Counselling Brighton FAQ

How does counselling help?

Counselling is about creating a safe place where you can explore without fear problems that have arisen in your life. By building a relationship based on respect, acceptance, trust and empathy with a counsellor it becomes possible to understand how and where your difficulties have arisen. Counselling will help you face, confront your difficulties, acknowledge them, manage them better and so move on to live a more liberated life. This has been my experience both as client and as counsellor.


Is it not just like talking to a good friend the only difference is that you pay for it?

A good friend can listen with an interested ear, which is the first important step. Sometimes this is not enough. We often need help to look at ourselves with an objective eye in order to see what is happening in our lives. A counsellor can offer this kind of help. A counsellor is a skilled listener bound by the ethic of confidentiality who provides a safe place to explore and so come to an understanding of personal anxieties that are causing pain. There may not be any obvious reason for the problem; the source of the pain may be deeply hidden. The experiences of life may have been so difficult, painful and confusing and undermining of personal intuition and trust in our own instincts that the capacity to find our ‘inner doctor’ may have been temporarily lost. A skilled counsellor will help regain that lost part of the self, to rediscover the strength, that we once had but lost, to live a more liberated life. A counsellor will help to find our inner counsellor, to regain confidence and a sense of self worth.


So you feel that it may be too much to expect a friend to work out really deeply hidden difficulties?

Some friendships do have a profound level of trust and respect and a mutual capacity to listen. It is however doubtful that a friend will have the necessary objectivity, or psychological insight to provide the required level of safety for discovering the cause and working through of deeply rooted problems. A good counsellor will provide these conditions.


Should couples consult a special type of counsellor?

Yes. It is generally better to see a counsellor who has been trained in couple counselling. The main focus of the work is on the relationship and what each wants from the other. Whether the problem has to do with sex, money, power, or boredom the first step is to find a way to communicate. My role as counsellor is to help the couple explore the pattern of behaviour in their relationship and facilitate communication with each other and within themselves. Frequently, I find that people are unaware of their reactions and the impact that these have on their partner. They are often shocked when they discover they have been treating the other with anger, contempt or hatred. Self-protective reactions, which may have been learned in childhood, continue inappropriately into adult life. Acknowledging these reactions is the first important step in understanding and managing them In my experience this work helps the couple to find a way to be more open and trusting of each other and so develop their relationship. While this process can lead to a productive, happy relationship it can also lead to discovering that separation is necessary. Counselling will help to accept this painful decision and provide support while working through the complex problems.. Counselling can help couples with: Loss of trust Sexual difficulties Fear of intimacy, Anger, Violence, Issues of power and control, Boredom, Infidelity, Loss of interest


Many more people seem to need the support of counsellors today. Why is this?

It has become more acceptable to disclose that we are in distress and to seek the assistance of a professional to help us work through our difficulties. It is also true that we live in more complex times. We live in a culture, which is very mixed, where nothing is expected to last. In this climate of change and fluctuating value systems many find it difficult to sustain relationships, to make sense of complex conflicting feelings. Our open, loosely structured style of living can be very exciting but also undermining of our psyche.


There seems to be so many different styles of counselling on offer, how does anyone decide?

It can be difficult to decide, there seems to be a bewildering number of techniques on offer. Research tells us that the counselling method used is less important than the quality of the relationship between counsellor and client. I have found that when there is a good working relationship between my client and myself, based on acceptance, respect, trust, empathy and understanding, therapy is likely to take place. I have found that when people are helped to observe the pattern of their behaviour, find the source of their difficulty, acknowledge and accept it they learn to manage it. This usually means that they regain confidence and can get on with their lives. This seems to apply whether the method is intended for long or short-term work.


How long does it take?

In my experience the length of time varies considerably dependent upon the nature of the problem and what the client is seeking to achieve. Frequently a few sessions are sufficient to resolve the difficulties though it can take considerably longer when the problems are deep rooted. This may involve exploring childhood relationships and general experiences in order to make sense of what is happening in today’s life.