Psychological counselling (personal therapy)
Psychological Counselling aims to help people manage their difficulties and transform personal problems into their own personal growth.
Who is it suitable for
People usually come to psychological counselling when talking to friends and families proves not to be enough. Having someone to talk to who is not directly involved in your particular circumstances can make a real difference. Counselling psychologists are trained in the art of listening and have skills to help you explore your concerns, to help you make sense of complex issues and to find a way forwards. Counselling psychologists work with individuals, couples and groups (such as families). All counselling work is, of course, completely confidential.
What kinds of problems can it help
Psychological counselling is able to help with a broad range of individual and social problems. Many people find it helpful when faced with difficult stages in their normal life cycle such as career changes, loss and bereavement or crisis points in relationships. Others look to psychological counselling to help alleviate distress whether from pressures of living or through longstanding problems which have proved resistant to change. Counselling psychologists are trained in modern psychological methods to help you resolve fears, panics and anxieties, and to help you break through depression or other forms of sadness.
Personal problems can have a way of taking over. You might find yourself repeating the same old pattern, or you might feel stuck and uncertain what, if anything you could change. Why suffer Sometimes having someone to talk to is all that it takes to cope. Like all counsellors I try to be a good listener. More than this, as a psychological counsellor my first priority is to help you find strategies to deal with the immediate problem concerning you, and then to help you discover how you can change things for the better.
Psychological Counselling is especially suitable to help you:
• handle crises in relationships
• deal with stress and other pressures
• resolve fears, panics and anxieties
• cope with continuing family problems
• work through difficult decisions
• break through depression and sadness
Psychological counselling is not confined, though, to helping people cope with difficulties. Other benefits to be gained include developing creativity, self-expression and finding pathways to self-discovery. By exploring past and present circumstances you can open up to new possibilities, and take control of your lifestyle. Find yourself and be yourself.
Psychological Counselling can help enable you to:
• develop more fulfilling relationships
• bring out your creativity and self-expression
• learn to assert your own needs
• renew a sense of purpose in your life
• find paths to self-discovery
• feel happier within yourself
What happens in Psychological Counselling sessions
Client and counselling psychologist sit in private and engage in a lot of talking and listening. Each session typically lasts between 50 minutes and one hour. Sometimes just a single session is sufficient for a client's needs, but more usually client and counselling psychologist continue to meet for several weeks or even months. Client and counselling psychologist plan together how often and for how long to meet. Nowadays many counselling psychologists prefer to work with clients over a small number of highly focused sessions and then to offer an "open door" policy. This means that clients are free to return for more sessions if and when they require them, knowing that there is a reliable professional service available and that they will always be made welcome.
Couples meet with the counselling psychologist in the same way and may use the sessions to better understand how they communicate and react to each others needs. Many couples find attending alternate individual and joint sessions to be especially helpful.
How do I know if it is suitable for me
It undoubtedly takes courage to decide to address personal problems and to seek professional help. People entering Psychological Counselling for the first time are sometimes apprehensive that hidden secrets or unconscious fears will be revealed. You will undoubtedly learn new things about yourself and perhaps about others close to you. Some of the themes in your personal story may, of course, be quite painful. What matters, however, is how we deal with new insights and emotions. Psychological Counselling is designed to provide a safe environment in which difficult thoughts and feeling can be gently explored. It does not excavate your psyche in order to break down your defences. Rather, it provides a solid structure in which you can consolidate your past and present and make sense of your experiences.
How will I be treated
I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist authorized and accredited by Ordine degli Psicologi, and I abide by their codes of conduct and professional practice.
Most importantly, you will be treated as a person rather than a case study. I tend to avoid labelling people with psychological diagnoses such as being "anxious", "depressed" or "psychosomatic" etc. I find that many clients have been previously (mis)labelled by someone else and that it is counter-productive. Instead, I take each person individually and regard their problem as a unique theme. I try to understand what it must feel like from the inside. I am then concerned to help you unravel whatever keeps the problem going and to help you identify ways of changing things for the better.
Psychological Counselling is very much a collaborative process, and I will try to help you to help yourself. I promise that you won't be engulfed by the therapy (or the therapist), or pressured to say or do anything you wouldn't want to. What matters most is that we learn to work together on the basis of respect and trust. I hope that you will find the experience of Psychological Counselling both interesting and rewarding, and that it will enable you to transcend whatever troubles you and to discover your true potential.