How can counselling help you?
Counselling gives you the opportunity to explore what is on your mind in a friendly and confidential environment. Often the most helpful thing is to allow oneself to say out loud what one is worried about, afraid off, sick and tired off. In counselling you find an opportunity to let of steam, check out your worst fears, or talk about your deepest desire. Whatever you talk about will stay in the counselling rooms. I promise to listen to you without judgment, but will share with you my honest responses and try my best to help you to figure out what these thoughts and feelings mean for you.
Going to counselling is tough. Nobody wants to be in a place where they feel like they might need a counsellor, like feeling depressed, anxious, unsure about how to go on. I will offer you warm, understanding support to help, so that this journey of self discovery will not be any harder than it needs to be. Whatever comes up is welcome. The biggest problem with understanding and making sense of what goes on in our lives is often the feeling that there is not the space and time where we are welcome to just be. There are always so many expectations from the environment. This is not just true for professional environments. Friends and family might give you warm and loving support, but that can also be mixed up with hopes, expectations, and often even needs for you to be how they would like you to be. This can make it hard to feel miserable, or face the sides of you that you feel no one wants to see. But it is important to see the whole of oneself, if we are to be able to make sense of things when they feel they are going wrong.
The counselling room is an environment where there are no expectations for you to be in anything but yourself. You can just be.
I will accept you and your version of what is distressing you. I believe it is important that you feel it is ok for you to freely explore what is going on in your life. The path to a happier more fulfilled life often starts with accepting that not everything is as we want it to be. People start their journeys from many different places. Depression, anxiety, unending grief, overwhelming anger, are often signs that we are struggling with something that doesn't make sense in our life. While it often feels best to just find a way to get rid of the distress, this can lead to important problems being ignored and left to fester somewhere shut away in a part of your mind you do not want to look at.
I believe people heal and grow when they get the chance to comprehend fully what is happening and feel that this is understood and accepted.
You are the expert
You might not feel like that right now, but the person-centred approach is based on the trust that all people tend to know best what is right for them. The reason why we sometimes feel that we do not understand ourselves, or feel overwhelmed by feelings which do not seem to make any sense, is because it can be very hard to see clearly what is happening, especially if one is right in the middle of it and feels overwhelmed by unwanted thoughts and feelings. This is where I can help you to explore, make sense and find that clarity that you need to find your solutions.
For me the importance of believing in you as the expert of your world, is that I accept that all human beings are unique and are struggling with unique combinations of challenges. The symptoms and problems in which these unique challenges show up reflect our common human nature, and being familiar with that human nature helps me to be with you in your personal struggle and help you to understand and face what is going on for you. But because your feelings will still be your unique feelings and your problems are your unique problems, your solutions will be something only you can find. Decisions, actions, solution have to be your own, but I can guide you on the journey to find them.
Mental distress is often connected to some form of traumatic experience. Whether going back to mild disturbances of childhood development or specific traumatic events, it is often unprocessed memories of distress, which make it hard to deal with the complexities of life in the here and now.
An important part of counselling can be to sensitively explore if there are specific painful memories, which influence the way you approach the problem life throws at you and help you to free yourself from the power these memories might still have over you. Fortunately, traumatic memories often are formed at times and in situation where we are not able to deal with the situation as it happened, be it, because we were too young to make sense of them, or because the situation was too complex and things happened too fast in the moment to allow us to make sense of them, it is often possible to heal the trauma when we revisit the painful memories at a later stage when we are older, with more life experience, or just no longer in the hectic situation where we got overwhelmed, and most importantly with enough time and space to slowly make sense of them.
Everybody has some moments like that, for most people they will thankfully always just be minor painful memories that can easily be avoided, but sometimes they can get in the way of us dealing with other major challenges in our lives and then we find unable to face them without understanding why.
Forms of distress
People find it often easiest to label their distress by the symptoms they experience, whether it is anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviour, addictions, personality issues, relationships problems, anger, grief, stress, sleeplessness, a midlife crisis, or the growing pains of finding your place in the world. It is important to remember though that these are just signs that something is going wrong. Any of these problems can arise for many different reasons. Also what first shows as one problem can easily be related to other issues. This is why the person-centred approach which looks at people in a holistic way can be so helpful, because it offers a general way of being, which lends itself to be helpful in all forms of mental distress and personal challenges. Whether you feel you are struggling with specific symptoms or general challenges, I offer you the space and time to explore with you what is going in your life, to help you to find a way to live without the distress and become a better version of yourself.