What to expect from your counselling session and how to get the best from it
Counselling is a process of understanding and change, changing what doesn't work for you by working through thoughts and feelings, and setting realistic goals for yourself and working to achieve them.
In the first session I am working to help you to settle into the process of telling your personal story to a stranger and guide you to find what will help most and promote change quickly. Im looking for your 'headline news' - how I/we want to be.
Thinking through the items below will help you structure what to talk about.
What do you want to change? What kind of relationship do you want to create? How motivated are you to do the work you need to do to turn your situation into something more beneficial?
Why now? - What has happened to bring you here today?
If you are seeking to understand an existing couple relationship, its usually better if you are both in the room together, I recognise that this isn't always possible.
The human brain is wired to notice negative things, words, feelings, actions. Counselling, whether for individuals or couples, is helping you towards positive change, positive feelings about yourself/each other, understanding the formation of the issues and how to remedy them, and making you and your relationships future-proof. Due to our inbuilt ability to easily see what is wrong, its mostly easier to identify fault in any person or situation than look at how we ourselves contributed to the situation; this results in blame. shame and guilt. Looking at things more calmly and respectfully lets the brain settle down and make changes easier and more available. Life in the 21st century is hard enough, we don't need our brains to be reacting as if there are rampaging dinosaurs chasing us all day.
Preparing for your session is time well spent.
My ways of thinking and working.
My counselling work seeks to resolve conflict and establish your confidence in yourself and relationships with others.
My therapy work is longer term and seeks to resolve conflict within the individual.
Our sense of 'who' we are in the world, 'how' a relationship happens, a family works, are largely informed by the experiences we have lived through.
In our fast-paced society it's almost impossible to replicate our own childhood patterns of good experience; society has changed, technology has changed our ways of interacting, there seems to be less hours in the day. We can, though, pull out the essence of family, keep what is good and re-invent the rest, and polish it up to be 21st century proof.
I also work with people who are asking themselves 'big questions' about existence and progression: Who am I? Where am I headed?
I am comfortable with the spiritual side of life too, whether you have a faith based code or creed, a personal spirituality, your unique view of the wider world is a valid topic for discussion should you wish to. For example, if you practice yoga, you will be familiar with sensing energy in your body and find it easier to express how your feelings locate themselves in your body - the driving test 'butterflies' is a good example of this embodied understanding.
Counselling needs heart as well as head, and I am committed to using both to assist you.
What people DO is driven by how they think and feel in the here and now as well as what happened in the past. Learning to DO more kindly, respectfully, usefully, changes life faster than getting stuck in a puddle of problems.
My helping goal is for you to find the best understanding, best change, best solution, best action, for you, or for you both.
Online Session Preparation
To be best prepared for an online session:
If you are working from home try to make sure you have some space before and after the session to gather your thoughts
Have privacy to speak away from others in the house.
Have privacy from other duties to give yourself space to think and feel - you wouldn't be letting the cat in or out or making the kids' tea if you were in my consulting room; organise that you can prioritise yourself.
Consider the venue - it may be better to be in your stationary car or to stay behind at work, feeling able to speak, hear, and feel your experience is important.
At home, please make sure that any Alexa, Google Dot or other home assistant devices are unplugged - these devices listen and record such that someone in a remote location could record or listen live to your session if they have your WiFi code.
> I hold a Masters Degree with Distinction in Relationship Therapy from The University of Hull via the Relate Institute (2015). This is a Level 7 qualification. This course is BACP Accredited, and had an integrative stance, blending psychodynamic theory and systemic theory.
> I am Relate couple and family counselling trained and qualified, and worked for Relate in Leeds for 7 years until they closed their doors.
> I hold a University Advanced Diploma in Couple Therapy from the University of Hull via the Relate Institute (2012). This is a Level 6 qualification.
> I hold a University Certificate in Integrative Counselling from the University of Leeds (2001). This was an integrative training blending person centred and psychodynamic theory. This is a level 6 qualification.
I am a trauma-informed counsellor and have taken several specialist advanced training courses to equip me for this work.
I am a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and abide by their Ethical Framework.