The counselling commitment is usually to meet once a week on a set day and at a time that suits us both. This provides a sense of consistency to the work.
At the beginning, I will ask you to tell me a bit about what has led you to seek counselling. From there, we can start exploring your situation further, and though this process can take time, there is no rush.
We would typically agree to six initial sessions and then see how we are getting on. Depending on the person and situation, some will decide that they don’t need too many more sessions beyond this – many others will need longer to fully explore where they are going.
The kind of therapy I offer is not like an advice service – I won’t be directly telling you how I think you should improve your situation or acting like an expert on your life. Instead, we will work together as a team to flesh out what you are going through, bringing you to a deeper awareness and understanding of your thoughts, feelings, actions and plans for change. I will support you in making your own decisions.
Starting out, the counselling process can be like a big ball of yarn, with many different threads tangled together or sticking out at random. Our aim will be to unravel these threads and start weaving them into something that makes more sense and is hopefully more manageable.
If you are open to it, we can also incorporate some element of therapeutic writing to our work together. This might be in the form of journaling to further your self-discovery between sessions and then bringing that material into our work, or through my introducing you to specific creative/reflective writing exercises and techniques that I think you might find beneficial. I will always be guided by you on this, though.
Finally, you may be unsure of what the difference is between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy.’ The terms are frequently used in conjunction with each other and are often interchangeable, but some argue that ‘psychotherapy’ is the better description for deeper, more long-term work. Either way, the confidential, trusting and supportive nature of the relationship is the same.