How do I know if I need counselling?
‘It’s not that bad, I can handle it myself’…..sound familiar to you? Most people try to overcome problems and issues by themselves – this is normal. It is also normal to need some help with life’s difficulties and reaching out to another person is often an important first step. I appreciate it might be difficult to admit to yourself that you could maybe do with talking to someone, but if you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed by your emotions, or feeling frustrated at the way things are for you currently, I will be able to help you get back on track.
What should I look for in a therapist?
When you are looking for a suitable therapist, always check that they have recognized academic qualifications, that they adhere to a professional code of conduct and that they have regular, ongoing supervision to ensure safe and ethical practice. They should discuss certain issues with you up front before any commitment is made to the sessions including:
- their counselling approach
- confidentiality issues
- length of sessions
- their responsibilities to you
- your responsibility to them
I will give you a written contract outlining all of the information you need to know including how and where to make a complaint.
How long do people normally see a counsellor for?
This all depends on the person and the problem. Some people can feel better after the initial session, where others may need more long-term support. This is something we can negotiate in our first session and during our work together.
How confidential is counselling?
All client-therapist conversations are private and confidential. It is also confidential information that a person is meeting with a counsellor. As a registered counsellor, I follow the professional ethical standards of the BACP. Only in rare exceptions, for example when the safety of a client or others are at risk can disclosure of confidential client-therapist information take place. This will be outlined on our contract.
Do you keep notes of our conversations?
Yes, I make brief notes of our sessions which allow me to monitor our work and your progress. Sometimes the contents of these notes are shared with my Supervisor but you will always remain anonymous. This will be outlined in our contract. Notes are securely kept and will be destroyed after our counselling relationship ends.
What can I expect from our first session?
The first session will give you the opportunity to share with me why you have come to counselling and talk about the problems you are having. It will also give me the chance to assess your needs and ensure the counselling I can offer you is appropriate and necessary. Use this first session to find out anything you want to know about how I practice and what you expect from our work together. As a person-centred therapist, I put you at the heart of the therapy and will support you in a non-directive way to find suitable solutions to change the way you may be feeling right now.
I feel anxious and scared about talking to a stranger about my problems.
I know that is how you may feel – please be reassured that it’s common and OK to feel this way. I don’t know you either remember! But what I do know is, I have many years’ experience in counselling and that I will do my best to foster a warm and comfortable environment for you to feel safe in. Counselling is a journey of inner discovery, which needs to take place within a unique and respectful relationship.
I will work at a pace acceptable to you, there is no pressure to talk about anything until you feel ready to do so. I will help you to understand your thoughts, feelings and emotions and how to manage and cope with them better. Including how you feel about meeting me for the first time.
I can’t afford counselling so what can I do?
Although I am prepared to negotiate my fees according to your needs, there are other options available to you if you cannot afford to pay for private therapy. Schools and colleges often offer a free counselling service for their students. Your GP may be able to refer you for counselling on the NHS. Alternatively, Pembrokeshire Counselling Service offer a free and confidential counselling service to people living in the Pembrokeshire area. You can contact them at http://www.pembrokeshirecounsellingservice.org/.
If I haven’t addressed your questions on this page, please either email, ring or text me and I will endeavour to help you.
More information can be found on my ‘Useful links’ page.