What is Counselling?

Counselling is about having a safe, caring, non-judgemental space to talk to someone about things that are bothering you.

There are different ways of counselling and as an integrative counsellor I can draw upon different theoretical approaches, to provide the best support for your individual needs. Here are a few that I work with:

The Human Givens approach

I have recently started using Human Givens therapy with clients, who tell me they are greatly helped by it.

A fairly recent approach, the Human Givens approach provides a simple yet profound framework for working with people in distress to help them develop fulfilling, emotionally healthy lives. Human Givens derives from the understanding that when essential basic needs are met and our innate mental resources are used correctly, we will be emotionally and mentally healthy.

Our essential psychological needs include security, autonomy, attention, connection with others, status, privacy, achievement and meaning. Our innate resources are there to help us get our needs met. They include imagination, emotions and instinct, memory, our ability to build rapport, empathise, learn from experience, plan, understand the world unconsciously through metaphorical pattern-matching, our observing self, and our dreaming brain which helps defuse emotional arousals from the previous day.

It is when emotional needs are not being met in balance, or when our innate resources are damaged or misused in some way, that undesirable mental states such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and anger develop.

My aim is to help you look to see what is missing, or being misused in your life and help you find better ways to get your needs met.

ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

The aim of ACT is to help you live a rich, full and meaningful life, while effectively handling the pain that comes your way.

Inevitably, living a full life may include some uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, fear or anger. When we are living life to the full we experience a full range of human emotions. Sooner or later we all come up against disappointment, failure and crisis. ACT can help us learn to handle it better.

When we take action on the things that truly matter to us, clarify what we stand for and act accordingly, we experience a powerful sense of vitality.

The Person-centred approach

The concept of self-direction, based on personal freedom, is the essence of this non-directive approach to counselling. The aim is to move from a position of being someone who others do things to, to being on a journey to discover your own true worth.

Counselling is about helping you move towards change, growth and fulfilment, and to regain the ability to act freely. Self-understanding leads to self-acceptance, which leads in turn to a healthy, fulfilled person.

Existential Counselling

Existential counselling helps people come to terms with human issues we all face at some time, such as loneliness and isolation, anxiety, death and loss, freedom of choice and responsibility, meaning and values. These are some of the themes which, when we reflect on them, may help us to understand the context of the problems and challenges we all face as human beings. We might ask questions of ourselves, such as:

  • What does it mean to be alive?
  • What is my relationship to myself and to other people?
  • What are my responsibilities to myself and other people?
  • What do I value?
  • What is my true potential?
  • What would it be like to choose my own way of living?

Existential therapy explores the unfolding nature of human experience, and brings a curiosity to what it means to be human. It also emphasises the relational aspect of being human i.e. that everything we do is dependent on the context of our lives and the environment we inhabit. It challenges us to make the most of our lives, by facing the choices that lie before us. Then, with increased clarity and insight, we are better equipped to face and solve the issues we experience in life.

In summary, counselling is empowering. When you are empowered, you learn to value and respect yourself. You can then live your life with purpose and commitment in a way that you find meaningful.

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