What is counselling?
Counselling or Psychotherapy is a process of helping you use your own and other resources in order to answer your questions or devise ways to manage and potentially solve your dilemmas. Sometimes, situations change personally for you and leave you feeling unable to manage. Counselling is the place where you can get “back on track” or “sort things out” so that you have the tools and resources to maintain positive changes and deal with and garner productive solutions to conflicts and negative aspects that may be occurring in your life. At times, the difficulty you are experiencing is due to a lack of change and you can use counselling to improve your understanding of the situation, relationships, or outlook on life.
It is not something that ‘happens to you’ rather it is something that you, as well as the Counsellor partake of and create to facilitate you through growth and as a result, hopefully you will retain the potential to sustain new positive patterns of behaviour.
What type of Counselling do we offer?
Our counselling approach is essentially a talking therapy which, in short, involves yourself and a therapist talking through and working together on the issues you choose. As mentioned elsewhere on our site, this can be short or longer term and will be specific to your individual requirements.
We work within an integrated style of counselling that borrows techniques and strategies from various models to specifically tailor to your needs. In short, some approaches used include Humanistic Theory, which generally works with the ‘here and now’ context of an issue and encourages the growth and potential of clients within their contemporary lives and relationships. Principally, at its nucleus, is the belief that everyone has the ability to self-actualise. Psychodynamic theory usually explores an individual’s past and how our childhood experiences and perceptions of reality, impact our present view of life, self and others. By exploring unconscious drives, it aims to bring the former into conscious awareness, therefore enabling wholeness and informed choice. Additionally we offer Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) and this approach concerns working with your cognitions/thoughts, behaviours and emotions. The work may be structured, or goal oriented and includes the use of task setting/homework but particularly focuses on creating awareness of dysfunctional thoughts and feelings which may lead to non productive behaviours. Implementing new and more helpful and functional ways of thinking and behaving is the rationale of this therapy. Most types of therapy can be useful to different presentations in one way or another, however, CBT has been known to be more effective when working with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or other anxiety based issues. During assessment we will ask about preferences and this and other aspects can be discussed with your counsellor if you are still unsure.
How can counselling help me?
Counselling can help you in many ways. Personal counselling consists primarily of collaborating with one of our Counsellors in order to work on your goals for change in your life (for example: handling a crisis, improving relationships, dealing with feelings of depression or anxiety, abuse and trauma) and works to devise ways to enable you to be empowered when faced with crisis.
Is counselling confidential?
The information shared in counselling will be kept confidential and released only with your permission, or, in very rare circumstances, if required by law or professional ethical guidelines. For example, if you were potentially at risk of hurting yourself or another person, you discuss situations involving a risk of abuse to children or other dependent persons, or there was a subpoena for your files by a court of law, then counsellors are under ethical and legal obligations to disclose this information. In most cases this would be discussed with you prior to the release of information. If you are under the age of 18, your parents/guardians may be able, in some instances, to obtain information about your counselling. Additionally, as part of the British Association Of Counsellor and Psychotherapists (BACP) guidelines, counsellors undertake supervision of our practice with clients, which is essential and a requirement.
What is an assessment?
In assessment, we will need to find out details of age, medical history and contact details etc. Also, this is a chance to briefly outline your concern so that we may match a suitable counsellor to you and your specific situation. We are required by law to obtain such information, however this is strictly confidential and will not be utilised in any other capacities apart from administration and evaluation of service uptake figures.
Do I need to prepare for my session?
To make the most of your intake or first session, you might want to prepare to explain with your counsellor what your primary concern is, what your questions are, how you think and feel about your concern, and what you have done so far to resolve it. After that, you will work with your ongoing counsellor on your concern.
Am I wasting your time with my problem?
NO. Many individual’s accessing our services feel hesitant at first for a variety of reasons, including the belief that their problem is not important. We believe that if it is important to you, then it is important to us. Please remember that we are here to help and that we are glad to work with you on whatever issues you would like to bring to counselling. For some, one session is sufficient, for others on-going counselling may be best suited to their unique needs.
Will my sessions be recorded? Who will have access?
Face to Face sessions will only be recorded with the consent of the client’s. This is not usual practice generally, however, some counsellors, as part of ongoing continued professional development may record sessions occasionally to evaluate practice within the counselling field. If your counsellor is seeking your permission to record sessions, they will outline the purpose and use of the records. Most often, only your counsellor and their supervisor access sessions. Please be assured that every effort is made to maintain the security of the tapes; they are kept in locked cabinets at the Counselling Centre and erased after use.
Will you tell me to take medications?
We do not and cannot prescribe medications. Occasionally, we may suggest that you speak to a doctor either to rule out physical causes of your problems or to discuss medications, pre-existing or otherwise.
Can I change my mind?
At any time during the process you may for whatever reason decide that counselling is not right for you at this time. You have the right to cease your sessions at any stage and we would suggest that you speak with your counsellor if possible in order to facilitate the process.
I am under 18, can I come for counselling, without my parents knowledge?
No. We offer counselling to those over the age of 18. However, if there is parental/guardian consent we could offer counselling to those under this age.
What if I need to cancel a session?
If you are unable to come to a session for any reason, we do ask that client’s give at least 48 hours notice of this, otherwise we will still take payment for that session.
I have further questions that need answering!
If you have not found the answers you need in this document, please do not hesitate to contact us either by phone or email below.
We always look forward to hearing from you.
Telephone: 0208 299 1787