I am a qualified person-centred counsellor.
Person-centred counselling was developed in the 1940s by the American psychologist Dr Carl Rogers. He believed that therapeutic change takes place when a person is given the opportunity to explore their issues with a therapist who is empathic, non-judgemental (unconditional positive regard) and is open and genuine (congruent). Central to the approach is the belief that each person is able to decide the direction in which they can change and develop.
Further information on the person-centred approach can be found on the BAPCA (British Association for the Person-Centred Approach) website (www.bapca.co.uk).
Working with individuals
Each session lasts for 50 minutes and takes place at an agreed time each week.
I offer an Introductory session at a reduced rate of £35. This gives you the chance to explain what’s brought you to counselling and to see how I work, so that you can decide whether you think it will be helpful to you. At the end of this session, you may decide that counselling is not for you, or you may decide to continue, in which case we can arrange further sessions. The number of sessions will vary according to your needs. You are free to terminate counselling at any time.
In a session, you set the agenda; this is your time to talk about issues that are concerning you. I listen, empathise and check my understanding out with you. I will not tell you what to do, as I believe each person knows the best way forward for them, and through our joint exploration, this may become clear to you. Exploring issues together can lead to insights and helpful realisations. I work on developing a therapeutic relationship where you feel safe to explore even the difficult and painful issues, which you may not have disclosed to anyone before. Talking in a safe environment can alleviate painful feelings.
Working with couples
Often in relationships, communication has broken down. We are affected by past events, and can need to defend our position, which means we can get caught up in a cycle of blame where it becomes very hard to hear or understand the other person’s point of view. My role is to facilitate communication. I do not take sides, or decide who is right or wrong, but I aim to understand each person’s perspective, and to facilitate the understanding of that perspective. Sometimes, as a neutral party, I can observe patterns in the way two people relate, and I offer my observations on anything I see.
At the start of each session I ask each person to identify any areas/ issues they would like to look at that session, and then we agree where to start.
Sessions last for an hour. I offer an Introductory session, which lasts 50 minutes, at a reduced fee of £45. This allows you to see how I work, and to decide if you think it will be helpful to you.
Working with children and young people
Talking to a new adult about personal things can be quite intimidating for many children and young people, so I work at putting them at ease. I am helped in this by my experience as a teacher, when I enjoyed working and talking with children. I use creative activities as a means of exploring situations and feelings; talking one-to-one ‘in the spotlight’ of an adult’s gaze can be very daunting for many children, but talking whilst being engaged in an art activity can feel very different.
In the first session (which I offer at the reduced rate of £35), I meet with the child/young person and their parents/carers. We talk about what’s brought them to counselling, and I give information about how I work. If the child/young person feels OK about it, at some point in the session, I ask the parents/carers to wait in another room, while I spend the rest of the session with the individual – it is important for the child/young person to feel OK about working with me alone, for this is how future sessions will proceed. At the end of the session, I suggest that the family go away and talk about where they would like to go next (it is very important that the child/young person feels comfortable working with me). We can then arrange further sessions as necessary. The number of sessions will vary according to needs.
I have an enhanced DBS criminal record certificate for working with children and young people.