What is Counselling?

Counselling is also known as psychotherapy, talking therapy or just therapy.

At Active Listener we are fundamentally humanistic in our approach to counselling which means that we believe that people have an instinctive drive to want to make themselves better and that each of us  has the resources within ourselves to do this provided that the conditions are right. Counselling is where those conditions can be created. So what is humanistic counselling?

An ActiveListener’s core principles of counselling are:

Confidential

Nothing that is discussed in counselling is talked about anywhere else unless I believe that you are a danger to yourself or to others in which case I will first tell you that you or I need to contact your doctor and/or the police. I also have regular supervision to ensure I am working competently and ethically and although I will discuss our session, your details are never revealed.

Safe

For you, talking about certain topics or showing certain feelings might have been prohibited, risky or even dangerous. It is my job to show you that in your counselling space, you are safe to say and be whoever and whatever you need to be without fear of me judging, guilt-tripping or being angry.

Respectful

Leading on from safety, in counselling you are free to be you. Whatever hurt you have experienced or whatever hurt you have caused yourself or others, I am here to listen without fear or judgement and at your pace.

Empathic

I understand that everyone’s experience of the world is unique and although you may have experienced what others have experienced, I do not presume to know how you experienced it. It is my job to listen, understand and clarify as best I can how you experience your world.

Mutual

You and I are the same, we are equal human beings sharing a space and a time. However, I am the expert on counselling and you are the expert on you and we can share our expertise to work together.

Exploratory

Together, like detectives, we will explore your world looking for clues and answers that underlie your reason’s for coming to counselling. Our agenda is you, and we will explore at your pace, I will never intentionally enter any part of your world without your invitation.

Boundaried

When we first begin to work with each other we will draw up a contract that we both agree to work to. This is the framework in which we both agree to work including the location, time, frequency and number of sessions we will have together. We will establish what you hope to work towards and we agree how and when we are able to contact each other outside of sessions. Our contract can be renegotiated by either one of us at any time, but we must both agree any changes.

Congruent

I agree to be authentic with you at all times. This does not mean that I will talk about me and my life as our time together is about you, but it does mean that if I feel happy I might laugh, if you share something painful while laughing I won’t laugh too, if I feel you are upset with me I will ask you. The more congruent you can be with me, the faster we will reach your goals.

Client Led

You are always in charge. If you wish to change subject, we will change subject, if you wish be quiet we will be quiet. I only ask that if you do decide to end counselling early, that you give three weeks notice for us to make a proper ending.

What an ActiveListener is not:

Advisory

My role is not about giving advice. Humanistic counselling is about the process of getting to a place where you feel able to make choices for yourself, a place of autonomy.

Tea and sympathy

Counselling is not a chat between friends, a gossip and an opportunity to tell each other quips and anecdotes. We are hear to better support and understand you so that you can bring about the changes in your life that you have decided you wish to change.

Self-disclosure

We are here for you, and although I might occasionally tell you something about myself it will only be if it benefits your process in some way. This is never intended to be cold or aloof, but simply not to distract from our focus: You.

Directive

I will never tell you what to do. I may invite you to try something, but it will always be up to you.

Thoughts from active listeners ...

Everything has a price. The subtle art of decision making.

Maybe you’re ready to make that big decision, or multiple decisions. Maybe you’re clinging awkwardly to the barbed wire of that fence. Maybe you understand why you’re choosing to stay where you are. What ever the case it could be time to stop facing your desire to make change alone.

‘Pull Yourself Together’ – Kinder words than you think?

Breathing techniques are the easy bit. If the source or cause of your distress or unhelpful behaviour feels bigger than your capacity to make change, then counselling can help.

The Love Trap

Unconditional love is something we all crave and we have all craved since we were babies and guess what, we do actually deserve it

Who needs feelings anyway?

Living life without feelings is surely not living life to the full, it’s like blurred vision, muffled sound or numb touching.

And … How are you?

This time of year can be really hard for so many of us and for so many reasons. Counselling can be a helpful space for you to be what you need to be.

The Anxious Child

Take a breath dear superhero. We live in a world where we have forgotten how to model calm.

Can you take advice from yourself?

In counselling there can be many exercises that help us to become aware of how we keep ourselves in places we don’t actually want to be. The process of speaking these things out loud to another person, to be shared and understood together, can dramatically change our perspective.

Are you the River or the Dam?

Counselling can help you find and uncover and understand your dams and help you to re-identify with yourself while you decide if you wish to remove them. Is it time to talk?

Defences – Are they as good as they seem?

Counselling is a place you can explore the defences you have spent many years developing and honing. They were your friend once, without a doubt. Are they still helping you now?

Men, Stress and a Badge of Honour

In counselling you will not be judged for expressing what you are really feeling, you will not be doubted. We are interested less in the facts of what you need to achieve, than how you are affected by the expectations. It is an opportunity to talk freely and explore any options you may have.

Decision-making - counselling

Everything has a price. The subtle art of decision making.

Maybe you’re ready to make that big decision, or multiple decisions. Maybe you’re clinging awkwardly to the barbed wire of that fence. Maybe you understand why you’re choosing to stay where you are. What ever the case it could be time to stop facing your desire to make change alone.

Pull-Yourself-Together - Counselling

‘Pull Yourself Together’ – Kinder words than you think?

Breathing techniques are the easy bit. If the source or cause of your distress or unhelpful behaviour feels bigger than your capacity to make change, then counselling can help.

The love trap - Ben Wrigley

The Love Trap

Unconditional love is something we all crave and we have all craved since we were babies and guess what, we do actually deserve it

Feelings Dashboard - Counselling

Who needs feelings anyway?

Living life without feelings is surely not living life to the full, it’s like blurred vision, muffled sound or numb touching.

how-are-you - counselling

And … How are you?

This time of year can be really hard for so many of us and for so many reasons. Counselling can be a helpful space for you to be what you need to be.

Anxious Child - Counselling

The Anxious Child

Take a breath dear superhero. We live in a world where we have forgotten how to model calm.

Advice from yourself - counselling

Can you take advice from yourself?

In counselling there can be many exercises that help us to become aware of how we keep ourselves in places we don’t actually want to be. The process of speaking these things out loud to another person, to be shared and understood together, can dramatically change our perspective.

river or dam- counselling

Are you the River or the Dam?

Counselling can help you find and uncover and understand your dams and help you to re-identify with yourself while you decide if you wish to remove them. Is it time to talk?

Defences - counselling

Defences – Are they as good as they seem?

Counselling is a place you can explore the defences you have spent many years developing and honing. They were your friend once, without a doubt. Are they still helping you now?

Men Stress - counselling

Men, Stress and a Badge of Honour

In counselling you will not be judged for expressing what you are really feeling, you will not be doubted. We are interested less in the facts of what you need to achieve, than how you are affected by the expectations. It is an opportunity to talk freely and explore any options you may have.

Share This