What is the Counsellor's role in the relationship?
The quality of the therapeutic relationship developed in the counselling room is the singlemost important part of the counselling process. The Counsellor's role is one of guide and mentor, there to help you explore, discover, and interpret experiences, including early formative ones, so that you can challenge your own assumptions, make sense of, and reflect on, life's journey so far and its meaning in order to understand parts of yourself that may have been hidden from your conscious thinking.

My aim,therefore, is to endeavour to understand you as a unique and complex individual, offering support without judgement. I will use my training and life experience to help you explore and understand why you may gravitate towards particular ways of thinking or behaving in order to help you reassess and, ultimately, find your own inner-directed solutions to life's inevitable difficulties and challenges.

Rarely are there any easy answers because life is usually both complicated and at times traumatic, but I will always endeavour to accompany and support you on that journey to help you find your own inner strengths and resources, while at all times respecting your right to choose your own path.

My role will be to offer you the time and whatever ongoing support is needed to help you gain clarity so that you can get in touch with increasing possibilities for a well developed sense of self-worth and a more fulfilling life.

Why do I need a counsellor when I have friends and family for support?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, life conspires to get you down. It’s not always that easy to ‘snap out of it’ or get over it' as friends or relatives might be tempted, in as kind a way as possible, to suggest. They often have their own ideas about what you should do or they may want to talk about their own emotional concerns and responses.

For all sorts of reasons it might be difficult for them to actually hear what you are trying to say. This may prevent them from allowing you to explore your own feelings in a way that brings clarity and helps you to make decisions.

At times we all need someone to talk to, but it's not always possible to find that support amongst friends, family or colleagues. Sometimes its difficult to completely be yourself with friends in case they think you're soft, stupid, always moaning or just plain crazy.

You may have been subtly taught to hide or mask your problems in order to show the world that you are coping. If you have been bullied or abused you may remain fearful or blame yourself, finding it difficult to be open about your experiences, burying your thoughts and feelings deep inside in the hope that they may go away.

When they don't it may cause feelings of guilt, shame, anger, sadness or depression. You may keep finding yourself in the same old situations that cause you pain. You may be struggling with an addiction, an eating disorder or behaviours that only serve to keep you in denial about those banished feelings.

No matter how hard you may try to bury painful feelings and memories, they do have a habit of surfacing sooner or later, maybe by being triggered or reinforced by current events. This can radically affect that quality of how you live your life in the here and now.

Isn't counselling for people with more money than sense?
There are still many people today who take a stoical approach to life's ups and downs, believing that such burdens must be carried because that’s just the way life is. Anyone who tells you differently can’t possibly know what you’ve been through and certainly couldn’t do much about it anyway because the trauma has already happened and no-one can change the past.

Such a perspective of course is valid and there is no doubt that it gets many people through with varying degrees of success. But while ‘biting the bullet’ may have been how previous generations coped in the main with trauma or life’s difficult challenges, it has now been superseded by new knowledge and understanding of what makes us tick.

That’s why a professional impartial listener who is trained to observe human behaviour in all its myriad complexity can be invaluable because such a person is operating non-judgmentally and objectively with a benign focus on his/her client’s welfare.

How much does private counselling cost?
I charge £45 per one-hour session for an individual and £50 for couples.The same fee is applicable whether the work is focussing on relationship or sexual problems.                        

How often do I need to attend counselling sessions?
I normally offer weekly appointments. To get the most benefit, I would encourage couples to attend initially for six counselling sessions and then to review the degree of progress being made. This is optional however. It is how I like to work but ultimately it is up to you to decide how the counselling commitment fits in with your schedules and how often you feel it is of benefit to attend. This subject can be discussed at any time during sessions in order to ensure that you feel comfortable with the frequency and pace of the process.

How long does each session last?
Counselling sessions last for sixty minutes.

Are sessions confidential?
Yes, privacy and confidentiality are an integral and crucial part of the work. There are exceptions to total confidentiality in order to comply with the law. These can include disclosures about: acts of terrorism, drug trafficking (not personal use of recreational drugs), disclosures of child abuse or where it is considered you may be at imminent risk of harm to yourself or others.

What if I am not happy with the service I receive or I have a complaint?
I would hope that you would feel confident/comfortable/brave enough to talk to me, if you were not happy, in the first instance. Hopefully we could resolve any difficulties or concerns that you had voiced. If you feel unable to talk directly to me, or after voicing any concerns you do not feel listened to and still feel unhappy, then you should contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (COSRT) and take procedural instructions.

Who needs to know that I am seeing a Counsellor?
It is up to you who you tell. In order to feel supported it may be that you wish someone close to you to know, a partner, a friend, a family member. You may consider discussing this with your GP, especially if you are on, or are considering taking medication.