Counselling is a confidential and supportive relationship where you can acknowledge and deal with difficult issues and work things through. Within counselling, you may wish to reflect on your life bringing into focus the parts of it that you find too challenging or too distressing to work on alone. It can help you come to terms with yourself and your situation, from the past, in the present and the future.
I use an ‘Integrative Approach’ to counselling so I work with clients using different approaches depending on their needs and choices.
Here's a couple of examples:
1. CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT usually starts with looking at your goals. It’s often a short term practical approach to bringing about change in your life.
It starts with understanding what needs to be different. It’s useful for learning new ways of behaving or reacting to a challenge.
CBT tends to focus on the future although the past can be important to understand too.
2. EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
Psychological distress is often overwhelming and in some cases, the brain is unable to process what’s happened.
The distressing memory can become ‘frozen’ and recalling the event can seem like being re-traumatised.
EMDR works on the left/right stimulation of the brain, using either eye movements or touch, which appears to help the brain to process the frozen or blocked information.
As are result, traumatic memories seem to lose their painful intensity, they become less stressful and more like ‘ordinary’ memories.
EMDR is not hypnosis. Although your eyes move, you remain conscious and in control at all times.
What to expect at the start of counselling:
Where and when to meet - venue, directions and timing. When you arrive, please take a seat in Reception and I will come to meet you there.
At our first meeting, it's quite usual to feel emotional. You may feel nervous, embarrassed, unsure, or relieved. If you've never been for counselling before it's a very natural reaction to an unknown situation.
As with any arrangement, you should be clear about the way that I, or any counsellor, will work with you. It's usual for us to talk about and agree timescales, costs, cancellation or holiday arrangements for example.
We'll meet within private secure space where you can freely explore your concerns with me - however it's only fair to tell you of the occasions when I must share my work. For instance, I must take my caseload regularly to supervision - a bit like talking to a 'grandparent' - rest assured though your identity is protected. My supervisor(s) could not identify you, or you them. Their role is to check that I am doing my best for you and that I am working ethically.
Like many other professions, I am bound to report risk, for instance where harm to yourself or others is threatened and I am governed by legislation and legal requests.
My aim here is to demystify what it's like to start counselling. Like anything new, it may feel odd or scary at first but if it helps you to feel better about your life or yourself, I'd like to think it's worth it.
Counselling doesn't have to go on for ages - sometimes just a few sessions can help.
Give it a try.