A therapy session is a time set aside on an agreed date at an agreed place, which provides a 'safe' space, which is private, undisturbed, and cannot be overheard or interrupted.
BACP information sheet C2, 2013
Above all, in the counselling session I aim to create an environment where you feel heard and understood, free from fear and judgment, where you feel accepted for who you are, just as you are.
Sessions take place in my home, and last about an hour. Just to reassure you (because this is something that people have sometimes seen in films), you won't have to lie on a couch, and I've put one or two photos up here so that you can see what counselling, or therapy, looks like - almost like two friends having a chat.
But whereas, when two friends have a chat, they might take turns to share their worries, their news or their problems, in your counselling session I will mostly be listening to you. This in itself can be very healing: to have someone else bear witness to the heavy load you are carrying can sometimes seem to lighten the load.
It had been an enormous relief to tell another person about his experiences, without being laughed at or rejected.
Counselling for Toads, by Robert de Board, 1997
As well as listening attentively, I will be trying to gain a real understanding of how you experience the world, checking out with you whether I have really 'got' what you are saying. Again, it can bring a huge sense of relief just to have that feeling of 'at last, someone understands me.'
Above all, I strive to offer non-judgmental warmth or acceptance - that you, like me, like everyone else, are a worthwhile person in your own right, doing the best you can in the circumstances you find yourself in. I won't give you advice or tell you what you should or shouldn't do. What I aim to offer you is a safe space where you can work out for yourself what is important to you, what changes you want to make in your life, or what goals you want to work towards.
Non-directive counselling is based on the assumption that the client has the right to select his own life goals, even though these might be at variance with the goals that the counselor might choose for him.
Carl Rogers, 1942
Sometimes life brings us great joy, and sometimes we can feel overwhelmed just by the challenge of being human and living in the twenty-first century. I have a strong belief in the human capacity to survive and overcome adversity, and I also know that sometimes, even the strongest people can feel overwhelmed by the events in their lives, or by feelings that they don't understand - none of us is immune. Even when we have supportive and loving families and friends who care about us, we can find it helpful to talk to someone who isn't closely involved with us.
Counselling sessions will mostly be taken up with you talking and me listening, but I may sometimes suggest an activity (such as drawing or writing) if it seems like it might be helpful to you. This is something that I will always explore and discuss with you beforehand.