There can be occasions in life when it may not feel appropriate to approach our usual support network of family and friends - or perhaps there is no such network. At such times you may consider counselling, during which you can be supported by an independent and qualified counsellor, who will offer you a professional, confidential and non-judgemental environment.
Counselling is not about giving advice; it is a safe and therapeutic setting in which, I believe, the client has the capacity to know what is best for him- or herself. Self-knowledge such as this can become inaccessible when life prevents or distracts us from asking the right questions.
My role is to facilitate the client's personal development and to support them as they get in touch with their thoughts and feelings and identify their choices. This may involve helping the client to develop new skills or coping strategies in order to allow them to come to terms with past experiences or to make changes about how to live in the future.
All counselling sessions are confidential and will not be disclosed to a third party without your permission unless I have concerns of a risk of serious harm to yourself or others. If this were the case I would discuss my concerns with you and endeavour to get your permission to involve a third party. However, I might need to disclose the information without your permission in extreme circumstances.
The initial session is an opportunity to meet and discuss your counselling requirements and for you to ask any questions you may have. I will complete an assessment form during this session and, if we agree to begin working together, I will ask you to sign a contract of which you will have a copy.
Together we will decide upon a focus for the work and we will define attainable goals. Should I feel that your particular issues require a specialist in that area, we might discuss the possibility of referring you to an alternative counsellor who would be more appropriate for your needs.