Frequently Asked Questions
I have specialist training in EMDR – Level 1 in 1996 and Level 2 in 2016
- eating or sleeping differently
- having difficulty concentrating
- feeling helpless or hopeless
- having dramatic mood swings
- drinking too much, or taking drugs
- feeling so anxious, afraid, or depressed that everyday activities and relationships with other have been affected
- performing poorly at work or school
- experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by others
- suffering from low self-esteem
- experiencing conflict in relationships with family, friends, co-workers, or significant others
- having reactions to an event that are in excess of what might be expected
- experiencing a crisis or stressful event, like a death in the family, divorce, or break-up of a relationship
- finding life too much and having thoughts about suicide
It is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach where I lead you through a pre-prepared ‘workbook’.
My interest in your past is for how it is relevant to the present and what you’re struggling with now. I will always take a history as part of the assessment process which helps me to decide how best to help you achieve what you want to get out of the counselling process.
A common worry about starting counselling a lot of time will be spent going over the past. Our past experiences and relationships shape us but the focus of counselling is on how we can make changes in the here and now.
We can’t change the past but understanding it can provide us with useful information about where to direct our attention to provide healing and make the necessary changes.
I work with clients in what Psychologists call a ‘relational’ way. This means working together in an interactive way. I am not a blank slate – I will tell you about my experience of you.
How often do you wonder what people think and feel about you. Counselling can provide you with information that can help you in your relationships because you will have learnt something about how you are experienced.
This may not match up at all with what you are trying to create. I can help you achieve the kind of relationships you want more of.
You do not lie on a couch. You sit in a chair which is comfortable enough to help you feel relaxed but our time together is working together to get you closer to, in a nutshell, feeling better and acting differently.
There are many different approaches to counselling and therapy. I have studied various approaches to counselling and continually undertake professional development to make sure I keep up with the research, so I can apply the most effective treatments in counselling.
I am influenced by:
- Gestalt therapy
- Solution focused therapy/brief therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Attachment theory
- Existential theory
My aim is to assist you towards greater self-awareness and greater understanding of others. We will help you identify the issues to explore and clarify feelings, focus on your personal support resources and decide on options for change, if appropriate.
I am experienced in working both short term and long term with clients. All counselling and therapy is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure we maintain a focus on the goals of therapy.
Perhaps there is a pattern repeating itself in your life that leaves you feeling distressed, frustrated, or confused.
Gaining an understanding about the issue by talking to someone qualified can help.
I understand it is a big decision to seek therapy support and it is vital you find someone you’re comfortable with. In my work with you, I will give you tools to help do things differently. Family and friends can be supportive but if a problem is persistent, or there are some things you cannot say, it may be time to seek professional support.
I provide a safe, confidential environment for you to explore your thoughts and feelings and work on making things different.
Choosing a counsellor, out of the many that are available, can feel like a difficult task. Having made the decision to start counselling you probably want to get started as soon as possible but might be struggling to decide who is best for you to see. It might help to understand a bit more about what and whom you are choosing between to make the best choice.
There are different professional qualifications (counselling, psychology, social work) and different titles (therapist, psychologist, counsellor, psychiatrist, social worker) to try to understand. There are also different types of therapies (e.g. gestalt, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioural) and many individual practitioners to choose from. Making your way through piles of information and extracting what is helpful can be made easier by using the following approach.
Choose a qualified counsellor. Qualified counsellors and therapists undergo rigorous training and most are accredited by their relevant professional bodies. The counsellor’s experience in dealing with the issues you have is an important factor to consider. Do check for professional memberships and, if relevant, registration. You should always feel free to ask about a counsellor’s training, experience and professional membership.
It is important to put a limit on the ‘finding out’ stage. Too much information on the table can lead to overload and makes a decision harder. Past a certain point, getting more information will only leave you feeling less informed and perhaps confused about how to make your decision. At worst, you make no decision at all.
When choosing a counsellor, remember to allow room for your ‘gut reaction’ – the person’s profile you read that you just have a feeling you would like to work with. There is much research highlighting that the connection between client and therapist and the therapists experience are more predictive of successful outcomes than the type of therapy or techniques practiced.
You might want to call more than one counsellor, to get a sense of the person, to help in making your final decision.
Follow through with making an appointment and give yourself the best opportunity to make the most of the counselling – it is an investment of time, money and energy in yourself.
Remember, your decisions can be reversed. If the choice you made doesn’t end up being one you’re happy with you can always change it.
How will I know if something isn’t right with the therapy?
- You don’t feel comfortable talking about something
- Your counsellor is dismissive of your problems or concerns
- Your counsellor seems to have a personal agenda
- Your counsellor does more talking than listening
- Your counsellor tells you what to do and how to live your life
As such I adhere to the Society’s Code of Ethics and its complaints procedures.
I am committed to providing you with the highest level of confidentiality and service. This includes protecting your privacy. Any personal details I collect about you will be treated in confidence. The information will be stored securely and available for you to look at on request. The information will not be disclosed to a third party without your permission.
I will provide you with paperwork to read and sign prior to starting counselling.
You will speak with me directly as I do not have a receptionist.
Please do not be put off by my voice mail as it just means I’m with someone. Please leave me a message and I will always try to return your call within 24 hours.
There is a comfortable waiting area in my Mount Pleasant office location. There is no reception desk and all administration (booking appointments and making payments) will be done for you within our session. This approach allows me to keep my costs lower and reflect this in my fee rates.