I finally bit the bullet and posted a video on You Tube!!
Well....having given this some thought I reckon if people are thinking about counselling or therapy and are looking at what's on offer locally then to see and hear me might ( or might not) help.
Being a therapist I am used to be with a client or group of people, interacting and working together on a goal. Speaking into a webcam about myself is a very strange experience indeed.
When people are starting to look for a therapist websites usually come up during a search and they have to plough through words which give them an idea about what the therapist can offer but gives little indication as to what might this person be like. A photograph might fill in "what do they look like" and so make a decision "well, they look ok".
All this is what's called "transference", we transfer onto another certain attributes which may be positive or negative. Transference includes "they remind me of X, and I liked them, so I will like this therapist" or " the therapist reminds me of Y and I didn't like them at all, so I won't like this therapist" and move onto the next website. Of course all this happen subconsciously out of awareness and is a first impression which we attach great importance to.
A video won't get rid of the transference, in fact it may well heighten the effect. So give the video a go, tell me what you think...be as kind as you can.....
People come for therapy and help with their relationships often by themselves. They either decide alone to come or have been given an ultimatum by their partner to "get some counselling or I am leaving".
As an observation individuals who do see me by themselves are rarely the sole source of the problem. The relationship runs into problems or founders when either of the couple sees the difficulties being the responsibility of the other.
Of course there may be exceptions to this such as gender based violence, substance misuse and infidelity which often means one partner's behaviour has impacted so negatively on the other that the relationship ends or limps on when promises are made and assurances given that "it won't happen again". What happens next is key, how the "injured person" reacts and responds to promises and assurances when in fact nothing has changed.
Often the seeds of discontent have been sown much earlier in the relationship. Humans are able to discount and ignore their partners less positive personality characteristics, consciously or unconsciously hoping to change them. Unfortunately we are only able to change ourselves and this requires a willingness and conscious decision to do so. Being pressured, criticised, or humiliated into changing leads to friction, unhappiness, anger and despair.
Often dysfunctional relationship patterns are repeated from one partner to the next. Unconscious psychological patterns to behaviour are fixed early in life and are played out in relationships to reinforce what we feel about ourselves and others. Certainly one to one counselling is helpful to explore this pattern, to raise the individuals self-awareness and ability to reflect and identify ways they might change.
Couples counselling can begin once these issues are identified and resolved. The main areas covered in couples work are:
1. To look at how couples communicate with one another so they use comments less critically, and non-humiliating and learn to "fight fairly".
2. Change is more likely to come from building on the positive aspects of their relationship, looking ahead and not "rehashing past grievances and hurts.
3. Focus on the strengths in the relationship and foster hope that they can make the changes and meet one another's needs. What was it that drew them together in the first place?
4. Do each of the partnership want to stay together, what's keeping them there, and how might they stay together or separate amicably?
Couples therapy is demanding and challenging but deeply rewarding for all involved. I see the couples relationship as the client, not the 2 individuals, as the work and change happens in the relationship.
I hope you have found this blog article useful. I would very much appreciate your constructive comments and feedback. If you would like to know more or are considering couples counselling then give me a ring on 07824700980.
I guess if you are looking at this blog article you have been thinking about counselling?
You might be doing a bit of research to see what's out there and if I might be someone you could contact to find out more before taking the plunge?
Well.....look no further my friend.
Consider these questions, which may help to make up your mind:
1. Are you feeling distressed, lost and confused? YES/ NO
2. Have you had a major life event such as separation, divorce, end of a significant relationship, bereavement and are struggling to cope? YES/ NO
3. Have you found relationships always seem to end the same way and follow a pattern? YES/ NO
4. Have friends and family suggested you seek counselling but you can't see why? YES/ NO
5. Has your partner given you an ultimatum to get help or they are leaving you? YES/ NO
6. Have become tired of feeling low, depressed, angry or upset? YES/ NO
7. Are there aspects of your life you want to change? YES/NO
8. Do you feel anxious and worried most of the time and don't know why? YES/ NO
9. Has stuff from your childhood started to come into your thoughts more? YES/ NO
10. Are you finding relationships at work difficult and you are being bullied? YES/ NO
If you've answered YES to any of these questions then counselling may help you?
Well it's been a full year since I started up in private practice as St Andrews Counselling & Psychotherapy!
I must say I have really enjoyed this journey and learnt so much since I finished training in 2012.
I have continued to work in the Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Dundee where I started in my clinical placement 3 and a half years ago. I love the work with female survivors of rape, and childhood sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Their tenacity, bravery and courage in seeking help, sometimes after 20 or 30 years, having told no one else, continues to inspire and challenge me. Often the women use alcohol or drugs to cope with what's happened to them and many have severe and enduring mental health difficulties and personality disorders. As a learner with such a steep learning curve the women have been so patient and understanding. I have used the good advice of my supervisor many times " Don't interrupt, keep quiet, if you don't know what to say". As I have become more experienced I have become more comfortable using silence and allowing the client space and time to let their thoughts and feelings emerge.
Private practice has been quite a contrast to WRASAC! Most of the work has been short term, focussed and intensive in a different way. Most clients so far have had relationship difficulties and struggled to understand why their relationship has ended or run into problems. Often they have had little support from their family and friends, or have exhausted this support and looked for a professional to support them to come to terms with what's happened or looked to change some aspect of how they are in relationship. I do love this work and get such a lot of satisfaction in helping the clients to reach their goals and feel better. I have been fortunate to get plenty of very positive feedback.
I have found using the CORE, evaluation and outcome measurement system invaluable in assessing clients emotional, physical and psychological well being. The CORE also assesses the level of risk for self-harm and suicide. A short questionnaire is given prior to each session and the results examined to see where therapy needs to be focussed. The clients scores are charted weekly and the therapist and client together can see progress accelerating, slowing or plateauing. I find this so useful as sometimes from session to session or over the course of weeks its often difficult to get a feel for how therapy is going and whether the client is responding and which areas need more attention than others. CORE means true partnership working between therapist and client.
I feel I have developed good skills in being able to help clients with recovery from trauma (PTSD), relationship and communication problems, and severe and enduring mental health disorders ( Borderline Personality Disorders, Severe Depression and Anxiety, Functional Disorders, Substance Misuse etc).
I am really looking forward to 2014 in developing my private practice further, continuing my voluntary therapy role in WRASAC and my advanced training course.