I understand that when coming for Counselling, it can feel quite scary, or nerve wracking. You may not know what to expect, what to say, or if you'll get on with your therapist. Being able to open up about things that can feel quite exposing is scary enough as it is, let alone to a complete stranger. When you attend counselling, you'll want to be able to be yourself, free from judgement and be able to trust your therapist with your wellbeing and your sensitive information.
This is why I place an emphasis on a calm, safe environment, as well as on the therapeutic relationship -- this is the relationship between myself and my client -- that is client focussed, professional, respectful, appropriate, maintains integrity and demonstrates accountability and candour. I do this by upholding the BACP Ethical Framework, which I allow all my clients to read through and access if they wish to.
I also do this by utilising a Person Centred and 'Chan' approach. This means I hold you, the client, as the "expert" on yourself. By going entirely at your pace, allowing you to lead the session and explore what you feel is important to you. Just like getting to know someone new, the therapeutic relationship will gradually develop in time and trust will begin to grow. It may take you one session, it may take you 8 sessions, it may take you more! But being able to say what you feel you need to talk about, look at, understand and explore will take as long as it needs. Everyone is different and processes and experiences things in their own individual way.
On top of this, I also integrate other approaches that I can offer during your sessions if I feel they may be of use to you at the time. Have a look below to have a very brief summary of what these approaches are:
This approach is extremely useful when exploring relationships between yourself and the world around you. It can involve quite creative ways of working, and looks at your perception and how this ultimately effects any conflicts you may be experiencing.
Mindfulness & Relaxation Techqniues
I use "Chan" Mindfulness, a 2,000 year old Chinese philosophy which, when practiced correctly, can be extremely effective in helping with anxiety and depression, repetitive thoughts, as well as chronic pain and illnesses. It can involve reflection, meditation and breathing techniques.
It can also help you change your behaviours, thoughts and feelings, and provides a greater awareness and understanding of yourself. It is essentially, one of the oldest forms of psychotherapeutic techniques to date.
With over 25 years of practice, I can integrate this into sessions if my client may find it useful.
This can include automatic drawing, creative writing, sand play, drawing, painting, poetry, making music, etc. which can allow for individuals who may find talking or naming feelings or thoughts difficult, but may be able to express them through creativity. It can also be a brilliant way to allow you to look at things differently if you are not used to using creativity to explore things. Creativity will involve using other areas of your brain that help access childhood memories, thoughts or emotions which can help during sessions where this is relevant.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is a therapy that is most commonly used by the NHS, and involves looking at how you think and behave. The idea is to explore thoughts and behaviours that you are finding unhelpful, and working towards a goal of changing them to becoming helpful, or manageable. CBT involves practicing at home or in your own personal time, as well as filling out worksheets with me during sessions and in your own time.
Sometimes it's extremely helpful to understand what is actually happening on a factual, scientific level. It can feel reassuring to know reasons behind why you are experiencing what you are experiencing. I can provide literature or explanations during our sessions to help you gain some understanding as well as sign post you to other useful resources.