Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above.
In working with clients, whether couples or individuals, I try to be flexible in terms of the style I adopt, matching it to your needs as a client. The best approach for you is something that we will work out together, during counselling.
Sometimes we will need to work to a deadline – maybe because of a planned house move, or a pregnancy, or because you have limited funds. In such cases I will help you to prioritise and focus on specific objectives that are likely to be achievable in the timeframe we have. For example, I worked recently with a couple who were expecting a baby in a few months. They decided to concentrate on improving their communication, leaving other issues aside for the time being. After four sessions, they felt that things had changed enough that they could finish counselling and use the communication skills they had developed to work on other aspects of the relationship at home.
In other cases counselling is open-ended but you may still want to work in a structured way, to talk about specific topics for a week or two weeks each for instance. It may be that you want to focus on managing anger, or want help to give up smoking. Or maybe you want to try to understand why a relationship has come to an end. Given a very specific objective such as one of these, it is possible to work in quite a focussed way. Having said that, because we are complicated beings, all sorts of different things might affect our behaviours, and the things that happen to us. So there will be times when it is sensible to explore “round the edges” of problems – maybe spending some time talking about family upbringing, for example.
At the other end of the scale, some people may want to use counselling just as a place to come and talk, to get support through a difficult period, maybe grieving for a loved one or getting through a difficult divorce. For those people counselling is just a safe place to release tension and to be able to voice thoughts in a non-judgmental environment. It may well be that their thoughts are very confused and muddled, and attempts to work in a structured way will not work at all. Over time, talking about the confusion of thoughts generally helps to clarify things for clients. It may take some time, especially if there is a lot of history, or particularly traumatic experiences, but the process of talking about events, thoughts and feelings genuinely helps to put them into perspective.
Whatever the situation, the style of counselling we adopt will be something we discuss and agree together. I will make sure that, during counselling, we frequently review the progress we are making and whether you feel the approach we are taking is the best one – or whether you think it’s time for a change of style.