What happens in counselling or psychotherapy?
Life brings many challenges, and it is understandable that at times we may need support in facing them. Counselling/psychotherapy is a way of seeking support when we encounter 'problems-in-living'.
I offer the chance to think about difficulties or problems that you are experiencing in your life at the moment with someone from outside your immediate circle. Together, we think about and explore your situation in a way that leads to fresh understanding and perhaps to new ways of thinking and being. Having the chance to be with someone who will not judge, or immediately start offering advice or imposing solutions, can be a helpful and empowering experience. In therapy we explore together your understanding of what is going on, and think about how your understanding may prevent you from finding your own way forward.
Sometimes, too, we face situations for which there are no 'solutions'. Loss of any kind may be one of these situations. When someone dies, for example, life may be completely shattered for a long time. In these circumstances, the counselling I offer is more akin to accompanying you on what may be a long and difficult journey, but which may be eased by sharing with someone who will be with you for as long as is helpful.
We start by exploring your situation - the things that are troubling you as well as your resources for handling stress and distress. We look back - thinking about your early upbringing and family relationships, school days - and we look forward - do you know where you would like to get to? Or do you just need to stop and take stock of what is going on?
Through the process of exploration, making connections, developing insight and self-compassion, we arrive at deeper understanding of how you have got to where you are at this point in your life. It's important that this understanding is underpinned with deep self (and other) compassion: that you are able to reach a point of greater awareness of how your internal world has emerged in response to the environment(s) you've traversed so far in your life.
And - with this exploration and understanding you may find that you sense a shift in attitude, in ability to be with yourself and others, and perhaps, a readiness to make some changes (internal or external)... to evolve
Of course, these three stages are not purely linear and we move between all three during the course of our contact with each other, which continues until you recognise that you are ready to move on alone without therapy. This may be a short, intense process - or it may last many months. We stop from time to time to consider where we are - how things are going - and to agree how you want us to work together in further sessions.