About Counselling Psychology
As a Counselling Psychologist I am interested in you as a person, not only ‘symptoms’ or problems. We all bring a unique history and mind-set to the life difficulties we encounter. These may provide us with strengths that help us resolve a current problem. And sometimes we need to discover new ways we might feel, think or act.
For example, we may be unclear about our feelings or find them overwhelming; we may be troubled by difficult thoughts that create fear, misery or low self-esteem; we may find ourselves unable to act in the ways we wish – perhaps not knowing how, or feeling powerless to prevent unhelpful behaviour.
Sometimes such difficulties can helped or resolved very quickly: we may need to learn a new skill (such as learning to reduce and manage stress or anxiety), or talk through a problem in order to gain a new perspective and make use of our existing abilities.
When psychological difficulties are persistent in our life, they can often be traced to our early life experiences. We learn to adapt to difficult childhood realities – but usually at the cost of important needs remaining unmet. Our ways of adapting may then be unhelpful in our adult life and we can find it difficult to recognise or value certain needs. This can create problems both within ourselves and in our relationships. Noticing any repeating patterns of difficult feelings, behaviour or relationship is an important first step to helping ourselves.
There are many medical labels (‘diagnoses’) for life problems where psychological work can be helpful. Sometimes a diagnosis can assist our understanding. However such labels don’t capture the unique complexity of our life experiences or suggest how positive changes may come about. Good health is more than an absence of illness and a counselling psychology perspective focusses on working with your strengths as well as with what is problematic for you.
So, undertaking psychological therapy is more active than taking a prescription. Certain techniques may of course be important, but the therapy relationship itself is also a key to progress. This is one of the most substantial findings over many years of research on psychological therapy. I look upon therapy as a shared creative process, unfolding through mutual commitment and an intention to bring greater health and happiness to your life.