ways in which you protect yourself from further emotional pain, this can take many forms, sometimes it can mean that you don't allow yourself to trust people or allow them to see your vulnerabiity . This typically can manifest itself in serial relationships which never seem to last. Trusting someone is a big issue and you find yourself testing people over and over again until they can no longer sustain a relationship and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that ultimately people will leave you. On the other hand for some people in order to overcome anxiety they ensure that they're the ones in control and that people then come to rely on them. This can give a sense of power and control of sorts but it comes at a price of being in the service of others whilst denying one's own needs. Counselling will make you look at these self sabotaging behaviours not only to find the source of these damaging ways of relating but also offer you insights and alternative ways of connecting to people and being able to be more honest with yourself and others.