‘Counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’ are generic terms used interchangeably to describe essentially the same thing – talking therapy – which is any psychological therapy that involves talking through your problems or issues. What counselling hopes to achieve is relief from emotional problems or distress. It allows you – the client – to explore, understand and find solutions to the problems you bring to therapy. It involves meeting with a trained counsellor (use the term ‘therapist’ if you prefer) to talk about your problems and difficulties. Your psychological well-being is at the heart of the conversation and meetings tend to be weekly but can, if appropriate, be at different frequencies. They can last for a few weeks to months or, in some cases, years depending upon the problems being presented by the client.
There are many types of counselling ‘models’ or ways of working, each with their own characteristics and not every type will suit everyone. Therefore it is important that the counsellor you choose assesses what is the most appropriate treatment for you and either provides the relevant treatment or refers you on to other professionals who can help. You may have heard of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This type of therapy addresses the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and actions and has many applications. Psychodynamic therapies focus on how past experiences affect our thoughts and behaviour in the present. Then there are humanistic therapies, which focus on the whole person in order to help the person reach their full potential.
At Well Life Counselling I base my counselling style on what is termed Person-Centred Therapy, which is a humanistic approach to counselling, which allows you, the client, to freely express your emotions and feelings. However, I may vary my approach if necessary to meet your specific need. Our relationship is one of respect and positive regard and is centred on the belief that everyone has an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential in life but that, sometimes, due to negative experiences during their lives, they can be knocked off course. The reasons can be many, such as abuse, bereavement, relationship breakdown, change, uncertainty, ill-health or war to name but a few. These things can diminish our sense of value as human beings and lead to all sorts of psychological problems. I will seek to understand your experience from your point of view, value you as a person with intrinsic worth as a human being, be open, honest and genuine and accept you unconditionally. The environment in which we work together will enable you to explore your deepest feelings in confidence and to reconnect with your sense of value and self-worth and draw upon your own resources to find your own solutions. So in coming for counselling you are not giving up responsibility but taking responsibility to find the right path in your life with my help.
Finally, a word about stigma. There is undoubtedly stigma attached to mental health in the UK as in many countries. We are made to feel that we have failed in some way if we need to seek help and, despite efforts over many years to change this, mental well-being is still not seen in the same light as physical well-being. If you were to get a physical illness you would not usually be afraid to seek help from your doctor but somehow we feel different about mental health. It takes courage to admit to needing help when we feel bad and seeking help represents strength, not weakness. You are taking responsibility for your future well-being and facing your problems and I congratulate you for doing so and it will be my privilege to help you.