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I offer one-to-one counselling or psychotherapy. This can be short or long term. It can stop for a while and restart, it can start with one ‘need’ and move onto other issues that you might want to look at. Generally this is for one hour every week, usually at the same time each week, although it is possible to discuss different arrangements. For some people short term can mean just 6 weeks, but I generally suggest that you think in terms of at least twelve weeks
For one-to- one counselling/therapy I work in Llandrindod and Presteigne.
WHAT WILL THE COUNSELLING/THERAPY BE LIKE FOR YOU?
It can vary according to the way you would like the sessions to be. You will be met with a non-judgemental acceptance.
Gestalt work can focus on the present, such as what is happening within the counselling relationship as it happens as a way to understand patterns and habitual responses and ways of thinking, it can be lively and creative, equally it can be quiet and gentle allowing you time and space to unfold, work out or maybe discover your own history and experiences. There are likely to be times when you are facing some painful feelings, there will also be times when you feel relieved to tell someone your fears and worries, times when we laugh together and times when you feel the satisfaction of connecting with an inner self who might not have had a lot of attention or opportunity to be seen and heard.
Counselling or therapy can be painful at times and it is normal in counselling for people to recognise emotions that they may have avoided. You will be supported as difficult feelings emerge, or past experiences are recognised. As a result you may feel freer, lighter, relived, more true to yourself.
In counselling you are working with your emotions. You may wish to talk about things that you have always kept to yourself. You may find that in doing this you are challenging the ‘rules’ you grew up with; which might be don’t get angry, or get angry and shout but don’t listen, it might be that girls behave in one way and boys another, it might be that family business is kept strictly private – all families have their rules, unspoken and often out of daily awareness. It can be liberating to identify these rules, and to understand how they restrict you in adult life.
Together we look at how you might resolve issues, move forward, let go of things. I don’t underestimate the potential difficulty of doing this – at times it can feel as if there are no options and that you have no choices, however the rewards of working through these difficulties can be considerable. Counselling and therapy can be liberating experience.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
There is no clear definition as work that starts as counselling can become longer term, deeper therapy. As a general guide counselling is more likely to be shorter term and more likely to be looking as a specific situation say to do with a relationship, or working through feelings resulting from a bereavement or other change in life. Psychotherapy is generally thought of as longer term which can mean over one or more years and the work is at a deeper emotional level.
As well as the specific issues mentioned above people sometimes seek out therapy to understand themselves more, to understand how it is that they get into certain patterns of thought or relationship or how come they don’t achieve the things they want to.
People turn to a counsellor or psychotherapist for many reasons, here are some of them.
- You may be worried by troubling thoughts and feelings, such as anger, suicidal thoughts, despair, disconnection from other people or feel as if you are cut off from life – you can see a beautiful view for example but cannot feel touched by it.
- You might recognise that you feel depressed or anxious most of the time. You might connect this with something specific or you might not know why you feel this way
- You might feel stuck and frustrated with your life but feel unable to make changes
- You might have something in your personal history that continues to affect you.
- For every person reading this there will be a different, individual reason. What matters most is that you give yourself the chance to get the support that you need when you need it.
Here are some common thoughts that stop people seeking the support of a counsellor or therapist:
- It’s a sign of weakness
- The counsellor might think I’m stupid.
- I can’t afford it
- I haven’t got the time
- I might be seen
- I might fall apart/go mad
- I might cry & feel really small/stupid/weak
- I always manage things on my own
- I am the strong one in my family, what will happen if they think I can’t cope?
Lack of time and money may stand in your way. Depending on your circumstances you may find that not making time for yourself is part of what makes you think about needing counselling – which is not to dismiss the great pressure on personal time in many people’s lives. How often you come and how long for can be negotiated, alongside consideration of your needs and what is more or less likely to be effective.
MONEY AND FEES
I charge £45.00 for a one hour session. Money can be a very difficult issue and therefore a rich area to explore in therapy: whether you have enough, how you feel about money how you feel about your finical circumstances.
I recognise that paying for personal therapy is not an option open to everyone. I am open to discussing the fee and negotiating a different amount.
I am a Registered Member of BACP and am therefore bound by their code of ethics which includes consideration of confidentiality.
So what does this mean in practice?
- I do not talk about you, even to confirm or deny that I am seeing you to anyone else in a casual or gossiping way. In a rural community people will often know about other connections and overlaps in life –(see also below) all the more reason to be very clear that in these circumstances the fact that you are a client, and therefore what you might be working on is totally confidential.
- I have regular supervision, which is required by my membership of BACP. This is with a senior practitioner who is also bound by the code of ethics. The purpose of this is to ensure that my work is of a high standard and that your interests are at the heart of the work that we do.
- If I had serious concerns for the safety of a third person, particularly children or vulnerable adults, I would have a duty to report this to the appropriate authorities. If I had serious concerns about imminent danger to yourself, I would also have a duty to discuss this with an appropriate professional. This does not include times when you might discuss regular self-injury or talking about suicide – other than as a likely possibility in the short term.
- There are also legal obligations to report potential terrorist activity or related activities such as money laundering.
WHAT IF YOU KNOW PEOPLE CONNECTED TO ME, OR I KNOW PEOPLE CONNECTED TO YOU?
In rural areas it can be difficult to avoid all connections. The ideal is to have none, in practice the general rule is that the closer the connection the less advisable it is to work together and there are ethical guidelines about not having another role in relation to each other, such as work colleagues. The possibility of some connection emphasises the need to be clear about confidentially.
WHO COMES FOR COUNSELLING?
Anybody. And what matters is that you feel the need to get in touch and make an appointment – there is no judgment about what has led you to look for counselling or therapy. Your need is a great as anyone else’s – there are no comparisons or judgements made about the ‘seriousness’ of your issues – you have the right to attend to your needs, to be heard and to have the kind of attention that can enable you to find your own answers and your own strengths and inner resources.
WORKING WITH TRAUMA
You may know that you have traumatic experiences in your history. Or you might have a range of experiences such as nightmares, constantly feeling watchful or alert, panic attacks or other things which could be related to trauma. Sometimes trauma is a single incident, such as a road accident or being the subject of or witness to violence, or it can be many experiences building up over time. These experiences might not be thought of as trauma until you begin to uncover the impact they have had on you.
In working with trauma I follow current practice which does not involve you having to relive or ‘face up to’ traumatic experiences. Instead we would work in a gentle way to help your whole self, including your nervous system, to recognise that it has happened; that it is memory and not a constant present; to build ways of working with any lasting impacts, such as reactions to loud noise for example. There may also be, depending on the circumstances, longer term issues such as lack of trust, anger, identity issues that we can address together.
I have worked with both victims and perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse.
EQUALITIES, DIVERSITY AND CHALLENGING OPPRESSION
Throughout my working life I have had a strong commitment to promoting equalities and diversity. In practice, for you, this means that I work hard to hear you and your experiences without clouding my vision or reception of you with preconceived ideas and prejudices. This does not mean that I am colour/disability etc. blind, but that I will do my best to hear you, including your challenges to me. I am currently updating my awareness particularly of race and sexuality issues. I am very open to challenge about how I am received by you and to changing if it feels that I am perpetuating oppression.
SEX, SEXUALITY, GENDER AND IDENTITY
I do not have specialist sex therapy training – however, issues of sex, sexual and gender identity and sexual experiences are frequently a part of what brings people to counselling. I will work in a non-judgmental way if you wish to look at these issues in your life; and if you don’t because these are not areas of difficulty for you, I will be open to who you are.
I am a member of BACP’s Spirituality division. I respect and value the spiritual life and practice including your particular faith/religious beliefs as well as spirituality that is not connected to any particular faith perspective or tradition. Elements of your spiritual practice such as meditation, prayer or ritual could be part of your counselling/therapy experience. Gestalt practice very often focusses on the present so practices such as mindfulness, yoga or meditation can be very compatible.
CREATIVITY AND EXPERIMENT
Gestalt practice is very compatible with creativity. Creativity can be a part of a session or the whole business of the therapeutic setting and relationship can be explored creatively – you might spend a whole session in silent movement, for example, you may wish to experiment by speaking as different aspects of yourself, you may wish to rearrange the room, there are lots of way that we can work creatively together –or you may have a creative life and need that aspect of your life to be considered. I have some experience of working in an arts organisation.
MENTAL ILLNESS DIAGNOSES
I do not subscribe to the illness model followed by our mental health services. I support the development of non medical responses to distress.
This does not mean that I have a limited or naive view about the ways in which people experience and express their distress, including hallucinations, dissociated experiences, prolonged despair and hopelessness, rage, self-injury or, sometimes, violence to others.
I am also familiar with the fear and disorientation that these experiences can engender. I know that these feelings can last a lifetime and that great fear can be felt if you are worried that you are returning to those times, or that you may have to return to a psychiatric unit or hospital.
I have long experience of working to support the voices of people who use mental health services.
These experiences may mean that our work has to be gentle and slow and you may need other sources of support – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot benefit from psychotherapy.
ETHICS, INSURANCE & QUALIFICATIONS
I am bound by the BACP code of ethics – this gives you protection and an assurance about the ethical standards of my practice.
I am fully insured for public liability and professional indemnity
My qualifications are in social work, Gestalt therapy and group work. I am a registered member of BACP and am working toward accreditation. I am also working toward accreditation as a trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management
Certificate Social services, Certificate Group & Family work, Diploma Gestalt Therapy, post graduate credits Human Ecology