Why counselling?

My clients come for counselling for all sorts of reasons such as bereavement, depression, divorce/separation/affairs, anxiety issues, anger, addiction, suicidal feelings, patterns of unwanted behaviour and sex/sexuality issues. All issues are welcome as well as your individual circumstances such as gender/transgender, sexuality (LGBT), age and religious beliefs. 


Being human


We are all complex beings and any of us can find ourselves in a difficult place sometimes. Counselling won't stop life's ups and downs but it can help you deal with the downs in more productive ways by increasing your self-awareness. For example, you may have unrealistic expectations of yourself, or have low confidence, maybe feel deep down that you are "not good enough", whilst having no conscious awareness of how these hidden, core beliefs might be impacting on you. My job is to help you become aware of the ways in which you might be sabotaging your own happiness. 


Emotions

Your emotions are there to help you manage life by assisting in decision making. Sometimes something goes wrong - we have a bad experience, or a series of bad experiences and we can get stuck with particular emotions, and associated thought patterns and behaviours. 



Clarity

I offer the opportunity for you to be able to talk frankly about your situation and the issues that you bring. I will listen without judgment and provide feedback which helps you to clarify your own thoughts and feelings. This may help you to move forward in life with greater acceptance and understanding of yourself and others.


The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
William James

Literally "changing our minds"

It is understood that we can get hooked on negative emotional states and/or thought patterns. Much as we consciously may not want to experience them, our bodies are used to receiving the chemicals associated with those states which can be very addictive. Moreover, our brain cells can end up wired, through genetics and experience, to think and feel a certain way. Modern neuroscience is now proving what psychotherapists and counsellors have known for a long time. Change is possible.  You can learn to recognise and interrupt a stream of thought and try a new way of being.  With rehearsal you can rewire your thought patterns and behave in newer, more adaptive ways.

Work-life balance

Perhaps you might be very successful in your career but feel unfulfilled in other areas of your life. I offer the space for you to help get back in touch with what you might have put to one side in focusing on your career. A good if somewhat frank starting point is this wonderful article on the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware.

Sex/Sexuality/Gender

We don't all fit into the societal construct of "normal" (whatever that is). I have worked with many people who want to explore whether they are living in accordance with their true sense of self, whether that be sexuality/asexuality/sexual fluidity, gender identity (e.g. trans/non binary), monogamy vs polyamory, kink etc. It helps to know that your therapist is truly non-judgmental and able to suspend their own assumptions and preferences/identities to help you explore your own. 

Dealing with trauma and loss

Talking about your experiences in the right environment can help your mind to process negative experiences. You may have subconsiously put the experience “on hold” until you are in a position to deal with it. Counselling can help us to access previous traumas or negative experiences safely and assist in enabling us to move to a place of acceptance, relegating the event to the past.

A word on trauma work

There is little training and in my opinion, inadequate training on basic therapy courses for working with trauma. This is an area of therapy that must be handled competently and sensitively. If you are looking for a therapist and wish to work on trauma issues (e.g. chronic emotional neglect, childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault) please ensure that your therapist has had some training in this area and understands the risks of retraumatisation and "flooding" as well as the importance of applying brakes during therapy.  

I was invited to write and article for online magazine The Counsellors cafe and decided to write about my concerns about trauma work. This article was published on 10th March 2017. 




Inspired by:


Candace Pert - Molecules of Emotion
Joe Dispenza - Evolve your Brain
Antonio Damasio - The Feeling of What Happens
Babette Rothschild - The Body Remembers




Amanda Williamson Counselling Service in Exeter, Devon. BACP Registered and Accredited Counsellor.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in the case of therapists lifting content directly from other therapists' websites I reckon that this is not good for our clients and does not reflect well on either ourselves as practitioners with integrity nor the profession as a whole. We all take inspiration from other professionals but please at least change some of the words and sentences around. I am proud of the content of my website which has been carefully constructed over many years of practice and have been concerned to see some of my site lifted almost word for word on other therapist sites. 

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