What is Counselling?

Counselling is about having a safe, caring, non-judgemental space to talk to someone about things that are bothering you. The first session is usually about getting to know each other and assessing your situation. Hopefully, that will lead to building a trusting, supportive and collaborative relationship, which will be explorative and perhaps challenging at times.

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 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 trying to help 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. This takes time and commitment on the part of both client and counsellor.

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.

ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

I also use ACT with clients, who tell me they are greatly helped by it.

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.

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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