What is Counselling?

Counselling is a ‘talking therapy’ that involves a trained counsellor listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with stressful emotional issues.

It is a unique relationship between two people who agree to meet on a regular basis for a time with the intention of bringing the client back to a state of emotional well-being. This one-to-one relationship is professional and kept between agreed boundaries, different from a ‘friendship’.

A professional counsellor is a highly trained individual, who can use a different range of counselling approaches with their clients.

How long is each session? And how many sessions do most people need?

A counselling session lasts for one hour. At some agencies there is a restriction to six sessions. However in my private practise and at a college where I see both staff and students there is no restriction to the number of sessions. For many people, between one to six meetings with a counsellor are sufficient to make a real difference to what was troubling them.

Where did you train? How long ago? What was the process of your training?

I trained at Life Force and the course included areas such as Counselling Theory, Counselling in a Diverse Society, Research Methodologies, Self-Awareness, Counselling Awareness. The course was at weekends and in excess of 800 hours and required each student to find placements at various agencies to develop their skills.

What is your method or process with your clients?

I use a variety of methods depending on the client it may be Art therapy, writing, or simply speaking and listening. I try to follow the client and their needs and responses on the day and in the moment.

What are the local Organisations you have worked with?

I have a successful counselling practice in Ipswich, and consider myself very much part of the community.

  • I have worked with Iceni who are an agency supporting people with addictions such as
    Gambling, Alcohol, Sex, Eating, Slimming,
  • Lighthouse Woman’s Aid – a charitable organisation supporting Women Survivors of Domestic Violence.
  • Samaritans – phone-based non-judgemental 24-hour ‘listening’ service

Is there any particular area that you have special experience and expertise in?

I qualified as an Integrative Counsellor which means I am able to work with all types of client problems. And I have worked with clients with a very wide range of issues. However with my teaching background I find I am now working often as counsellor for a local Sixth Form College with both staff and students.

How do you keep up with the latest information and research about counselling?

To make sure I am up to date and current I regularly go on courses and read ‘Therapy Today’ a magazine for counsellors keeping us informed on trends, research etc. Here are some of the things I do to keep myself informed and involved.

    •  creative work with children and young people ( lots of varied and interesting approaches to engage with young clients)
    • Terence Higgins Annual conference
      Informative and useful day. Plenty of audience participation and a chance to meet people
    • Suffocation of the Soul…. enlightening as regards the treatment of compulsive hoarding
    • Domestic and Sexual Violence …… allowing sufferers to bring it into the open rather than hiding it away
    • Honour Based Violence – discussed the continued practice of FGM

All of these courses have helped and informed me and my work with past and present clients. It also gives the opportunity to meet other counsellors and broaden my knowledge and exchange ideas etc.
Going regularly to attend courses and talks I ensure that I am aware of change and current moves in the counselling world. A recent training Suffocation of the Soul gave me huge insight into why I still have ‘momentos’ from my past. They comfort and keep me in some way linked to it…… but should I let it go?

Working at Women’s Aid was both rewarding and at times extremely harrowing. However the insight it gave me into the resilience and courage of women was inspirational.
Honour-Based Violence once again opened my eyes and increased my knowledge on the culture of Female Genital Mutilation. The continued discrimination that exists against men and women with HIV AIDS is both a sad and sorry reflection on society today and the course I attended reminded me that despite believing we’re an enlightened society in some areas we still have a long way to go.