One of the most beautiful descriptions I've ever heard of the counselling relationship was by Mearns and Cooper who define the ‘relational depth’ between counsellor and client as a feeling of profound contact and engagement with another, in which the therapist experienced high levels of empathy, acceptance and transparency towards their clients and experienced their clients as acknowledging their empathy and acceptance in a genuine way.
Over the years I've heard many different views about counselling and some have been quite negative.
"I didn't get on with the counsellor, there was something about him/her."
"The counsellor kept doing long silences and kept asking me how everything made me feel."
"I felt like the counsellor was really intelligent and seemed to be judging me all the time."
Just as in every other job, you will meet some good, some bad counsellors. Some will have different styles of counselling and there will be people that you connect with immediately and some you don't.
So how can I be sure that your experience when working with me will be just right for you?
Because I believe that we are both 'experts' working together. I am the expert in my field choosing what will be the best approach, style for you. I am an integrative counsellor/psychotherapist and have trained in psychodynamic, humanistic and behavioural counselling and many other skills and techniques.
You are the expert of your life and you can educate me on how it is to be you. It's important for me to understand how it is to live life in your shoes.
I believe that my first goal in counselling is to first build a really good relationship with you based on a fantastic feeling of rapport. We have to get on, we have to feel that we can work together as a team. To do this I have to be comfortable with just being me, just a human '(be)ing' there with you in the present moment, listening intently and being transparent.
I always open a first session by saying 'I will not judge you, I will let you feel heard and valued' and that is something I live by because I have always said, it is so easy to judge other people when you are out there in the world, you can look at someone and judge them in a snapshot moment based on your life, your upbringing, your beliefs. However when someone sits in the chair opposite you in this incredible profession, you are immediately on their side, in their corner, you want the best for them, why? Because in the right setting they will open their heart to you.
This profession is so amazing that someone can tell you about their whole life in only a few hours. When they trust you, feel your humanness they will tell you their deepest secrets and that I believe is a privilege. A privilege that I, to this day never take for granted and what I most want for you is that we can together get you back to being that perfect version of you, just as you were born before life became a struggle. You are still here because you are a survivor, a battler, you came through and now you have the chance to reset yourself and start again.
You can step into a new season of your life, wiser, stronger and finally free.