Counselling can help us deal with difficulties in our lives which are too great to tackle alone or with the help of family or friends. It is useful as a place to offload, but counselling also helps us to explore, understand and change the way we think, feel and behave. This can help us resolve problems, improve relationships, live more authentic lives and achieve greater wellbeing. Common issues helped by counselling include: depression, anxiety, anger issues, relationship problems, bereavement or other losses (e.g. job, health, fertility), trauma, emotional, sexual or domestic abuse, bullying, eating disorders, stress and low self worth or self-esteem. This is not a comprehensive list, however, so please do text or call me on 07456 780130 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know whether I can help with your specific issue(s); or view my profile at http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/elissa-mood to see some other areas of counselling I deal with.
Counselling with me
I provide a safe and confidential space where you can talk about any painful, difficult or confusing feelings, thoughts, behaviours or experiences. It is a chance for you to be heard without judgment or advice, and understand why you think, feel or behave the way you do. We will then work through your problems together with the aim of overcoming them and enabling you to face your life with greater confidence, self esteem and hope. I am trained as an Integrative Counsellor, which means I will select which counselling methods I believe are most appropriate for you and integrate them in a personalised way. After all, we are all different and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. I find that the best way of working with a person reveals itself to me over the course of a few sessions, so I keep an open mind each time I start working with someone new. I mainly use the Person-Centred method. However, I might also incorporate Gestalt, Psychodynamic, Transactional Analysis, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or Existential therapies, if and when these feel appropriate for our work together. I also tend to incorporate psycho-education into the way I work, as I believe this helps clients to better understand themselves and their problems – often leading to faster growth and change. I am also trained in Couple’s and Relationship Counselling, Mindfulness, Sand Tray Therapy and Gendlin’s Focussing technique.
Couple’s and Relationship Counselling
Relationship counselling (e.g. between couples, family members or friends) is a bit different to individual counselling. Rather than engaging with and developing a relationship with each person, I am instead looking for the patterns and dynamics or the ‘dance’ between you. On one end of the spectrum this dance may be fiery and confrontational, where each of you is trying to find the “bad guy” and believes the other person must be to blame. You may even want me to be your referee and reach the same conclusions! At the other end of the spectrum is a more ‘chilly’ dance, where perhaps you have stopped arguing or even saying much to each other at all; or maybe the passion, warmth and fun has lessened between and you are both left wondering where the love has gone. Another dynamic somewhere between these two extremes is a ‘pursuer-distancer’ dance, where one of you feels hurt or ignored and tries to raise this with the other, but this is interpreted as judgement or criticism – leading that partner to withdraw. Any of these ‘dances’ can go on for many years, with both parties sadly feeling lost, alone and confused; or they may conclude that love and relationships are simply not for them.
Fortunately – although many people believe love is a mystery and cannot be understood, there is a science which can help us to understand why these unhealthy patterns develop and how they can be replaced with healthier ones. My job is to listen to you empathically as I would with individual clients, but also to observe your relationship and help you see these patterns and how they aren’t serving you. I can help you identify what works and what doesn’t and support you to develop a different dance which meets both your needs and re-kindles that love which perhaps has been lost. This can happen even in very difficult and emotional circumstances – such as in the aftermath of an affair; following a bereavement or trauma; or dealing with infertility.
Our first session together
At the beginning of our first session together I briefly explain the limits to confidentiality and then ask you a few questions about yourself e.g. contact details; health and medication; and support systems. However, I recognise that clients have often been struggling for some time when they first come to counselling, and may have a build up of many difficult experiences and feelings. I therefore like to allow as much time as possible in this first session for you to talk about what’s happening for you – to give you a chance to offload and feel heard. This initial session helps me gain some understanding into the nature of your issues and what you hope to gain from counselling. It also gives a chance for you to get to know me and sense whether I’m someone you might feel comfortable working with.
You may want to take some time after you leave the session to reflect on whether I am the right counsellor for you; or of course you may have arranged to see other counsellors before you make your choice. However, if you feel comfortable and are happy to continue with me we can arrange a second session, and can then continue to see each other on a weekly/fortnightly/monthly or ad-hoc basis, according to your availability and financial situation.
All sessions last one hour and cost £45, payable by cash, cheque or BACS transfer. Some concessions are available for those on low incomes (please see Further information for more details).
How long does it take?
This varies greatly from person to person and depends on many factors, such as the nature and depth of the issues faced; other support systems in place outside counselling; and the current capacity or willingness of the client to change. As a guide: single and relatively simple issues may take approximately six to eight sessions; whereas complex and/or multiple issues may take up to a year or more of therapy.
Counselling is confidential and everything you say to me will be treated with the utmost respect. No-one will overhear what is said in the counselling room. However, I may share aspects of what you say to me with my supervisor, as this will enable me to give you the best support possible. Please let me know if you have any concerns about this.
Please also note that if you are seeing me for relationship counselling, I may need to share something one of you has told me outside of a session (e.g. by phone or email) with your partner, as keeping secrets from them can be harmful for the relationship, and counter-productive for our work together. An exception to this is if one of you tells me information which suggests you are being abused in the relationship. In such cases, I will not share this information with your partner if I feel to do so would put you at risk.
There are also certain issues you might share with me which I may need to disclose to a third party (e.g. your GP), if they suggest a risk of harm to yourself or to someone else. I do, however, take autonomy seriously and would therefore always discuss this with you first, and encourage you to make the disclosure yourself wherever possible. However, please be aware that there are certain issues (e.g. threat of terrorism or abuse of children or vulnerable adults) which require me by law to disclose with or without your consent.