Image of ripples on water.

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

Perhaps something is troubling you and you would like 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 (see the right-hand panel) but you don't have to identify a specific issue before coming.

Image of counselling room in Arrad Street.

Counselling offers 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 provide a supportive relationship within which you feel safe enough to explore the issues you are facing, in ways which respect your values, abilities and culture.

At your initial session, you can talk about why you have come for counselling, ask questions about how the process works and discuss any concerns you have. During this and 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 is about self-discovery and finding solutions which are right for you, rather than receiving advice or being told what to do.

"... ... when we confide in someone and they listen to us, really listen, the debris [the unprocessed hurts and fears] naturally begins to dissolve, and the fountain of aliveness is again free to flow."

Tara Brach - 'True Refuge' (2013)

Image of counselling session.

Each counselling relationship is unique and is defined by the character and requirements of each individual client. Sessions last 50 minutes; the number and frequency of sessions is determined by you and your counsellor.

I am an accredited counsellor, having trained at Liverpool John Moores University. I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and am on its Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. I am fully insured and attend regular supervision to ensure that I meet professional standards. I work according to the BACP's Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018) which sets out the organisation's commitment to clients.

If you have any concerns about the quality of the counselling you have received, the BACP's 'Get help with counselling concerns service' (on 01455 883300 [option 2], 0781 176 2114 or 0781 176 2256) is available from Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 4pm. Calls (which are limited to a maximum of 30 minutes) are confidential and, if you prefer, you can speak anonymously. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to

I approach counselling from a Person-centred perspective and also use Solution-focused Brief Therapy (see the right-hand panel for descriptions of these approaches). My work 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 explore, their 'Metaphor Landscape' (the internal, symbolic representation of their experiences). Many people find that working with metaphor 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.

I talk briefly about counselling in the short video on the right.

"... in the warmth and understanding of a facilitative relationship with a therapist ... the individual explores what is behind the masks he presents to the world, and even behind the masks with which he has been deceiving himself. Deeply and often vividly he experiences the various elements of himself which have been hidden within. Thus to an increasing degree he becomes himself - not a façade of conformity to others, not a cynical denial of all feeling, nor a front of intellectual rationality, but a living, breathing, feeling, fluctuating process - in short, he becomes a person."

Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

It is important that you work with a counsellor with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can establish a rapport. 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

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.

Read the full article.

Tel: +44 (0)7941 488 550

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

Cecil Patterson (1912-2006)

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

"... to specify the problem is to admit that it exists ... to allow yourself to know what you want ... and then you will know, precisely and cleanly, when you don't get it, and that will hurt, sharply and specifically. But you will learn something from that, and use what you learn in the future - and the alternative to that single sharp pain is the dull ache of continued hopelessness and vague failure and the sense that time, precious time, is slipping by."

Professor Jordan B. Peterson (2018)

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

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are ..."

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

Download a free guide to dealing with stress. This booklet includes a range of 'alternative', natural approaches which can help you overcome or minimise stress, and which 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 relies 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.

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 the problems and how to overcome them.

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".

"From my experiences with clients, it's the thing that people do to avoid pain that does them harm ... It's a paradox because the truth is that, if they allow themselves to feel the pain, incrementally, for a moment, it forces their system to adjust to this new reality. Pain is what heals you."

Julia Samuels (Counsellor)

In the video below, psychologist, neuroscientist and therapist Rick Hanson offers a simple technique for converting passing, positive experiences into something longer-lasting.