It's difficult to talk about my approach to counselling without using a lot of conselling jargon - some people will be more interested than others in the counselling theory that informs the way I work with people. What I would like to do here is describe in simple terms how I work. For people who are more interested in theory I will be adding some content on counselling for depression and narrative therapy as these can be two quite distinct ways of working.
Firstly, I respect everybody as an individual and try to avoid making assumptions about them, their problems and what might help. My approach is grounded in person centred values and philosophy. At the heart of person centred theory is the belief that human beings are basically alright - they are good. (That is not to say that their behaviour is all good). And that everyone has a tendency towards growth - just as plants and babies grow, so too do we continue to grow and develop given the right conditions. So in counselling I aim to create the right sort of relationship for growth: a warm, non judgemental acceptance of you for who you are and where you are with things in your life right now. I will be myself with you in the boundaries of a professional appropriate helping relationship. You may not feel like it right now but I believe you are the expert in your own life. I have some particular skills and knowledge about how to have conversations that will hopefully enable you to feel more skilled in living your life in the way you hope to.
At our first meeting I will listen to what you feel comfortable telling me at this stage, about what brings you to counselling; what is troubling you, and what you would like to get from counselling. The first meeting is a chance for you to get a sense of whether I am the right person to work with, so you may not want to share more than a broad outline of the issue. We can talk together about the things that you have been doing to try to sort things out, what has helped and what hasn't. We can talk about the different ways that we might work together to address your concerns. We can talk about any ideas you have for how long you might want to be in counselling for and what approaches you might prefer. For example some people like to be given things to think about or do in between sessions. Other people are looking to learn new skills or techniques. Still others have no idea whether counselling can help or what they need help with, but are prepared to give it a shot. Whichever is true of you we can talk this over and make a plan together about how to go forward. If you decide to continue to work with me I would want to be regularly checking with you how you are finding the sessions and whether we are on track.
So now for some jargon. These are some of the ways of working that I integrate into my approach: theory and skills from cognitive behavioural therapy, gestalt therapy, brief solutions focussed therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, Inner Child work, transactional analysis, core process therapy, narrative therapy and emotion focussed, therapy.