What is counselling?
Counselling is a type of talking therapy in which a client and a trained counsellor set aside time together to explore the client’s problems, including any difficult feelings they may have, in a safe and confidential environment. It is usually a process involving a number of regular sessions together, of between 50 minutes and an hour, over a sustained period of time.
Counselling is a relationship built on trust and it is important that you feel comfortable talking to the counsellor you choose. Sometimes you will know this just by looking at a photograph of someone or perhaps from something written on a website. Sometimes you may need to speak to someone in person first. If you would like to speak to me on the telephone or arrange a short twenty minute consultation to establish if you feel you could work with me, please contact me.
Counselling is not ‘one size fits all’: each session will be unique to the individual client because everyone’s needs are different and those needs will evolve over time. Some people might undertake a short course of five to six sessions for a particular issue such as a relatively uncomplicated bereavement. Others may find that counselling over a period of months or years is what they need. And very occasionally one session might be all a person feels able to manage at this point in their lives, perhaps to tell their story to someone else, offload a particular feeling or experience, in order to process it or to bring things back into focus for themselves.
Counselling is not advice-giving: I will not tell you what I think you need to do. I will encourage you to talk about what’s bothering you, what has happened in the past and present, your thoughts and feelings, with a view to supporting you to uncover the underlying cause of your issues. I will give you space and freedom to talk and I will listen to you without criticism or judgment.
Counselling is a collaborative process in which I will be alongside you to support you to better understand yourself and find your own solutions to your problems.
Counselling isn’t easy. I won’t offer to “fix” you or your problems. Whether it will help often depends on you. Counselling can feel a bit like an emotional roller coaster, with highs and lows. Sometimes it can take a long time to feel like you’re getting somewhere. Sometimes you can have that “eureka” moment where everything seems clear for the first time. It can be rewarding and nourishing but it can also be hard work.
You will need to be able to look after yourself in between sessions. It is worth asking yourself at the outset what you have in place outside the counselling room to help support you while you go through the process.
There are no guarantees that it will work for you every time, with every counsellor. The time may not be right for you or I may not be the right person for you. But for many people, simply having the time set aside regularly to talk in a safe and confidential space is all it takes.
What can counselling help with?
There are many reasons why someone may decide they would like to have some counselling sessions, but in general terms, it is often because they want to change something or explore feelings they have about things that have happened in their lives.
Some of the sorts of issues people may bring to counselling include:
- bereavement, grief, loss
- stress, anxiety and depression
- relationship issues
- living with a physical health condition
- work related issues
- difficult emotions like anger, shame and guilt
- low self-confidence
- traumatic past experiences
- family issues
- living with uncertainty about the future
If you would like to talk to me about undertaking counselling in relation to any of the above, or any other problems you may be experiencing, please contact me for a confidential discussion about your concerns and to see whether I am the right person for you. I work from my home therapy room in Westbury-On-Trym, a short distance from the M5. There is on-road parking available outside.