Counselling comes in many different forms, so I want to help you get a sense of what therapy with me might be like for you.
I believe the most important thing about counselling is the relationship we develop. You may need to say things that are difficult to say, things you may have never spoken to anybody before, things that feel embarrassing or shameful, or things you feel a nice person wouldn’t say or feel. I am someone that you can say anything to, knowing I will not judge you or reject you. I work in ways designed to make you feel as comfortable as possible talking to me.
I don’t always work in the same way with everyone. You are a unique individual. Your experiences are not the same as anyone else’s, nor is the way you think and feel about them, life, the universe and everything. Together we will work out a way forward for you. During our first meeting we will talk about what you want to get from your counselling and I will be able to suggest ways we might work to achieve that.
Therapy is something we do together. It isn’t something I do ‘to’ you. I know about counselling, have ideas about what might be helpful and have developed effective skills through training and my work with clients. But you are the expert on you.
Most sessions will probably involve us sitting together talking. You will bring what you choose to tell me about yourself and your life and I will use what I know to help you explore and understand your issues.
Sometimes, if I feel it might be useful, I may suggest we try a creative activity perhaps using natural objects such as stones or shells, or art materials, clay or pictures to explore further. I may, especially if we are looking at trauma, explain some of the science behind how your brain and body work so you can better understand what is going on for you. I might offer you the opportunity to explore the practice of mindfulness if I think it would help with what you are dealing with. What we do depends on your individual needs. It is something we will work out together. I will always make suggestions and will never require you to do anything you don’t want to do.
I believe there is something in you that will know what to talk about each session. Given the opportunity to talk in a safe environment to a caring person, I believe what you need to say will be said. Even if you don’t know where to start, as we talk what you need to talk about will bubble to the surface. You can trust yourself to find what you need to say, but if you feel stuck, I will help.
To enable this process, I don’t follow a rigid protocol of doing this in session one and that in session two and the other in session three. Counselling with me is much more fluid, as we follow what comes up for you and what you want to focus on each week. We will look at whether what we are doing feels effective for you or if there is anything you would like to change.
If you have come because you have experienced some form of trauma our work will be slightly more structured. This is because it is important that we begin by helping you feel safe and able to manage your feelings before we look at what has happened to you. We will do more extended work on relaxation and being present. If you experience flashbacks or have PTSD/ CPTSD we can look at ways of processing distressing memories. This is something we would discuss in the first session.