with Matthew Elton, DPhil, PG Dip (TA Counselling), BACP Registered
If I work with you as a counsellor our key focus will be your current situation and exploring how you can make positive changes and overcome difficulties. Each person has different needs and goals, and a different personality.
My first aim is to understand and appreciate you for who you are. Then I can help you tackle problems in a way that is right for you. This can involve simply talking through issues and coming to understand yourself and others better. It can also involve taking decisions to live your life in a different way.
Sometimes this work can be uncomfortable. I may suggest you experiment with thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that may be unfamiliar and even scary. And, at the same time, counselling can be fun, exciting, and deeply rewarding.
Psychotherapy builds on the work done in counselling. It typically takes place over a longer period and involves a deeper examination of who you are.
If I work with you as a psychotherapist then we will look at the repeating patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviour that limit your potential. Normally this will involve examining your past. We may look, for example, at experiences and relationships from your childhood.
Psychotherapy draws on the belief that relationships and experiences in early life often have a continuing impact when we are older. By becoming more aware of the way in which our past has shaped our present, we create the space and opportunity to change.
Some aspects of the psychotherapy process will be hard work, requiring a strong commitment to change. But, as with counselling, the process will often be stimulating and enjoyable. The overall result can be long-term and profound changes to how you understand yourself and how you live your life.
What about self-help?
There are hundreds of self-help books and websites and some of them are very good. If you find a resource that appeals to you and if you really commit to following through on the structured advice offered, then you may have no need of external help. If a self-help resource is not working for you, it may be because it is poor or it may be that it is just too challenging to do this work on your own, without a guide and a support.
Change work requires disrupting your historical patterns. And I think it also requires that you start to spot and name patterns or ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that, previously, were either not obvious to you or even entirely invisible. This need for the disruption of old habits and acquisition of new ways of seeing yourself and the world are common to lots of learning, whether that is learning to play a musical instrument, master a new language, or find new ways of dealing with stress and anxiety.
A teacher – or in the psychological case – a counsellor or therapist – can really help with this aspect of the change work. That’s because an experienced person can help spot the things that you, at this stage in your learning process, can all too easily miss. And of course a teacher – or a counsellor – can also give support and encouragement along the way. (Video clip)
To inquire about availability or ask any other questions please use my online form.