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Therapy or counselling

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Opinions differ but I feel like therapy and counselling often overlap and I find in my work that I do both.

I understand counselling as essentially a listening process, through which people gain perspective, find a voice and share their experiences without judgement or criticism. This process can be illuminating, empowering or cathartic. Sometimes sharing your story is a first step toward changing the narrative.

In therapy the client works towards a process of change. This may involve explorations and insights, it may involve discoveries and challenges. But the process should be held safely by the therapist and the direction or purpose of change should be agreed and understood by the client, usually through an agreed contract.

In simple terms, counselling tends to be shorter, often focussed on one particular issue, whereas therapy may take longer and be more open to exploration.

Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not sure. The first session is a good time to ask questions.

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Diversity and access

I welcome clients of any gender, race, ethnic background, sexuality or social class and understand that there may be issues specific to ones identity that may require sensitivity to your experience. I have worked in many countries and have wide interests in other cultures. I also have many years experience of working with people with learning disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, to help them to express themselves and to take control of their life choices.

I aim to support diverse beliefs or lifestyles and would like, where possible, to support people from challenging backgrounds to assert their rights and achieve their goals.

I also have some reduced price slots to support those with limited means of income. Please feel free to ask.

Parents and carers can also benefit from counselling or therapy with someone who understands these pressures and stresses.

I work from Todmorden (not currently wheelchair accessible) and Hebden Bridge (wheelchair accessible). More info.

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Fees and discounts

I currently charge £45 for individuals and £60 for couples, for a one hour session.

Concessions and reductions are usually possible by agreement*. Feel free to ask if you are low waged or have limited income.

I ask that a client pay for sessions in advance because, excepting emergencies, 48 hours notice is required to cancel an arranged session. There is a cancellation fee for sessions that you do not to attend or cancel without sufficient notice. For couple sessions, if one partner does not attend the session cannot proceed, so a cancellation is charged.

For information on the cost of my workshops please use the enquiry form and give a brief outline of your organisation or event.

*I have 8 weekly sessions at reduced fees which are negotiated with clients at the start of therapy, or if they encounter an unexpected or unavoidable change in circumstances. Once those slots are all allocated I cannot offer any more until one of those clients either finishes therapy or has an upward change in their finances.

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Common reasons for coming to therapy

There are some common issues that bring people to therapy, although each person will have a different experience of them and will need to find a different way to address them. This list is intended to point out that you might not be alone in feeling the way you do. Also, during the Coronavirus restrictions we have all to some extent experienced an increase in stress. We are surrounded by palpable fear and signs of  danger, whilst also being told to stay away from people. Being locked-down has added enormous stresses on some households, put strain on families and denied us our usual de-stressing outlets. Isolation has been a common experience, even for those sharing spaces with others.

Anxiety

Social stress, coping with work, family, big life changes, losses or fears. We all feel anxiety some of the time, but when it interferes with decision making and stops us being natural, spontaneous, brave or effective, then we may need some help defusing the tension and thinking clearly.

Anxiety can also cause terrible physical symptoms that medication fails to relieve. In many cases therapy can provide long term relief.

Autonomy

Often we feel restricted, repressed or disempowered, without really knowing why. Therapy can help us to clarify or reconnect with our core aims, beliefs and desires, to become the person we want to be. If something is something holding you back, stopping you doing what you want to do, or being who you want to be, it may be a matter of agency. How can you take more control of your future?

Identity (including eating and body-related issues)

How we feel about ourselves and how we think others see us, are core questions for all of us which can be hard to deal with alone. A compassionate, shame-free examination can provide greater freedom and resilience for positive changes.

Bereavement and Loss (and loss of freedom)

Losing a loved one can be devastating and may cause disorientation and distress for long periods of time. Bereavement can unravel long-held ties and set off big changes in families. However loss can be worked through, to a point where the sadness is accepted and the person or that which you lost can be held with you as a positive part of your future and growth.

Lock-down, redundancy, divorce, losing mobility, function or capacities,  … these are all losses which can undermine our sense of self and can leave us feeling bereft.

Relationships

At work, with the family, friends… many relationships fail or present problems due to communication difficulties – hidden agendas, lack of trust, feeling bullied or undermined. These are common feelings in relationships which can be addressed and improved through therapy. Old patterns which may keep us in conflict or prevent us from trusting can be understood and modified.

Love and love for ourselves

Romantic relationships present their own problems and often leave people feeling misunderstood, unwanted or lonely. The patterns and beliefs behind these problems are often relatively strait forward to address. How we value ourselves will impact and affect how other see us.

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Terms and conditions

Our first session will include some contractual agreements. We will discuss these together and those which are optional may require a signature. You will receive a copy to keep for reference.

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Transactional Analysis

TA is a popular form of talking therapy devised by Dr. Eric Berne, initially as a way to work with people suffering severe disturbance. He then went on to make it into an accessible system for exploring and understanding personality and how people relate to each other. TA is commonly used in individual or group therapy, working with children or whole schools, in couples counselling and a variety of settings. A key feature for many TA therapists is that they are able to share their method with their clients (if they wish), who then has the same tools to support them in everyday life. Often appreciated for it’s clarity and flexibility it forms deeper understanding of the self. As a solid base for me it allows freedom to add other techniques and approaches too.

It is a humanistic and compassionate theory that supports people to improve their relationships, their work life and or their personal anxieties and neuroses. I have also used it to explore childhood issues, loss, love and sex.

See basic concepts

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Training and qualifications

Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

I hold a diploma in Transactional Analysis Counselling 4 years with Elan Training

BA(hons) Creative Arts 3 years Nottingham Trent University

Trained Psychodrama Auxiliary 1 year with Northern School of Psychodrama

I attend regular CPD and professional supervision including training on working with children, using creative arts, suicide prevention, diversity and disability training, Gestalt techniques, Action methods, working outdoors,…

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£10 first session

I offer a reduced price 30 minute session for new clients to meet me and ask some questions.

I appreciate how hard it can be to find the right person to work with. A conversation can give us some time to decide if we will be able to work together, or if not, I am happy to refer other colleagues who may suit your needs.

I always recommend that clients meet or speak to 2 or 3 different therapists before making a decision. Finding a good match is a great contributor to successful therapy.