How I Counsel

Understanding, guidance and encouragement for tough times…

The first thing people want to know when they are looking for a counsellor is whether or not I will be able to help them feel better. Some want to know my credentials; some my experience; some my approach. They’re natural questions but they suppose that there is one technique or “modality” that works with everybody, as if people were simply a mechanical device like a car and all of them could be fixed in the same way.

In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 400 different helping models. However, no one method of counselling has proven to be better than others. Indeed, I’ve learned that there are many ways to find relief and help and healing, maybe as many as there are people who need healing. The best way to put it is to say I take a “personal” approach. Whatever I do with a client has to fit his or her own unique needs; so the truth is, I come up with a new approach for each and every person who comes to consult with me.

I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist.  I do not practice psychotherapy or make any clinical diagnosis.  I simply have a deep conversation with the women and men I meet with and they tell me that they feel like they are talking to a wise, old friend.

In the book “Make Every Session Count” the authors point out: “…the most commonly reported factor judged to have been helpful to clients was the therapist’s ablility to genuinely care and to understand the client…”

In fact most people do not want or need “a fix”. That’s not what they’re looking for. Sometimes they just want to talk; afterwards, they may want advice or instuction. But invariably, what they really want is to be understood in a way that helps them understand themselves. They want to know why they feel what they feel and act the way they do. After that it might be a matter of accepting themselves as they are, or perhaps recognizing a need to make some changes in their lives.

It’s at times of emotional crisis, when we’re confused and anxious, that talking it out can be a big relief. Sometimes we need someone else to help us see inside ourselves. We need perspective. By listening and asking questions, I can help you get a handle on overwhelming emotions and events. As we explore your situation from different angles, problems often start to make sense. Together we investigate your beliefs and attitudes, and figure out what impact they’re having on your life. It’s almost as if we identify the painful story you’ve been telling yourself and start to rewrite it. It’s not my job to do the work for you. You are the expert on you. But I can help you get in touch with your true feelings and give you a chance to express them. I can help you get out of the trap you feel stuck in. You’ll begin to connect the dots and grow more aware of what’s really running the show. You’ll start to see clearly and feel more in control. I’ll help you discover options you never thought you had.

Basically what I do is simply create the conditions that help you help yourself. It’s not always easy. In fact, it can be very hard to tell someone your secrets and reveal parts of your life you have kept to yourself. I know you will only do that if you trust me to hold your confidence and not judge you. You will need a safe place as well as my respect, acceptance and encouragement. Only then will you find that it’s alright to talk honestly about how things really are for you. And only then will you realize that while struggles are inevitable, the way you face them determines whether they will be hopeless problems or life-enhancing opportunities.