I trained as a counsellor at Southampton University, qualifying in 2008. Soon after that I helped to set up and run a counselling and therapy centre in Portsmouth, and since then I’ve been in private practice, seeing individuals from age 14 upwards.
The counselling process
I sometimes think that the counselling process is like gradually unknotting a tangled ball of thread, or perhaps gently peeling layers from an onion; you start off with a big mass of stuff that looks complicated and possibly painful to deal with, but gradually with patience and perseverance, you begin to get somewhere. And yes, that sometimes means frustration or puzzlement. It’s not always easy, but then meaningful change is rarely straightforward.
A step-by-step process
When you first start counselling, let’s say with a stress or anxiety-related problem, you might expect us just to talk about that particular issue – why do you feel stressed? What causes it? When did it start? And we will of course talk about those questions. But we might also explore other areas of your life which at first seem unconnected – what does family background have to do with anxiety? Or why am I asking about your sense of resilience? Or how your relationships work out? Or how you spend your spare time?
Often, the issues and problems we bring to counselling are influenced and affected by other events or experiences in our lives, both past and present; by delving into these other aspects of your life, we can sometimes spot ‘patterns’ and common themes – these can offer a deeper understanding of who you are, how you’ve reached the point you’re at, and then ‘the bigger picture’ of how best to move forward.
Exploring the problem
What is the problem or difficulty that you’d like help with? When did it start? How did it start? How does it affect you day to day? What makes it worse? Or better? What sorts of things have you tried so far to solve it? `What tends to get in the way of you making progress in tackling the problem? How would you like to change things?
Family background and life experience
What are the highlights and lowlights of your life so far? What was family life like for you growing up? What were the biggest challenges you faced? What did you learn from them? What are your greatest hopes and fears? What are your strengths and vulnerabilities? If you could sum up your life experience so far in a single sentence, what would it be?
What would be your ‘Ideal Outcome’ from these counselling sessions? What do you want to be doing differently? What differences would loved ones see in you? What would you like to tackle first, what’s most important? Where shall we begin?
These are a few of the questions that we‘d explore together during our sessions to help you move towards the life you want to be living.
If you’d like help with a problem or difficulty in your life, or you’re searching for a renewed sense of meaning or fulfilment, please drop me a line or give me a call. You can email me via this contact page, where you’ll also find my contact number.