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What I can offer you

I offer kind and non-judgemental counselling

Photograph of me in my counselling room

In a counselling relationship I place great importance on accepting you as you are, on warmth, and on human connection. As a professional counsellor and psychotherapist I follow a set of moral guiding principles in my therapeutic work and I will always try to act in your best interests. I will strive to put you first while working with you in a therapeutic session, work to professional standards, respect you, build an appropriate and healthy relationship with you, maintain my own integrity, and be accountable and honest with you in our work together.

Although I have a professional background in science, I do not view counselling as something scientific, technical or medical. I do not believe in just hearing about your symptoms and then giving you a prescription of things you need to fix or change. You are the expert on yourself.

I see my job as trying as best as I can to get to know what it's like to be you, to have experienced the things you have, to feel the things you feel, and to be alongside you as we explore the memories, experiences and thoughts that cause you distress, pain, and also happiness. It's my job to help shine a light on things that might be difficult for you to see clearly. It's my job to go with you to the places that are difficult for you to go to alone. It's my job to hear the words and try to sense the feelings you can't express anywhere else. I never want you to feel alone during the moments we spend together, nor do I want you to feel like I'm intruding. I want you to be free to go to the places that you need to go to for your own healing and self-exploration.

I am not qualified to diagnose you with any mental health or psychiatric condition. I can work with you on your experience of feeling depressed or anxious. I can explore your feelings about receiving an autism diagnosis, or your feelings about possibly being autistic. But I cannot diagnose you.

Areas of interest and expertise

Photograph of distant storm clouds.

I'm experienced at working with clients experiencing a range of difficulties but in particular I have experience working in drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. The following is a partial list of areas in which I have counselling experience:

I have a particular interest in ADHD, Autism and other forms of neurodiversity.

As part of my working life in academia I have extensive experience supporting disabled students and students with mental health difficulties. I wrote a dissertation on mental health and introversion for my higher education teaching qualification (2017). I also am active in advocating for increased compassion, support, acceptance and equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

My therapeutic approach

Accepting

Empathic

Genuine

Photograph of a sunset.

There are different types of approach to counselling. I am a "Humanistic" counsellor. Humanistic therapies are powered by self-discovery, free will, and finding and releasing the power for change that lies within us.

From the perspective of a Humanistic therapist, you, as the client, are the expert on yourself. This contrasts with other therapies where the counsellor is the expert. Where I am an expert is in having the experience to get as close as I can to knowing and feeling what it is like to be you and to experience what you experience. It is my job to be a close companion, to not leave your side in a therapeutic sense, and not to get in the way of your process of self-discovery and change. This doesn't mean to say that I will just nod away in the corner while you talk! I hope you will experience me as an active and present companion.

Humanistic counsellors have much less power in the therapeutic relationship and the therapy is said to be led by the client. This means that as a Humanistic counsellor I won't tell you what to talk about. I won't diagnose you or label you. You decide what you want to work on. You may be expecting a therapist to somehow "fix" you, but Humanistic therapists believe that lasting change can only be achieved by you "fixing" yourself.

People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.

Carl Rogers, A Way of Being

There are different types of Humanistic therapies and I am trained in Person-Centred counselling. This approach was founded in the 1940s by the American psychologist and therapist Carl Rogers who believed that if people experienced being accepting and valued by another (unconditional positive regard), someone being honest and transparent with them (genuineness), and experienced the power of being deeply understood by another (empathy) then change would be possible.

I often work experientially which means that I think it is therapeutically beneficial for people to describe how they experience life and their inner world. This does not mean that I will tell you what to talk about, I strive for you to lead the therapy, but it does mean I may ask you questions about how you have experienced something, how you feel about something. I may reflect to you how I feel about something you have said or experienced. You get to decide for yourself if what I've said is relevant for you. There is no homework but that which you set for yourself.

Whilst I do not consider Person Centred Counselling as "treatment" - I do not see you as my "patient" for whom I will "cure" - for some people it is important to know that the counselling has been shown to work. Person Centred Counselling has been clinically evaluated in a range of research studies and shown to be as effective as other forms of therapy. It is also one of the therapies recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and offered by the NHS.