Counselling provides an opportunity for people to look at issues that they are finding hard to cope with. It is our coping mechanisms that get us through life’s challenges and difficulties and when these no longer work as they did before, a personal crisis can occur. This can be frightening, confusing and disorientating for that person and can have an affect on their immediate family, friends and work colleagues.
Circumstances often build up slowly over a period of time. Sometimes it needs only one extra demand on our mental, emotional or physical state to tip us over into needing help. This is where counselling can be of use. At Adytum we aim to create a safe place where we can look at the issues to facilitate personal growth. The experiences of life cannot be changed. However, the way a person looks at their situation, both past and present, can alter and change, as can their growing awareness and perception about themselves as individuals.
The issues that are brought to counselling are totally unique to the individual and can encompass personal or family crisis, bereavement, stress, both at home and in the work place, unresolved childhood issues, relationship difficulties, alcohol or drug abuse, trauma, depression, eating disorders, low self esteem issues with children and young people within a family setting. The decision to seek help through counselling is often hard for the individual to take. They may have been carrying the problems around for a long while without really being aware of the impact it is having on their lives or those around them. The impetus for making the commitment to counselling has to come from the client themselves, which can very often be a difficult experience in itself. At Adytum we are aware however that counselling is not suitable for everyone, after all we are all unique individuals with our own particular life story.
Very often the issues raised are not easily shared with close family or friends, or they have been shared and the problems have not been alleviated. Indeed, close family or friends could very well be a part of the problem. Feelings of guilt, shame and helplessness can be hard to articulate and express as it opens up our vulnerability. These feelings may not be accepted by others as they could touch on their own issues, leaving the person seeking help feeling even more let down. Friends may give advice when all you need is someone to listen to you and to be non-judgemental in their attitude. Good professional counselling should provide all these qualities to enable people to feel safe enough to discuss and explore what is troubling them. The skill of the counsellor is in recognising where each person is in that process and helping them to eventually move on.
At Adytum we use a person centred approach which works on the idea that we all have the answers to our own problems inside us. In order for us to be able to change what it is that needs changing in our lives we have to first understand what it is that makes us feel like we do. Person centred counselling involves working through our personal layers of life experience, both good and bad, to the core of our personality. This layering of the personality often obscures the person that we would like to be and who we feel most comfortable with.
Each session lasts around an hour, which is usually enough time to explore some of the concerns that are presented. The number of sessions required by each person for counselling is variable; some people only need a few sessions, others need longer. We review the progress made regularly with the client and agree with them where we are going. It is not our intention to keep the client “in therapy” for any longer than is necessary. It must also be acknowledged that counselling does not work for everyone. If this is the case then we would endeavour to refer the person to a more appropriate practitioner or offer advice as to the next step forward. If sessions are being funded by an employer or insurance provider, and the number of sessions is limited, then if there is a need to continue we would come to a private arrangement if at all possible and it is thought to be appropriate. At Adytum our aim is to empower people so that they can make more valid choices and decisions in their lives, thus enabling them to live in a more positive and enlightened manner.
As counsellors we are constantly adding to our skills and awareness in order to incorporate other therapeutic tools when necessary. Confidentiality is the key to the counselling process. To this end we guarantee the confidentiality of not only the sessions but also our 24 hour phone line and our record keeping. We also use client feedback questionnaires in order to regularly monitor our practice, and to continually improve our service.