What is Online Counselling?
Counselling* aims to help you clarify difficult feelings, get to know and accept yourself better, think about the choices you have and consider any changes you might want to make in your life. People come to counselling for a vast range of reasons. Sometimes something specific has happened that remains unresolved, sometimes it might be because things have been building up for a while. Sometimes people are not sure exactly what the problem is but fundamentally they know that something “is not quite right” in life. All of these reasons are valid. When you seek counselling, you are taken seriously no matter what your reason for coming is. You are listened to without judgement or blame. You are not interrogated and you are not laughed at. You are encouraged to talk about your reasons for coming as honestly as you can. Online counselling simply means that our meetings take place remotely - either online and/or by telephone and you do not physically come to visit me. Online counselling includes counselling by telephone, online video call, online audio call, instant messenger and email. Take a look at the FAQ page to find out more about the practicalities of meeting these ways. *In the UK, the distinction between counselling and psychotherapy is not legally defined at present. I believe that counselling and psychotherapy are essentially the same thing so I use the term counselling to mean both counselling and psychotherapy. If you are based in a country which does draw a distinction, or if your health insurance body does, then I am qualified in the UK in both counselling and psychotherapy.
Who do you work with?
I offer counselling to people aged 16 and over. I am based in Hull (United Kingdom) and I work with people local to this area, people from all parts of the United Kingdom and people in a number of other countries too. If you are based outside the United Kingdom and you think I can help you then please contact me to discuss whether we can work together (with due regard for the relevant law in our respective countries).
What sort of counselling do you offer?
I listen to what you are saying and pick out the key themes which are emerging in order to clarify for you what is going on at the moment. People often feel relieved by this process and you may find that this is all you need. Some people want to know how their attitudes, thoughts and feelings interlink and where they originate from in order to understand themselves better. I can help you to think more deeply about your past experiences and relationships, how your responses and beliefs have come to be formed and how they are affecting you now. You may want to consider changes you would like to make in your life. These could be about how you see yourself and others; how you make sense of your past and your future; how you handle relationships; or how you take care of yourself day to day. Together we can think through changes you would like to make so these stay with you after the counselling sessions have finished. My style of counselling is an Eclectic Integrative approach based around the framework of the Skilled Helper model. I combine theory from the Humanistic schools of therapeutic thought (including Person Centred, Narrative, Gestalt, Existential and Transactional Analysis) and other areas too including Attachment Theory, Systemic Family Theory, Psychodynamic Therapy, Mindfulness, Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). (If you’d like to know more about what these mean then you can either ask me or look up them up on Wikipedia!) I am also interested in more recent writing and research about the impact of trauma on an individual’s development, health and wellbeing – so some of these ideas influence how I practice as well.
What's the first step?
How many sessions will I need?
Some people come to counselling for a handful of sessions and some come for much longer – sometimes years. A lot depends on what you want to get out of your counselling sessions, and how long-standing and complex the situations are which you want to think through. At your initial assessment we will discuss roughly how many sessions you might need and use this as a starting point. Together we regularly review how the counselling is going and might agree to either shorten or lengthen our work. This is very much a joint process and I will not pressure you into attending sessions for longer than you need nor will I encourage you to leave before you feel ready.
Are my sessions confidential?
Do you tell my doctor that I am having counselling sessions?
No, your doctor is not routinely told that you are having counselling sessions and any sessions you have with me will not be recorded on your NHS record (or the equivalent in the country where you are based). It is not usually recommended for someone to see two (or more) counsellors at the same time so if you know that your doctor has referred you for counselling elsewhere then it is advisable to tell them that you are already receiving counselling sessions with me. You can then discuss with them whether you need extra support at this time. Likewise if you are already seeing another counsellor, or know that your doctor has already referred you for counselling and you are waiting for an appointment, please let me know when you.
Are you available in an emergency?
It is sometimes possible to set up an emergency counselling session at short notice but it will depend on my availability. If you are in crisis and need support with your mental health right now then you can find details of some organisations which you can contact on the Urgent Help webpage.