Image of ripples on water.

If you are considering coming for counselling, you may be wondering what is involved - taking that first step can feel scary. This brief introduction gives you an idea of what you can expect.

Perhaps something has been troubling you and you feel it might be helpful to discuss it with someone who is neither a friend nor relative but who will listen to you and help you understand your situation; maybe you need support during a difficult period; perhaps you aren't even sure what the problem is - you simply have a vague feeling that things are not quite right. People bring a wide range of problems to counselling but you don't have to identify a specific problem before coming.

Image of counselling room in Arrad Street.

Counselling provides you with an opportunity to talk confidentially about how you feel, to become more self-aware, and to work towards a more satisfying and authentic life. At Actuality Counselling, I endeavour to provide a supportive relationship within which you feel safe enough to explore the problems you are facing. I do this in ways which respect your values, abilities and culture.

At your initial session, you will have an opportunity to talk about what has brought you to counselling, ask questions about how the process works and discuss any concerns you have. During this session and, if you choose to continue, in subsequent sessions, you will be encouraged to express your feelings and thoughts, explore the issues which are troubling you, and discover ways of living more resourcefully. The work you do will be about self-discovery and about finding solutions which are right for you, rather than receiving advice or being told what to do.

Image of counselling session.

Each counselling relationship is unique and is defined by the requirements of each individual client. Sessions last for about 50 minutes; the number and frequency of sessions is entirely up to you.

I am an accredited counsellor with the BACP and am on its Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. I also have regular supervision for my counselling work. As part of the public protection requirement of the BACP Register, the organisation operates a confidential guidance and information service known as Ask Kathleen. Anyone concerned about their experience of therapy can contact the service via e-mail at ask@bacp.co.uk, online (at www.bacpregister.org.uk/public) or by phone (01455 883344).

I approach counselling from a Person-centred perspective and also use Solution-focused Brief Therapy (see the box on the right for descriptions of both approaches). My work also draws on other practices such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Mindfulness and inner child work. I also use Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling to help clients identify, and talk about, their 'Metaphor Landscape' (the internal, symbolic representation of their experiences). Many people find that this way of working enables them to acknowledge, and work with, thoughts and feelings which are difficult to approach or which are on the edge of their consciousness, and which they might otherwise find difficult to express. You can hear me talk about counselling in the short video on the right.

It is important that you work with a counsellor with whom you have a rapport and who uses an approach which feels right for you. In his book 'The Road Less Travelled', Scott Peck writes that "choosing the right therapist ... is one of the most important decisions you can make in your lifetime... If the choice is right, it will pay off in spiritual dividends you could not even have dreamed of."

The BACP website provides brief descriptions of other commonly-used theoretical approaches and you can find useful information about counselling at www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk.

How Therapy Can Transform Your Life

Difficulties are part of life. The good thing is that we are all endowed with skills and abilities to get through the bad times, move forward in life, and be happy after all. Therapy can help us through these difficult times.

NaturalTherapyForAll.com

Read the full article.

Tel: +44 (0)7941 488 550

e-mail:actualitycounselling@gmail.com

"People bring a wide range of problems to counselling, such as the ones listed below but you don't have to identify a specific problem before coming."

Adoption issues Lack of self-esteem
Anxiety/Panic/Stress Loneliness
Apathy Phobias / obsessions
Bereavement Physical abuse
Bullying Pregnancy issues
Cross-cultural issues Relationship issues
Depression Sexual abuse
Drug and alcohol misuse Sexual identity
Eating disorders Spiritual and religious issues
Lack of confidence Suicidal thoughts

"... it is not the past that keeps clients from changing but the way their perceptions are presently organised."

James Lawley and Penny Tomkins (2000)

Clare Slaney has written a free guide for clients which describes what you can expect when you go for counselling.

Click here to download a free guide to dealing with stress. This booklet includes a range of 'alternative', natural approaches which can help you to overcome or minimise stress, and which can offer effective alternatives to chemical medicines.

You can also click here for details of various books and resources which you may find helpful.

" ... the self is only that which it is in the process of becoming."

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

Person-centred counselling: Given the right conditions, we can all experience positive growth and begin to work towards realising our full potential. This approach focuses on the relationship between counsellor and client to create these conditions.

By offering congruence (genuineness), acceptance and empathy, Person-centred counsellors create a safe environment within which you can express and explore your thoughts and feelings, and address the issues you are facing. No attempt is made to direct you or to interpret your words. This approach empowers you to find your own solutions and achieve a more authentic way of being.

"Psychotherapy is being with, not doing something to, the client."

Cecil Patterson (1912-2006)

Solution-focused Brief Therapy invites you to consider what life might be like if your problems had been solved; it emphasises how things could be, rather than getting caught up in how to overcome the problems.

Although the issues you face may seem insurmountable, often there are times, however brief, when things go better for you and you are able to cope more. What are those moments and where do they come from? Solution-focused work encourages you to become aware of these times, to highlight what you are already doing that is working, and to discover the resources which are available to you within yourself and in your environment. The work also involves identifying small, manageable steps which you can take to move forward.

Martin Seligman's work in Positive Psychology supports the Solution-focused approach. In his book Flourish (2011), he writes "Therapists reported ... that getting their patients in touch with their strengths, rather than just trying to correct their weaknesses, was particularly beneficial".