I try to be a good facilitator of the work the person who comes for counselling wants to do. This means that I will listen carefully to what you say and empathise with how you feel. We all need allies and counselling is a good way to get an ally who will keep the focus on you at all times.
I began my studies working in a place where D.W. Winnicott’s work was used as the basis of our approach and I have always admired his flexibility, kindness and the way he tried to meet individual need rather than fitting people into boxes. Over time I have also learnt that people most often respond well to what might be called the simple human things: such as being well listened to and having their feelings accepted by another person – things such as empathy and acceptance which Rogers thought so highly of. These two were my biggest influences although I owe a debt to many therapists and counsellors, not least to those who have worked with me and helped me at difficult times in my life, as well as to those people I have had the privilege to work with as clients many of whom have taught me much.
My basic belief is that we are a very resilient species. We are able to survive incredibly traumatic experiences and stay alive, intact and with our ethical framework still in place. But we can also be derailed by small events, perhaps because we have been dealing with so much already, proverbial ‘straws which break the camel’s back’. So I think of people as being a delicate mixture of strength and vulnerability, both of which play an important part in the quality of our lives.
Counselling and therapy are a way to deal with problems, which may arise when these two are out of balance or other things go wrong for us. My job in the counselling and therapy work I do is to help you correct the balance, address what has gone wrong, increase your confidence and begin to improve the quality of your life.
I have a lot of experience of mental health problems and have worked with people who between them have had the full range, from depression to psychosis. But people are not comparable and everyone’s difficulties are unique. Each person will experience things differently and each person’s experiences will be different.