Most people arrive at counselling or psychotherapy because they are stuck in some part of their life. You may have tried to sort through stuff yourself, or read books, or talked to friends and family. But you’re still stuck and sense something easier, freer, or happier is possible; you’re just not sure how to get there.
What is counselling?
As a counsellor I help you:
- identify the changes you want to see in your life
- develop insight and deeper understanding of your experience, behaviour and situation
- build inner and outer tools to help you navigate challenges more helpfully
- create the changes you have identified
- feel more alive and aligned with your true nature
Get started: what to expect in the first appointment
On a practical note – I’ll ask you to wait in the waiting area and I’ll come find you at the time we’ve arranged. There are magazines to read and music. It is a space shared with other therapists so there might be people coming and going.
I’ll have water or tea ready when you come in, and you can choose where you’d like to sit. In the first appointment we’ll likely talk about:
- what brings you to counselling
- what you’re hoping for
- what’s worked well or not so well if you’ve seen a counsellor or psychotherapist before
- relevant history and context to your situation
- what the counselling process can look like, what kinds of activities or conversations we can have, and what of that you like the sound of!
It’s normal to feel a little uncertain or uneasy at the first appointment. Just like any relationship it takes a little time to settle in.
The feeling of “fit” with a counsellor is important. It’s important that you start to feel at ease and have a sense I “get you”. If this doesn’t happen in the first couple appointments I would be happy to refer you to someone who you might fit better with.
Counselling is an emerging, collaborative process, so there’s no one answer to “how I help”. However here are some things I do along the way. I listen deeply and without judgement. I reflect what I hear so I make sure I understand, and so you may hear it differently. I ask questions to help deepen, explore and gain different perspective. I stay present and connected when you experience strong feelings, and I help you navigate them. I nudge and challenge you when I think it might serve you.
I offer snippets of information (“psycho-education”), my own perspective, experience or wonderings as they seem of use to you. I teach you new skills and help you try them out. I encourage you take what we do in sessions in manageable ways into the “real” world – since that’s where it matters.
I often use mindfulness in my therapeutic approach. This involves slowing down and tuning into what you are experiencing in the present moment.
When used in therapy mindfulness can be used to simply to notice a body response to something you are saying. It can be used inquire into your experience in a different way that your cognitive mind can by using “mindfulness experiments”. Mindfulness yields information that comes direct from your body, your being, rather than just your mind. Then we help your cognitive mind understand your “inside” experience. New relationships with yourself are possible.