Many people have periods during their lives when they feel distressed, overwhelmed, unhappy or anxious. Sometimes this passes quickly or can be overcome with support from friends or family, but at other times it can be helpful to talk things through with someone. Counselling is a regular time when you can speak about whatever you want – your life, health, relationships, sexuality, past trauma or losses – and to have someone give you their full attention. Or you might come to counselling because you feel vaguely unhappy, or lost, or dissatisfied, but can’t put a finger on why. Counselling can be an exploration of your life, patterns you see in it, and how you came to be who and where you are.
Equally, many people come to counselling with a specific problem. Counselling can be helpful for people struggling with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, addictions and a whole host of other psychological and social issues. I have done a lot of work around eating disorders and self harm, and often use an approach called Motivational Interviewing in this area. This approach helps people to define and draw on their own motivation and personal strength, to make the changes they feel are important in their lives. This can entail exploring feelings around change, what might be good/difficult about change, and what life might look like in a few years’ time if things do/do not change.
I welcome and aim to practice in an affirmative way with clients who identify as gender or sexually diverse, including but not limited to people who identify as one or more of binary or non-binary trans, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and poly.
I also have a special interest in neurodiversity, which includes autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, and dyslexia. I use the social model of disability in my work, which means I acknowledge that many of the difficulties the neurodiverse community experience relate to the way that our society is structured with neurotypical individuals in mind. So for example, autistic people often experience distress if their environment is not accommodating of communication differences, or sensory sensitivities, and in this sense the environment can be said to cause their distress rather than just the autism. My work with neurodiverse individuals often focuses on building confidence and self esteem, exploring identity issues in people who are recently diagnosed or waiting for assessment, and finding ways around barriers to the kind of lives they want to live. I am particularly experienced in working with late-diagnosed autistic people, and I am happy to use either identity- or person-first language depending on peoples’ preferences.
Counselling can be short or long term. Sometimes having a time limit and a goal can help to keep people focused, so they are more likely to make positive changes in their lives. Other times, particularly when difficulties have been present for a long time or when a person is experiencing a number of different problems, having that ‘pressure’ of a pre-determined ending can be unhelpful.
Because you are an individual, I tailor my support to your specific needs. If you feel from my description that counselling might be something you are interested in, please get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org