Confidentiality is a huge part of counselling and I understand how important it is. Your counselling sessions are confidential and this confidence will be maintained and applied to all records, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. However if during the course of our work together I consider that you are likely to pose an immediate risk of danger or serious harm to either yourself or others, or commit a serious crime, I may be necessary for me to talk about this outside of our sessions, for example, with my supervisor, your GP or the Police. Where appropriate, I would talk to you about this before doing so.
What do my qualifications mean?
There are many different counselling models and theories. It can be completely baffling to understand how they all work, even to people working within the profession! The key thing to know is that whichever way a counsellor works, it is vital they offer the core conditions to their clients in the room. These are:
Empathy – the counsellor tries to understand the thoughts and the feelings as the client experiences them.
Congruence – the counsellor is genuine and real at all times.
Unconditional positive regard – the counsellor allows you to open up and talk honestly about your thoughts and feeling, without judgement or critisism.
I decided on a humanistic diploma because it gave me an understanding of how to work from several different models. Everyone brings something very unique to a counselling session, so I wanted to be able to adapt my work to help the client achieve their needs. What works for one person, may not for another.
For example, the Person Centred approach believes that all of us have the power to find the best solutions for ourselves and make appropriate changes in our lives. Here the core conditions are not only considered necessary, they are seen to be sufficient enough to help make the desired change. The importance being the relationship with the counsellor, not the techniques. The therapist’s role here is to understand an individual’s experience from their perspective. This is a powerful relationship and especially supportive for those who have struggles with being heard.
Transactional Anaylsis (TA) again offers the core-conditions but additional techniques will be added to the session. TA is based on the theory that each person has three ego-states: parent, adult and child. Sessions are designed to explore an individual’s personality and how this has been shaped by experience – particularly those stemming from childhood.
The work can be more directive, with the counsellor teaches the clients the mechanism of the therapy. Focuses is on communication, and homework may be set (don’t worry, it’s not an essay! It can be a simple as recounting an interaction you’ve experience that week and exploring what happened).
These are just a couple of the theories I’ve studied. Others include Attachment Theory, Clarkson, Gestalt. I also engage is regular continuous professional development as this is key to ensuring I am up-to-date on reseach and evolving approaches.
What will happen in our sessions?
We are all unique and so counselling is therefore different for everyone. There is no set pattern or formula to follow. We will work in a way that is suitable for you and at a pace at which you are comfortable – you will be respected and won’t be asked to discuss things you are uncomfortable with until you are ready. We talk about whatever it is you want to bring to the sessions. I don’t decide what is important, you do. Quite often people start by saying “I’m not sure what I’m going to talk about today” but then before they know it, the session is coming to an end.