What to expect

I work from home, in a quiet residential street close to the centre of Abergavenny.  The consulting room is up a short flight of stairs and I’m afraid there’s no disabled access.  At present I see clients on Mondays, Tuesdays, and on Friday mornings. Some sessions may be available on Monday or Tuesday evenings. 

When you first contact me I'll suggest that we meet for a preliminary session, with no obligation to continue, to allow you to decide if you would like to begin counselling with me, and for me to get a sense of what your issues are and how I might be able to help you.  I would charge half the usual fee for this first session.  

Each session will last for 60 minutes, and we would normally meet at the same time each week while counselling lasts.  You would have to pay for any sessions cancelled at short notice.  However, if you’re unable to make a session I’ll try to offer you an alternative time that week, if that’s possible, to avoid you having to pay for a missed session.  It’s important, for therapy to be effective, that we meet regularly.  Breaks are always disruptive, even if sometimes they can’t be helped!  I shall let you know about any holiday breaks or other commitments as well in advance as possible, and it will be helpful if you can do the same. 

Once you’ve decided to begin counselling with me, I’ll suggest we start with six sessions.  If you then want to continue, we can have an open-ended contract, which means that counselling will continue for as long as it seems helpful to you. Or, if you prefer, we can contract for a fixed number of sessions.  We’ll review progress regularly in any case, and make adjustments if necessary.  Of course you’ll be free to end counselling at any time.  But it’s always best if you can give a few weeks’ notice if you decide to stop, especially if we’ve been working together for a few months or more, so we can plan a good ending.  

The counselling hour that you book will be your space, reserved exclusively for you.  It will be protected and confidential, and will follow the BACP ethical guidelines.

So what will happen in a typical session?  Mostly it will be your opportunity to talk, and for us to engage in a dialogue. This is the famous “talking therapy”, and it can be very powerful and effective on its own.  But there may be opportunities for other forms of communication too.  Sometimes I may encourage you to draw or paint, to use objects to physically represent something, to shape something with clay – or to write something down.  But I’ll only do that if you seem interested and I feel it would be helpful.  I may also suggest that instead of talking and thinking, you focus on your physical sensations – your breathing, and how you're feeling in yourself; maybe some relaxation exercise.  Again I’ll only suggest that if it feels ok to you.  But I will always pay attention to your body language, and draw your attention from time to time to what might be going on with your body – and to what’s going on generally in the room, including the dynamic between us.  I like to work with what’s immediate and present, even if we’re talking about the past or people and events outside the room.  

You can expect me to ask you about your dreams from time to time, and if you do have a dream that you remember, I’ll always be very interested to discuss it with you.  I’m not in the business of interpreting dreams, but in helping you to find your own meaning in them. Often quite astonishing breakthroughs have happened through exploring dream images.  

Inevitably counselling can be painful sometimes, and there may be certain areas that you'll want to protect and just not “go there”.  I'll always respect that, and will be as sensitive as I can.  Sometimes I will get it wrong and make mistakes – I’m only human!  If so, I would welcome you telling me.  

There will also be lighter moments, and probably quite a lot of laughter: good therapy allows for a whole range of emotions to be expressed, and humour of course can be healing, as well as tears.