What Talking Therapies Offer
It may feel a bit daunting coming for counselling for the first time and it may feel strange talking about your personal life to a stranger. Working with me gives you a confidential space to talk, explore your thoughts and feelings and to feel heard and understood. This can lead to a more positive outlook and help you manage difficulties differently. That is why it is important to find the right therapist for you as an individual or couple. This means you need to feel at ease, able to ask questions and talk freely. A good relationship between us is the key to the effectiveness of therapy.
How does it work with individuals?
At the first session we talk about what's brought you at this point in your life for counselling, what your concerns and difficulties are, and the areas of your life you would want to focus our work together. I invite you to discuss your goals and how you would like to be when therapy ends. By the end of the first session we would agree whether I am the right therapist for you. If I am we would both sign a working agreement which sets out my duty of care to you, terms of confidentiality, the principles by which we will work together and the practicalities such as when and where we will meet, fees and cancellation costs.
If you travel a lot with work, Skype sessions may be helpful for those times when you can't physically attend a session.
How does it work with couples?
Couples often come to counselling as a last resort, when their relationship is in crisis and they are at the point of breaking up. It is never too late to take stock and address the difficulties you are having, but the earlier you come the better the chance of a successful and sustainable outcome. People come because they have been arguing, going round in circles, feeling distanced from their partner emotionally and physically, and intimacy may have ceased. There may be issues around the children. Couples also come because one partner has had an affair. Today's social media and the internet offer more opportunities for sexting affairs and porn addiction, and what one partner sees as harmless, the other may see as betrayal.
I am a trained and experienced relationship counsellor, used to helping couples improve their communication, manage conflict, consider their attachment styles, and explore issues around intimacy. I was a family mediator with Gwent Mediation for many years, helping couples separating or divorcing with issues around their children, finance and property. In the past decade I have done specialised relationship training courses with Juliet Grayson and sex addiction with Paula Hall.
I usually see you and your partner separately first for a 30 minute session each , when I will take a relationship history. Then we all meet together and agree the focus of our work. Some couples come for a few sessions, others need longer to resolve their issues. If you don't have a partner or your partner won't attend you are still welcome to come alone.
I work to the BACP code of ethics and good practice and have regular clinical supervision. Everything shared is confidential unless you or someone else is at risk of serious harm or you are breaking the law.