Do you ever feel that the waves are crashing against you? Is the tide coming in quickly leaving you feeling overwhelmed? Are you frightened to dip your toes into the water?
Counselling is a relationship like no other you will ever experience, like waves there will be highs and lows, it will be rough and smooth. As a counsellor I am not here to tell you what to do or to appease you. There will be times as a counsellor I will challenge you, this is not always a pleasant feeling, however it will always be done with the best intention for you, my client, in order to look further into what you are presenting to me.
By deciding to start counselling you are effectively saying I think I am ready for someone to pass me a life jacket. Life jackets vary in shape and size and one size does not fit all. The counselling relationship plays a pivotal part in the success of therapy. When a client comes to me, I want to make sure that they are working with the most suitable counsellor they can, in line with my ethical framework and my own personal morals. Therefore, a brief assessment will occur in our first session of working together. The first session is also an opportunity for you, the client, to decide whether you feel you will be able to work with me. You will need to think about whether you would feel comfortable telling me your most precious thoughts, would you feel comfortable allowing yourself to show vulnerability to me. In order to get the most out of therapy, you need to be able to feel you can trust the counsellor looking back at you on the screen or on the end of the phone. This trusting relationship does not happen instantly but as humans we all have instincts that would allow us to make a guess at whether we could commit to a therapeutic relationship with someone or not.
Everything my clients say to me is protected by our working agreement, which would be signed and discussed in our first session together. Confidentiality means I will not share your story or personal details, unless you tell me something that makes me believe that you or someone else is a serious risk of harm. I also have a legal obligation to protect children and vulnerable adults, therefore the confidentiality policy also applies here. With working with young people, I apply Gillick Competencies, therefore if I deem a young person is of sound mind and capable at making decisions, I will not give feedback to parents, unless the client wants me to or if there is a child protection risk. If I were concerned about anything any client said to me, I would try to talk to my client first, however this may not always be possible so I would speak to the appropriate professional. I take part in supervision; this is where I take my clients session notes to other experienced counsellors to discuss, in order to get a fresh perspective on the work we have done together. During this professional meeting of supervision, my clients remain anonymous.
I believe we are all experts in our own lives, my role is to facilitate the exploration of your feelings and to support you in working towards any changes that you have decided you would like to make. I understand that you may not know what support you need, what changes you want to happen or why you are feeling the way you do. My role is to listen and help you understand why you have those questions and if possible, help you answer them. Therapy is not a quick fix however I would like to think that the work I do with my clients allows them for 50 minutes each week to feel that those waves have subsided in the time they are with me and I can help you empower yourself to face the week ahead.