How do I know if I need to start counselling?
Well, perhaps a helpful way of thinking about this question might be to ask yourself, ‘Could I benefit from counselling?’
Sometimes there is the idea that we only need counselling when we have exhausted all other options and are at rock bottom. Indeed, it is sometimes only when we hit the bottom, and have nowhere else to turn, that we decide something has to be done. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case.
Increasingly we are coming to realise that in this often stressful, distressing, fast paced world in which we live, it may be useful to talk to a counsellor about how we are and what is going on for us. Just checking in with our inner world every now and then can often help us to rebalance and reground just enough to be able to untangle some of our worries and see the road ahead in a fresh light.
How long will it take?
If you have a fairly clear understanding of what brings you to therapy, it can take less time to reach a stage where you feel it has been usefully addressed. If the issue is more complex and long-term in nature, it may take longer to reach the same stage.
Our client/counsellor relationship is at the heart of therapy. Reaching a place where you feel comfortable enough to talk freely can also take time. This length of time is different for each person but is also very much part of the therapeutic process.
The duration of the therapeutic process will depend on the type of difficulty or problem you are facing. Some people prefer to work with an open contract, whereas others prefer to work with a fixed number of sessions - maybe 8 to 12. However, in all cases we will review the therapeutic process together every six to eight sessions. This helps you and I to assess whether your needs are being met and will also help - if required - to change the way we are working and/or establish new goals.
How will I know when to stop counselling?
During our initial meeting, we will agree upon a number of sessions to start and, for you to get the most from the experience, it is important you are able to make a commitment to this therapeutic process. Every 6 to 8 weeks we will have a review of how you feel things are going and, if it feels right for you, we can agree an end to therapy.
Yet counselling can be challenging. You may be working with strong, uncomfortable, unfamiliar emotions which are often exhausting and, for a time at least, you may feel that things are getting worse. This is part of the normal process. Sometimes therapy can feel overwhelming and it is often the way that things feel worst before they get better.
Part of my work as a counsellor is in helping you experience these powerful moments in a way that feels safe and manageable; to feel through them as you move towards understanding, acceptance and growth. So, while I will never try to encourage you to continue or dissuade you from therapy, I would always support you in talking about feelings of wanting to end, in case it is important to your understanding of yourself or what originally brought you to therapy.
You are in control of when and if you start and finish counselling. All I ask is that we manage any ending in a way that feels right and safe for you.
What are your fees?
Sessions last 1 hour and are charged at £50 per hour.