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