About Counselling

People seek counselling for a variety of reasons. Frequently they stem from distressing events in the past, commonly in childhood. But there may also be current issues that are proving difficult to cope with. Sometimes there doesn’t even have to be a ‘problem’ for counselling to be beneficial and individuals can use it as an opportunity to understand themselves better or to undertake personal development.  

A counsellor is someone who is trained to listen attentively and respond empathically to your concerns. Your counsellor will encourage you to express your feelings, help you to explore choices, and support you in forming strategies to resolve issues and change unhelpful behaviour.  

Your counsellor will be impartial and will not judge you. S/he will not make decisions for you or direct you towards a particular course of action, instead supporting you in taking personal responsibility.  

Your counsellor will be ethical, respectful, reliable and open; and professional in the way s/he conducts her or himself.  

Counselling usually takes place face to face on a weekly basis at an agreed time and on an agreed day. Counselling sessions are normally between 50 minutes and an hour in duration. Making the commitment to attend regularly and consistently will give you a better chance of getting to the heart of your difficulties.  

It is difficult to say how many counselling sessions will be required before you feel you have obtained the outcome you set for yourself; every situation is unique. You may be offered short-term counselling over a few weeks or months, or as a more open-ended longer term arrangement that is reviewed periodically. You are not locked into a process and you should agree with your counsellor in advance how long the course of counselling will be.  

The way I work is that in our first meeting I will agree with you the framework (e.g. session time, day etc.) in which we will work together. I will then ask you some questions about yourself in order to help me make an assessment of your needs and decide whether or not the service I offer is the right one for your circumstances. I will tell you if I feel there are more appropriate forms of help. The remainder of the first session will be for you to tell me your reasons for seeking counselling, what you want to achieve from it, and to address any questions or concerns you may have. Moreover it gives us both the opportunity to decide how comfortable we feel working with one another; research shows the best therapeutic outcomes are obtained when there is a strong working alliance between client and counsellor. Subsequent sessions will allow us to go as deep as you want to in exploring your feelings and I will not push you to proceed at a pace that doesn’t feel right for you.