My doctor says I am depressed and has recommended counselling. Can you help?In the first session we would talk over what your doctor's diagnosis means to your life and what your personal hopes would be in coming to counselling. Sessions are confidential so I do not as a matter of course tell your doctor or anyone else what we discuss (there are a couple of exceptions to this rule which we would agree in our initial meeting) People often take medication while attending counselling or psychotherapy so one does not exclude the other.
How will I know if it's helping?After one session you might feel better because sharing a burden can be therapeutic in itself. However the process can also bring up uncomfortable memories, emotions or realisations which you perhaps never thought of before. These insights are really important and when you are ready to do so, we would try to make sense of them. You may find that the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy can build up over even a short space of time or might take longer. It's difficult to predict because everyone is different and there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way of being in counselling or psychotherapy, or in fact in life. That discovery, of finding your own truth, is what makes it such a creative and meaningful experience for many people who come.
What can I expect in the first session?There are a few facts I would need to make notes of, but mainly we would explore together what you want and how you think counselling or psychotherapy could help you. We would discuss and agree the terms of our contract and a confidentiality agreement. It is vital that you find the right counsellor for you, so if having talked it through and an alternative approach might suit you better, I can perhaps suggest other routes to getting what you need.
Will you tell me what to do?Although I do not give advice I will listen to how your problems affect your life and your emotional well-being and then help you to look at things differently. Once you take the time and space to consider situations more clearly you might discover ways of making your own choices, and this can lead to increasing your self-confidence and a sense of control in your life.
What exactly are counselling and psychotherapy?In counselling we focus on specific issues like bereavement, redundancy, relationships or decisions you have to make, or simply to see if counselling could be helpful for you at this point in your life if you have not had counselling before. It is an opportunity for you to talk over a specific problem which is on your mind with a neutral person in a confidential setting.
Psychotherapy tends to be more in-depth, looking for example at repeated patterns from the past which you maybe feel trapped by and which are causing you distress, unhappiness or discontent.
Counsellors and psychotherapists have different 'approaches' to their work, depending on their personality and how they trained.
What you bring into a session might be very private and precious so it is important to find someone you trust, who works ethically and with whom you can be comfortable.