About Counselling

Jo Hughes - Registered and Accredited BACP Counsellor

10 Ways Counselling Can Help You

If you feel dissatisfied with the quality of your relationships, counselling can help you understand what is going wrong and help you try different ways of relating to people. The way we see ourselves is often the root cause of difficult relationships. If we don't like ourselves how can we feel truly accepted? Working through feelings in a supportive atmosphere can give you more confidence to get along with people in a mutually respectful way.
Are you a "glass half empty" person? We can work on understanding what has contributed to this view of the world, whether it is possible to be different and how to cope with difficulties in life.
- Or perhaps you are being bullied or abused. You may have tried to be assertive and failed or you may feel that you have no choice but to agree to what is being said. Assertiveness flows from a sense of self worth and working on your self-esteem will increase your confidence to change your situation. If you think you are being abused, see specialist help below
Many people feel ashamed of their anger and sad about what happens when they are angry. My view is that talking about your angry feelings without being judged helps you. Being cross with ourselves about our anger means we do not deal with it and we become caught in a negative cycle.
We feel guilty when we regret our behaviour and think we should be different. But is it helpful to think of our lives in terms of blame? Maybe it would be more helpful to decide what is important to us and work out ways to achieve what we really want from life, free of other people's opinions about what we are or who we should be. In counselling we will work together on helping you to accept who you are - "warts and all" - so that you can live a life free of self-recrimination.
People often pretend to be something to please others. Sometimes they describe it as like wearing a mask, or even a series of masks for different situations. This can go back to childhood where the child learns they have to behave in a certain way to be acceptable. When it is so deepset it can be difficult to know who you actually are and what you really think. You will be given time for your real sense of self to emerge: one that is happy to be the real "you" so you no longer need to please others.
Grieving is a lonely process especially when you don't want to burden people with your sadness. You may feel that you do not deserve to grieve, you are to blame, or you feel angry. Perhaps you don't want to move on as it means leaving your loved one behind. Working with me means having someone who is prepared to listen to the hurt and explore any regrets but at your own pace. I will support you as you express the pain and although nothing can change what happened, it may become easier to live with.
It is easy to tell ourselves that we should be different but it is difficult to change. The sadness is there to tell you something is wrong, just like when you touch something too hot and feel pain. You can tell me about your sadness and we can explore what it is telling you and how you want to respond.
You can tell me about what is troubling you in your own time and at your own pace.
If you admit that things need changing you are taking a helpful first step in improving your life. However longing to be different can mean that you don't like yourself and can't accept who you are. You could be burdened by perfectionism. You may want to change to make others love you. If this is you we will work together to find ways to help you accept yourself.

Feel safe with me

It is difficult and painful to confront problems so I will not judge you when you share them

It is difficult to trust when you have been badly hurt so I will never try to push you further than you want to go

Your concerns will be listened to because if they are important to you they are important to me

Be treated as an individual

You will be accepted as you are even if that does not match up to the way you think you should be

You will be given a chance to understand and change your life but you will not be diagnosed or told what is best for you

A Beginner's Guide to Counselling

What Will Be Expected of Me?

Nothing! This is your time and it is about you. You know your reasons for attending counselling and what you want from it. I believe it is as you meet true respect for you as an individual that healing takes place. Therefore I will not push you to meet my objectives but enable you to identify and meet your own. It may be difficult for you at first to even talk, and I understand that. Trust takes time.

Getting Started

Everyone has to start somewhere and the first session is the start of a new relationship for you. I will try to help you to feel welcome and comfortable and I recognise that you may be nervous and unsure about what is expected. To begin with we will cover information about what you can expect and hopefully this will give you time to settle in and get used to me.

So the start of the session will be about:

Confidentiality

Please be assured that what you tell me stays between the two of us, but there are some important exceptions. As a professional counsellor I am required to have monthly supervision which means talking about my casework with a specialist counsellor to check that I am working well with my clients. I protect your identity so that the other counsellor will not know who you are. Sometimes, in very specific circumstances, confidentiality is broken. This is where there is a risk of harm to yourself or others, such as chidren; or where by law I am required to report my knowledge of illegal activity such as terrorism and money laundering. If I think I will be required to break confidentiality I will try to warn you beforehand, preferably before you disclose the issue.

Length and Number of Sessions

Each session lasts for one hour and the number of sessions is individual to you and your circumstances. I recommend you consider a minimum of six sessions but most of my clients choose to work over a longer period with me because lasting change takes time.

Frequency of Sessions

I work with my clients on a weekly basis. This gives you time to reflect between sessions without losing the momentum of change.

Cost

Each session costs £40. Fees may be paid by cash, cheque, or bank transfer.

Cancellation Policy

Whilst I understand that unexpected events occur, non-attendance at appointments affect both the counselling process and the individuals concerned. It represents a lost opportunity for me to help clients who could have used the appointment. Regretfully I will charge for cancelled sessions at the full rate unless it is possible for me to offer you a mutually convenient alternative time.

Referrals

Sometimes counsellors and clients are not suited, perhaps because the client has specialist needs or more appropriate help is available elsewhere. In order to ensure you are looked after properly I may suggest you approach someone else, or with your permission I will contact them on your behalf.

Complaints

I am a member of the British Association of Counselling and adhere to their ethical framework If you are at all uncertain about the way we are working together, in the first instance I would appreciate you telling me of your concerns. If you feel unable to do so or we are unable to resolve the issue I can provide my supervisor's details or you may prefer to contact BACP who will assist.

What If I Cannot Afford Counselling?

The NHS offers counselling (usually Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) http://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/

Your employer may offer access to counselling through an occupational health scheme. You may only be offered a few sessions for free.

If you are a young person, your school or college may employ a counsellor or be able to refer you.

If you fall into a particular client group you may be able to obtain free or reduced price counselling. Links to local agencies who can help you include:

Specialist Help for Victims of Abuse

If you are suffering abuse, the following organisations will help