Approach Systemic, narrative.
Description of what this approach means, and what it is like to experience
This approach means that clients are seen as part of a whole system (eg a family, or wider community). Concerns are discussed in a wider context, rather than being located in the individual. The narrative approach is a way of working through the accepted view of ‘how things are’, where clients find new ways of looking at, and thinking about, events and people.
I begin by making sure I understand what you would like out of counselling. This helps us think about what you need to explore further, and how I can be of help. Our first session is exploratory. At the end of it we talk about what was helpful, and whether we can continue working together. With your agreement and after discussion, you may want to invite someone else to join us, or you may want to continue being seen as you started.
I offer short term work, which may involve as few as five or six sessions. Long term work may mean meeting for six months, or a year or more. What is important is that you decide what is helpful to you, and when you want to stop. At the end of any session we will spend a short time talking about how it was helpful, and what else you would like out of counselling.
Most of the time is spent in talking together. If it feels right, I may invite you to do some drawings (this does not mean you have to be an artist!), or use metaphors to discuss problems. I try to be quite visual, and find that writing things up often helps clarify issues. With children besides talking, I use lots of play materials, toys, and drawing. Sometimes I find that some humour helps, which can both lighten pressures, as well as help you cope differently with things that have been very burdensome.
The kind of person who benefits most from my approach could be described as…
Someone who wants to reflect, and find new ways of thinking about themselves; Families or couples finding that patterns keep getting repeated, and wanting to find something that is more helpful.
What to expect at the first session/assessment
I would like to discuss with new clients some practical issues: e.g. fees, confidentiality, medication. I would spend most of the time on getting to know you, by having a conversation about what you would like from counselling, how it may help you and others who are close, and trying to gain an understanding of the important parts of your world.