Q: What is counselling?
A: Counselling is a process of change which may include emotional development, addressing and resolving specific problems such as decision making, coping with stress, depression, relationship or anger issues. The counsellor's role is to facilitate the way for the client to make different choices that will empower them in a positive way.
Q: How can counselling help?
A: Counselling offers you the opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgemental environment. It can help you gain clarity on your circumstances and aims to empower you by supporting you in finding your own solutions.
Q: How long do I have to wait for an appointment?
A: Waiting times are dependent on availability but my aim is to offer you an initial session within one to two weeks from your contact. However, if you feel you need help urgently then please contact your local GP or contact Samaritans on 116 123.
Q: What happens in the first session?
A: The first session is where we are able to gain a better understanding of what has brought you to therapy (and what you hope to achieve out of it) and it is also an opportunity for you to decide if I am the right therapist for you. I will gather some contact information from you and we will discuss our 'working agreement' which outlines the counselling service I offer. I will ask you to complete a 10 question tick box form which helps me understand how you have been feeling recently and we may discuss some of your answers so I better understand how life feels for you right now.
Q: How long do sessions last?
A: Each individual session will last for 50 minutes and couples sessions last for one hour. Each session is typically arranged for the same time each week.
Q: How much therapy will I need?
A: The number of sessions needed are dependent on individual needs and this is something we can discuss together and review as necessary. From experience, I find most of my clients will make positive changes in 8-10 sessions.
Q: Where can I be seen?
A: I am based in Cardiff working from a counselling room in the city centre and I also offer some sessions from a confidential and quiet space in my home. I offer counselling sessions online which provides the convenience of attending counselling from your home. I am also able to discuss working from your home if you prefer to be seen in an environment familiar to you.
Q: Is it confidential?
A: Any information disclosed is confidential between therapist and client, and I am bound by the BACP Code of Ethics.
However, there are some exceptions to this and it’s important to know, that if as your counsellor I am led to believe that either you or someone else were at risk from serious harm, I may have to break that confidentiality. Although your I will always try and discuss this with you first.
Q: What information do you keep about me?
A: I will keep a record of your sessions although your notes are coded and contain no information which identifies you personally. These are stored securely and are kept for 5 years following the end of your therapy, after which they will be destroyed. Copies of your notes are available at your request and details of how to do this will be made available to you should you require them.
Q: Can I bring a friend or family member?
A: I know that making that first step into counselling is a big thing, but I generally feel that counselling works much better for the individual when they attend their sessions on their own. This is something we can talk through together and I will try to answer any questions you may have to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible. If you feel that bringing someone else to the first session to support you to talk about what you want to achieve from counselling and to help ask questions, we can agree that in advance.
Q: How much does counselling cost?
A: Each session is £50 for individuals and £65 for couples. I am also able to receive referrals from your employer.
Q: How can you as a counsellor help me?
A: The therapeutic relationship you and your counsellor will build is proven to have a positive effect on most clients’ well-being. This is because time with a counsellor is a unique experience in supporting your well-being.
As your counsellor, I value you just for being you. I will try to empathise with your difficulties and be consistently genuine in the time we spend together. This allows you a safe space to explore current and ongoing problems, mental health difficulties and the way you see yourself and your world.
Q: What happens in counselling?
A: Counselling is about you. I will work with your issues and what you find difficult at this moment in your life. During counselling you will explore the negative patterns that repeat time and time again and learn to move past the obstacles that prevent you leading a happy and fulfilled life. You will safely explore your difficulties without opinion, advice or judgement so that you can understand what holds you back and you can make the changes you choose.
Q: My difficulties feel too challenging to overcome
A: I have received personal therapy myself. I know how you feel at this time and how difficult it can seem to make a positive change in your life. Sometimes the difficulties feel too challenging to face and I have spent time with many clients who also struggled in their lives before starting counselling. Many clients felt so trapped within their difficulties that they were often unaware that with the right help, they could make positive changes.
Q: I have been to counselling before and did not find it helpful
A: Some people do not achieve their goals and feel that further counselling cannot help. I understand that counselling works through the strength and security of the relationship you and a counsellor will build together. This is because the counselling relationship provides a safe environment of trust where you can explore your difficulties.
Sometimes the way the counsellor works or the relationship just doesn’t click. I know this and invite you to try again and not be put off if counselling didn’t work for you in the past. We can talk about what worked and what didn’t work to understand your needs. As a trained Person-Centred counsellor, I put the strength of the therapeutic relationship at the heart of all our work.
Q: What will change for me as a result of counselling?
A: I have worked with many clients who were struggling in their lives daily and have seen the positive changes that people can make from counselling. A common phrase from my clients concluding counselling is that it has been a ‘life changing experience’ for them.
I see many clients who struggle to manage being with other people, clients impaired by anxiety and depression and those traumatised by difficult events. I know how scary and difficult life feels for you at times and acknowledge and respect the hope, along with the fear and trepidation that has brought you to consider counselling.
Most of my clients have been where you are now and have gone on to make positive changes, often beyond what they hoped was ever possible. As a result of successful counselling you should:
Notice and understand your emotions which will support you rather than restrict you
Not be dependent on others for your happiness and have positive equal relationships
Grow your inner resources and feel confident to rely upon them when challenged
Become free from or confidently manage anxiety and depression
Be happy and confident with who you are