WHAT IS COUNSELLING?
Counselling is a collaborative process which involves the development of a unique, confidential and therapeutic relationship. In this relationship, the therapist acts as a facilitator in helping the client to understand him/herself and the world around them more accurately; to better understand their feelings and behaviours; and to assist people in their interpersonal relationships. Discussion of the matters at hand can have a strong impact on someone's life and ultimately enable an individual to grow towards greater freedom.
This is not a comprehensive list of reasons why an individual may seek counselling. Our experienced staff work to provide you with a supportive, non-judgmental environment in which you may work through these or any other issues. It is understood that you may feel anxious about coming to therapy. The aim is to help you feel comfortable so that you may successfully achieve your counselling goals.
Counselling will be a different experience for different people. I strive to meet your individual needs based on your unique set of circumstances. In your first session, known as an assessment appointment, you will be asked basic, informational questions and work with your therapist to establish your personal goals. Goals or recommendations may include a referral for group counselling, couples counselling, signing up for a workshop, and/or a referral to another organisation. What happens during the course of your counselling experience may differ over time, based on your situation, progression, and/or changes in your life. As your therapist, I may at times suggest exploring potential solutions such as relaxation training, journalling, role-playing, talking with relevant individuals, reading assignments, or even set homework. How the therapeutic process will progress depends on your needs and goals and your willingness to cooperate.
WHAT ABOUT COUPLES COUNSELLING?
Couples counselling is an opportunity to work with your partner on issues that may be impacting your relationship. You may focus on communication skills, conflict resolution, and/or making decisions about your future together. As your therapist, I will serve as a mediator and guide during these discussions, and will help you work together to focus on and achieve specific goals for your relationship.
As a therapist, I follow the professional, legal and ethical guidelines of the The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy - the registering body for counsellors in the United Kingdom. Information about your counselling sessions is not shared with anyone without your expressed written permission. There are some exceptions to confidentiality, however. If there is the possibility of harm to the client and/or another person, or in cases of child/elder abuse, staff are mandated to report certain information to the appropriate authorities.
The frequency of therapy is mutually agreed upon by you and your therapist and is largely based on your presenting issues and the goals of treatment. Group counselling and workshops usually meet weekly, though this may also vary. It is very important that you arrive early or on-time for your scheduled appointments. Regular, timely attendance of your counselling sessions will help you to achieve your therapeutic goals. If for some reason you are unable to make it to your scheduled session, please call in advance, preferably 24-hours ahead.
Many problems can be dealt with in a brief period of time, but this is not always the case. There is no magic number or formula to determine how long it may take. During your initial intake assessment, you and your therapist will have a conversation around making a determination if your needs are best met here, or are beyond the scope of the short-term services offered. If your counselling needs exceed our session limits, your therapist may make a referral to community resources for continued care. You and your therapist will speak regularly about your progress. Eventually you and your therapist may determine that you have met your therapy goals. At this point, you may discuss your need for continued therapy. You may also bring up this topic at any time during your sessions.
Again, there is no set timetable for how long it will take until you feel better. Relief may come from a variety of sources, including making changes in your thoughts, behaviours, relationships, and choices, and may take time to achieve. However, many people report that counselling can be helpful even after the first session. This may be because of the relief that comes from deciding to seek help, or an opportunity to speak about problems for the first time with someone who is impartial and non-judgmental. Please remember that it is important that you share with your therapist if you are not experiencing any improvement after working in therapy for some time so the two of you may determine what changes may need to be made.