Counselling is a talking therapy. It is a process where you can feel safe talking to someone who listens to your point of view, who accepts who you are, who doesn’t tell you what to do and who will not discriminate against you.
It can help you
- Understand difficult emotions
- Make sense of your circumstances
- Work out your own options
- Move on better equipped to cope with the future
People come to counselling with many different experiences.
- You may feel angry, scared, sad, depressed, anxious, stressed or lonely.
- You may be grieving, have a lack of confidence, a difficult decision to make, difficulty sleeping, concerns about sex or experience of abuse.
- Your problems may be with relationships, family, work or school.
- You can talk about and work with your individual needs.
There is safety in exploring your own experience in a confidential environment. I liken it to being on a journey. You may find you need to stop and look at the map for some reason. Perhaps you are lost, or don’t like the road you have been on. Maybe you wonder what other roads are out there. It might be that the ride has been very bumpy or traumatic even. Counselling offers you a chance to stop, look at the map and have time to yourself to help with the next step.
“If we do not change the direction we are going, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”
– Chinese proverb.
In this time I don’t tell you where to go nor do I judge your progress. It can be very helpful having someone looking at the map with you. If I point to what I see on the map, this may enhance your view.
What is the Difference between Counselling & Psychotherapy
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) does not differentiate between counselling and psychotherapy. However, there is a view that counselling works in the short term and with fewer complex issues, whereas psychotherapy works with more chronic mental and physical health problems. It focuses on the client’s thought processes and way of being in the world rather than specific problems.
I feel that both ways of working overlap and therefore I see myself fulfilling both roles in the way I work.
What is CBT and how does it differ from Counselling and Psychotherapy?
CBT is a very structured and practical approach to helping people identify and then change unhelpful thinking and behavioural patterns. While it can be delivered with empathy and support, it does not emphasise free talking or much exploration of the past, and is more directive than counselling and psychotherapy. It can be seen as more of a “treatment” for depression and anxiety. Counselling and psychotherapy offer more space and time for free exploration, allowing the client to find their way through talking about experiences.
I like to combine both approaches. I find much of the knowledge-base and techniques used in CBT to be very helpful indeed. I like to present the concepts as things that may be of help, rather than structure sessions around the delivery of these techniques. CBT is very solution focussed. I remain person-centred, while incorporating some of these more solution-focussed techniques.
I also incorporate Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, a derivative of CBT which has combined with Eastern meditation techniques. MBCT trains a person to observe rather than react to thoughts, as they flow in and out of the mind. This reduces the struggle against distorted thoughts and encourages acceptance, rather than resistance.