What’s it like to go for counselling?

Hi, I’m really pleased to meet you…

When I hear from you for the first time, I always feel happy to that you have got in touch – and I think about how you’ve taken that first, perhaps nerve-wracking step towards feeling better – towards hope.  My own experience tells me that you may not be feeling that conscious of there being hope, but you followed that impulse to move towards a better, lighter place.  It may be that you’ve found it difficult to cope with your feelings or situation at the moment: perhaps you’ve battled on and on, or waited for months, perhaps years, hoping things will get better but they don’t and now you’re here, you’ve just contacted me.  You’ve been holding it together for so long – perhaps leaving you feeling exhausted or at the end of your tether. 

There is space and welcome for all those difficult feelings here

Perhaps you’re experiencing many differing, even conflicting emotions: feelings of fear, trepidation, frustration, anger, sadness, shame, wobbliness or confusion or despair.  There is space and welcome for all those feelings and more in my room: I too have been where you find yourself now.  I can remember how it feels to take myself and all my vulnerabilities including the whole range of feelings I’ve just mentioned and sat with that trained someone, as we started on our journey of exploration of the depths of my wobbliness together.

I have also been where you find yourself at the moment

Why is that helpful to you?  Perhaps you may be wondering what difference my experience of suffering and counselling should make to where you are now.  I still remember those steps of my own journey, sometime ago now and how I was helped by another who had been similarly inspired by a journey of their own.  They knew what it was like and that is how I know there is hope for you, even if you don’t feel that hope yourself at the moment.

You may feel half-frozen, half a jumble of different feelings, or somewhere in-between, but from our very first contact, I see or hear before me someone unique, of infinite worth and preciousness and I am holding a gentle curiosity as to what happened to you in your life that has led to your coming to my door at this point in time.

There is nothing “wrong” with you!  
However, I wonder, what happened that brought you here, today?

I believe we all have basic human needs: for love, safety and belonging; being valued, respected, heard, prized, encouraged – being allowed to grow and fulfil our potential.  Perhaps one or more of those, or other, needs was not met at some time, or long-term, in your life?  Perhaps not.  During our sessions together, my hope is that you will tell your own unique story and your journey will unfold.

How long does it take?

I love working with people and I also love how their stories unfold during our work together.  You may be worried that yours will be too hard to tell, or take too long, or that you might feel that you loose control of it in the telling.  Counselling puts you at the centre of your story, of what you say and how long you take to say it.  We take it at your pace, one moment at a time and whatever your story involves will be given the space, the time and welcome it needs so that you feel held and valued while you explore different parts of your story one at a time.  As we go, parts of you and your story that have been forgotten or long-buried are explored together.  As you talk, I listen and at times I tell parts of your story back to you, supporting you as you re-member them, making sense of them perhaps for the first time.

You have already taken that first step towards hope

You might chose to learn some skills to help you soothe your distress – building up an emotional tool-box of sorts for you to take with you to use and add to as and when you need.  As we go forward through your story, you will come to trust your emotional tool-box – your new skillset – and notice a gradual increase in confidence and well-being, feeling more settled in your own skin perhaps.  You will start to experience deeper awareness, understanding and acceptance of yourself and your very own uniqueness – your journey can at last unfold and move forward with happiness and fulfilment a reality.

A living being, you are worthy of love, self-awareness, understanding, acceptance & compassion

It is my sincere hope that you come to see yourself as a being worthy of love, understanding, acceptance and compassion and that you will take your rightful place in our world, with more self-knowledge, skills and hope than you felt when first we met.

If you would like to begin your journey now, this month or later, you can call me on 07851 218 014, email me at [email protected] or visit the Contact page.  You are welcome to join me in a free 15minute telephone call to see if we can work together in a way that you feel comfortable with, so that you can start your journey. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Journey of 1000 miles happens one moment at a time

Walking is part of daily life for most of us. Whether inside or out, we are usually walking in order to get somewhere: a goal-based journey. Quite often, while walking, be it to another room, a walk to the shops or a walk outdoors for pleasure, our minds usually take a walk too, into the world of thoughts. Before we know it, our awareness has shifted from ourselves, our bodies and our surroundings, and we become lost in thought.  

“I’ve forgotten what I walked upstairs for!”

Many is the time I have walked upstairs and by the time I’ve got there, I’ve forgotten what I went up for. Or perhaps you’ve noticed your thoughts becoming caught in loops, covering the same ground over and over again, all to no avail.  Sometimes we can go out for a walk and become so caught up in the “goal”, or having to achieve this or that – we may at that certain point feel the familiar rush of endorphins, but how long have you had to exercise this time in order to feel free of that inner critic?  Does any of this sound familiar?

“The beauty of it is, you can practise mindful walking indoors, in a small room, or take it outdoors”

During a mindfulness walk, by paying attention to what we notice through our senses, the mind is gathered out of the past or future and into the present moment. There is no particular aim or goal in a mindfulness walk, we are just being as fully present as we can with our current moment experience. Walking in this way can be rejuvenating, a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend nurturing time with ourselves – the beauty of it is, you can practise mindful walking indoors, just in one room, or outdoors.

“Just 5 or 10 minutes!”

So, if you’ve been sitting at your desk or sofa for a while and fancy a movement break, why not try this:

  • Coming to standing – taking your awareness down to your feet – where does your weight feel distributed?  More left/right, front/back than central?  Perhaps quite central, or maybe there’s not much sensation at the moment…
  • Allowing your weight to shift gently from one foot to the other: noticing the muscles in your legs holding you upright – noticing your shoulders – seeing if the shoulders can let go of one another – noticing your breathing…
  • Starting to think about initiating a step forward, allowing your weight to empty out of one leg into the other and lifting the lightening leg up off the ground, moving that leg forward and slowly, gently, placing it down on the floor in front of you – noticing how your weight rocks forward through your front foot.  How soon do you roll from heel to toe on your back foot? What does that movement really feel like?  Do you notice the bones and tendons in your foot?  Are you impatient to be “getting going”? 
  • Allowing your lightening back foot to lift, moving it forward – feeling it move through the air – noticing the changes involved in starting to lower it down onto the floor in front of you.  Repeating the process and varying the speed.  How do you feel about moving this slowly – is it comfortable, a revelation or is it uncomfortable?  What happens with your balance – making the informed choice to use/not use support as you need.  How fast do you want to move?
  • Moving around your room, garden, woodland spot etc with no particular aim at all for the next five minutes – paying attention to the plethora of things that may normally go unnoticed – really appreciating your body and mind for all the wonderous things they do and leave you free for!

And seeing if you can bring this awareness into the next part of your day.

So, when you’re next rushing to get from one room, bus stop, superstore shelf, walk or climbing checkpoint, remember, a journey of a thousand miles happens just one moment at a time.

If you are interested in exploring mindful walking and in the presence of like-minded others, click here for details of the next Mindfulness Retreat Walks.