Counselling psychology is a distinctive profession within psychology with a specialist focus, which links most closely to the allied professions of psychotherapy and counselling. It pays particular attention to the meanings, beliefs, context and processes that are constructed both within and between people and which affect the psychological well-being of the person. Counselling psychologists focus on people’s mental representations of events, and the particular significance of these for relationships with themselves and with others (source, BPS).
While I have a sophisticated understanding of mental health models, I am also aware that these ways of describing and understanding human distress can be very limiting. I have a deep appreciation that human experience cannot be simply described through a symptom and careful consideration of one's personal history, personal and cultural beliefs as well and family influences need to be all considered if one is to truly understanding suffering. All too often, I have come across individuals labelled as 'depressive' when a deeper appreciation of their experience reveals significant levels of internal conflict or systematic oppression and bullying.
My background in counselling psychology allows me to adapt my approach so as to be respectful of the persons I work with in relation to their particular relational style, culture, life experience and age. I am experienced in working with persons facing various difficulties of the emotional, behavioural and characterological types.
Individual therapy allows for a space where the person can explore their specific situation in the privacy of the consulting room while couple therapy or marriage counselling allows a couple to look at established patterns of relating supported by the therapist's input. Sometimes, couple therapy allows personal difficulties (e.g. a tendency towards feeling depressive emotions) to be explored with the support of one's partner. This is a recent development in couple psychotherapy and one that offers promise to individuals that have found a more individual approach too upsetting or unhelpful.
Psychotherapy knows its roots in the history of psychoanalysis with its fascination with unconscious aspects of personality with its reserve of problematic and creative potential (these are simply aspects of ourselves we are less aware of). This approach is best suited to those wishing to understand their predicament and develop a freer, more creative way of being within themselves, with others and in their love relationships.
I see couples facing a wide variety of difficulties ranging from sexual difficulties, conflict around finances and extended family, disagreements around parenting, feelings of disconnection and general discontent. I also see couples wanting a approach separation or divorce in less destructive manner.
We all pass through moments in our lives where we feel depleted or find ourselves struggling to overcome difficulties. Counselling and psychotherapy offer a tried and tested way of finding the means to manage the realities we face and work towards changing them for the better. I am experienced in assisting you if you currently experience the following:
Depression or disabling sadness
The aftermath of trauma
Feelings of loss
Feelings of emptiness
Dissatisfaction with an aspect of your behaviour
Worry about your sexuality
Or desire to:
Gain a better understanding of yourself
Discover a sense of meaning and purpose
Improve the quality of your relating with your loved ones
Better your ability to parent effectively
Wish to review your lifestyle and/or goals in life
The above is not an exhaustive list of life situations clients have brought to my attention and I remain willing to offer consultation whatever your current situation as to whether counselling and psychotherapy are likely to be of help. My training in counselling psychology means I will offer you a bespoke approach tailored to your particular needs.
Relationships are an extremely personal and important part of our life and an area that requires a sensitive consideration. I appreciate that there is often a need to solve problematic situations alongside a desire to understand particular experiences. Often a limited number of sessions prove sufficient to both to address a crisis and provide some awareness of ‘what goes wrong’. Some individuals and couples desire and benefit from a more explorative, longer-term approach. I am experienced in helping couples when:
Living together has become distressing
Relatively minor issues provoke excessive turmoil
Sex has become problematic
Infidelity or suspected infidelity
An imbalance of power is a cause of concern
A desire to end a relationship is coupled with a hope for a less conflict ridden separation
Whatever your current relational problem, you can contact me for a consultation to explore the likelihood that my expertise in counselling and psychotherapy will be able to be of help you address your situation.
Stereotypes, and to some degree, experience suggests that men are less enthusiastic than women about seeking help when they face relational (and other) difficulties. While men are often blamed for such avoidance, this is often related to the the nature of counselling itself. Some critics have noted that counselling and psychotherapy originally developed in a context where women were the prototype client such that men’s needs were largely ignored in the mistaken belief that men are essentially less prone to distress (thus failing to be sensitive to men’s situations). This often resulted in psychotherapy feeling rather irrelevant in addressing core issues in men’s lives.
Fortunately, in more recent years, this imbalance has been addressed with research and theoretical developments (often spearheaded by counselling psychology) that provide men with a more experience-near understanding of their behaviours, dilemmas and feelings. I have a keen interest in male psychology and gender-sensitive psychotherapy and this normally allows me to provide a context in which most people can discuss matters that are of importance to themselves with ease. If you are male (or female) and uncomfortable with what counselling or psychotherapy might involve for yourself or your partner, I am available for a brief discussion of these matters over the phone and possibly to arrange for a lengthier consultation.