Some Frequently Asked Questions
So what happens in counselling?
How we cope in the world is likely based on our perceptions, our experiences, and our interactions. Problems can arise when one of these aspects develops a fault, or is tested in a new relationship or experience, that then affects our coping. The following paragraphs are very general examples of the things we would be looking at, as the specifics would always depend on the individual's personal circumstances. Hopefully they will help you become more confident in counselling.
Alcohol and Addictions
While addictions can begin for different reasons, it is clear that in many instances the addiction begins as a way of dealing with other painful issues in people's lives. But as the reliance on addictions such as alcohol, substances, gambling or internet porn grows, a different problem becomes bigger and more devastating than the root issue.
In working with these issues, we explore what is going on for you and the effect it is having on you and those around you. We explore your awareness of the problem and what difficulties you were experiencing at the time. We explore if there are any patterns or cycles in what happens. We explore what steps you would consider to reduce its affects, what support you have from others, and also what obstacles others place in your way in your efforts to change. We look to make small changes, foundations, that clients can build on to recover their lives and relationships.
Couples and Relationships
In working with couples and relationship issues, I seek to understand the issues as experienced by each person. What’s going on, what’s causing the difficulties, and the effects those difficulties are having on the relationship. We explore the emotions, the interactions, the expectations, the balance in the relationship; and the roles each play in the moment. We explore what's happening; whether it's changes at work, family pressures, or one of many others. It's not about me taking sides or apportioning blame or fault.
It’s about you, understanding how your relationship began, what is happening to it now, exploring what’s important to each of you, and talking about how you each would want your relationship to be.
Bereavement and Loss
In working with terminal illness, impending loss or bereavement, we explore the physical and emotional issues in losing a life or that of a loved one, as well as the anxiety and worry caused by changes in circumstances, and financial and practical difficulties. We would explore the difficulties you are coping with, the feelings they bring out, and how you are dealing with it all. It’s a safe space for you to explore what’s happening for you, a moment to put aside being strong for others, to understand feelings of isolation and anxiety, and also look at the life that may follow.
In working with trauma, we would explore how the event lives on in the present, how it affects your daily life, and how it may affect the future. Counselling is just one part of the process when looking at deeper trauma, so we would also look at how you are integrating any medication, accepting offers of help, being able to relax, or renewing social contact, sports and hobbies. It can be a long journey, and while some continue to have ongoing difficulties in life, many find they are able to control their past, rather than it continue to control them.
Redundancy and Life Change
In working with redundancy and life change, we would look at what has happened, it's affects in the present, and how it may affect the future. In understanding the loss of hopes, financial security, and ambitions, we would explore new opportunities that could emerge from this change, allowing you to follow a different direction and achieve different goals.
Physical, Mental, and Sexual Abuse
In working with issues of abuse, I would work with what’s going for you now, and how it’s affecting you. We would try to understand what is or was going on, and ‘why me?’, for many people a real issue. We would work through residual feelings, or work on rebuilding the future. Working in these issues can be painful, and often, buried emotions rise to the surface. But it does get easier once you feel safe and trusting in the sessions. These sessions are about respect for you, and what you are trying to achieve.
Loneliness, Depression, Confidence, and Post Natal Depression
In working with issues of loneliness and the isolation of depression and post-natal depression, we would explore the feelings that occur with debilitating regularity. They may be occurring in work, in caring, motherhood, through illness, or a lack of confidence or self esteem. In their isolation, many people feel they are at fault, inventing reasons to justify or maintain their isolation. We would explore how things are now, and in the past when things may have been different. We would explore how you would like things to be, what could be different, and how that could come about.
What about Confidentiality?
Our work is confidential, though parts of it may be reviewed in my own counselling supervision, which is also confidential and respectful. Counsellors have supervision, usually with more experienced counsellors, to allow them to discuss aspects of their practice and get another professional view on their work.
What is a Contract?
We will agree a counselling ‘contract’, which is just a phrase to discuss and understant fees, appointments, regularity, cancellations, and our mutual agreement to proceed.
How many sessions will it take?
The honest answer is I don’t know! Some people find that after three sessions, they begin to understand what’s going on for them and can feel benefits. Others may take six sessions just to become comfortable and trustful. Their progress may be slower, but likely it's right for them. Some find that counselling does not provide the answers they are looking for, and do not reach the third session.
How much will all this cost?
Try not to focus on the costs of therapy. Many of us spend hundreds of pounds keeping our cars in good condition, or for long weekends of pampering; but are hesitant in spending £50 a week for six sessions to keep our mental health in good condition. If you're unsure whether counselling is for you, give me a ring and you can sound things out for yourself. There is no hard sell, only respect for what you are trying to achieve.
What about professional conduct?
I am an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, www.bacp.co.uk, and firmly agree and work within the Association’s principles, guidelines, and ethics.