You may be feeling stuck, overwhelmed or unable to find a way towards a more fulfilling life. If so, you are far from alone.
Counselling helps you explore the origins of your feelings, it may be events or circumstances, a relationship dynamic, loss, or be traced back to childhood experiences. I can help you explore this, make sense of these feelings and plan for the future, in a non-judgemental, empathic and completely confidential space.
As a Humanistic Counsellor I work collaboratively in that you and I both bring our expertise into the room. We start from the position that you know yourself better than anyone. You bring your self-knowledge, your experiences, your resources, your thoughts and feelings. I bring theory, knowledge and experience as a therapist. It’s not about telling you what to do, or giving advice, but helping you to find a way forward, together. Counselling can be challenging but hugely rewarding.
People come to me for help with a wide range of issues. Here are a few of the more common difficulties that can be supported through counselling:
Divorce & separation
Feelings of stress or anxiety
Grief, loss or bereavement
Trauma and post-traumatic stress
Problems with confidence or self-esteem
Issues with sexuality
Difficulties at work or in retirement
Faith and culture
Redundancy & unemployment
Shame & guilt
Our First Meeting
It can feel daunting sharing your personal thoughts, feelings and issues with a stranger, and you will no doubt need to feel you are in safe and competent hands. Our first meeting is an opportunity for you to meet me, for you to visit my practice, or discover the online Counselling experience. Also, for you to share any expectations, hopes, fears and concerns, and of course to ask any questions. This allows you to make an informed decision about whether you wish to return for ongoing Counselling.
This also provides me an opportunity to find out about what you are bringing and ensure I am well placed to support you.
Ongoing Counselling Sessions
Sessions are normally weekly, 50 minutes long. We start by establishing your needs and setting objectives for our work together. You may wish to discuss the number of sessions you feel you can attend. This will form the basis of an agreement which we will regularly review and update as we progress.
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
A common and understandable question. This is not easily answered but you will know in advance if you can only attend a fixed number of sessions – if that is the case, we can set objectives which are realistic for that time frame. Otherwise, I normally suggest we plan 4-6 sessions and then review. Some people just need a few sessions, others need a more ongoing, open ended approach.
Everything that is said within the counselling room is private. Once you are comfortable with the format of weekly sessions and the safe space they provide, you will find the freedom to speak in confidence is of great value.
Situations may arise where you are at risk to yourself or others, in which case the law requires that I notify an authority; in these cases I may not be able to keep total confidentiality. Breaking confidentiality is extremely rare, and only happens after it is discussed with the client.
I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding dealing with your data and will provide details of my GPDR policies at our first meeting.
Usually I am asked this question by people who are nervous about entering into counselling, or when they are looking for support in coming to see a therapist. This anxiety is understandable, but a key aspect of therapy is that you should feel free to talk about any issues you feel are important to you. Having someone with you who may have some connection to those issues, can make this difficult, so for this reason I do not see clients accompanied by friends or family.
How long a period of counselling lasts will vary from person to person and depend on the depth of the issues they are facing. For some people a couple of sessions will help to bring their problems into focus, and they feel ready to move forward; others may require more of an open-ended approach.
Counselling is a good way to help with a current problem; something that can be discussed and – hopefully – resolved within a limited number of sessions as the understanding of the problem improves and a way forward becomes clear.
Sometimes the work needs to go further, towards more substantial life issues and problems which have had a deeper effect on the client’s life. This requires a longer-term approach, so the number of sessions can be open-ended.
Which option is most suitable depends on the client and the difficulties they are facing.
Before we begin any work, we will agree on the number of sessions we’ll undertake, and at the end of that number review our progress. As long as we both agree further therapy will be of benefit to you, sessions can continue.
My aim is to offer a first appointment – known as an initial assessment – within 1-2 weeks. Then we would arrange a set number of counselling sessions to take place at the same time every week, that is convenient for you and where I have availability. How quickly these sessions can begin will depend on the availability of that free ‘slot’.
©2021 Jacqui Hames
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