What is a Counselling Psychologist?
Counselling Psychology is a branch of psychology that uses the therapeutic relationship from traditional counselling combined with psychological theory and research to help individuals suffering emotional distress. Counselling psychologists receive extensive training; they first learn about the fundamentals of psychological theory and research (by completing a degree in psychology), then go on to specialise in how psychological theory can be applied to help understand and manage emotional distress and mental health issues (by completing a masters degree and post graduate diploma). Counselling psychologists see the therapeutic professional counselling relationship as key to helping individuals.
Counselling psychologists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and British Psychological Society (BPS). They are bound by professional codes of practice and ethics. All Counselling Psychologists attend regular supervision sessions with a senior psychologist and undertake professional development to keep up to date with current thinking and research. As part of their professional training all Counselling Psychologists undergo their own personal therapy.
My philosophy is to create a safe, secure and supportive space where you can discuss and explore your issues without judgement. By working together with you I can help you to understand your difficulties by using my experience and expertise of psychological theory so we can develop a way to work through your problems and help you to find helpful coping strategies.
Is psychological therapy for me?
We all experience emotional and psychological challenges during our lives, psychological therapy can help to find a way through such challenges, no matter how big or small they may seem. Talking to our friends and family about our worries may be difficult due to concerns they may judge us or have strong opinion. Or talking to those around us may be too difficult as we struggle to admit uncomfortable feeling or thoughts. Therefore having someone separate to your family and friends can support you to find your own answers and enable you to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. This can lead to helpful realisations of how past experiences may have impacted upon your present behaviour, and give you the understanding needed to move on.
We tend to neglect our psychological health and well-being, with the demands of modern life taking priority, therefore, psychological therapy can give you that much needed, uninterrupted time to and focus on yourself.
Common difficulties that psychological therapy may be able to help with are;
Low mood and depression
Trauma (recent or in the past including childhood)
Relationship or family difficulties
Self esteem and lack of confidence
Unhelpful ways of coping (for example drug and alcohol misuse, overeating)
Psychological therapy can also be useful for personal development; this may include achieving specific goals at work or wishing to gain a greater sense of self and understanding. Counselling psychologists in training who require personal therapy can contact me for trainee rates.
You can refer yourself for psychological therapy by telephoning or emailing the clinic to arrange a consultation appointment. It undoubtedly takes courage to decide to address personal problems and to seek professional help, therefore the staff at the clinic and I understand those entering psychological therapy for the first time are sometimes apprehensive.
Alternatively you can arrange for your GP or another health professional to refer you, if you have Private Medical Insurance they may cover your therapy sessions but please check with your provider.
The Consultation Session
I offer a free phone consultation lasting about half an hour to discuss if psychological therapy is right for you. This time provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions about how I work. Finding the right therapist is very important and if we decide that starting therapy with me is not right for you, I will be happy to offer some recommendations or advice about alternative therapists or organisations that may be able to help.
The assessment session
If you do chose to start psychological therapy the next step will be to arrange an assessment session, this takes place face to face and a number of sessions may be needed to carry out a thorough assessment. During the assessment sessions we will explore together your current difficulties, identify the issues you would like to work on, your goals for therapy and agree how the therapy would proceed. If after this you feel comfortable about working together, we will arrange the next session and plan the frequency and duration of the therapy.
I have been trained in and practiced the main 3 psychological therapies; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy and Person Centred Therapy. My approach is integrated, which means I utilise the therapies most suited to you and your issues. My training allows me the flexibility and creativity to draw on a wide range of psychological theories and clinical evidence and to integrate other therapeutic models to suit your individual needs.