Hello and welcome. Thank you for visiting my Hertfordshire counselling and psychotherapy site.
We have all lived through rocky times, especially over the last two years and I know that for some people it has been more challenging and anxiety provoking than anything they have ever faced before. Maybe you yourself have been affected personally by bereavement or other losses, or face big life decisions which you didn't expect to have to make yet, if at all. Finding a new normal when nobody has a blue-print of how to do it means rethinking a lot of what we have taken for granted and that can be difficult. I do believe though that humans are infinitely adaptable and can survive and thrive. Sometimes a little help can help along the way.
People who come for counselling or psychotherapy sometimes describe themselves in lots of different ways - overwhelmed, stressed, down, on the edge, angry, confused, maybe all of the above or none because it's too difficult to say. If anything you have read so far describes you at this moment, I might be able to help because counselling and psychotherapy offer space to work it out.
At the moment you may feel alone with nobody to turn to. Maybe you don't want to burden family or friends or maybe they seem like part of the problem or they have their own problems too. Perhaps what you are going through seems trivial or unimportant and you feel ashamed or guilty that you shouldn't feel the way you do. Although there are no guarantees, you might find that talking it through with someone who can listen deeply through counselling or psychotherapy can be the start of getting back to yourself. You might even find that what you have gone through has changed you in a way you never thought possible.
Many people have never been to a counsellor or psychotherapist before so I understand you might be unsure of what counselling and psychotherapy can offer. That's normal with anything new and finding the right counsellor or psychotherapist can seem daunting. I get that. It takes courage to make the initial enquiry but when we meet in the first session we can discuss your expectations and hopefully answer any questions you might have.
People who come for counselling or psychotherapy sometimes describe themselves in lots of different ways - overwhelmed, stressed, down, on the edge, angry, confused, maybe all of the above or none because it's too difficult to say. If anything you have read so far describes you at this moment, counselling and psychotherapy offer space to work it out.
Counselling and psychotherapy broadly mean the same thing - a chance to explore your problems in the company of a fellow human being - in this case a trained professional counsellor and psychotherapist who can help you to understand and manage emotional difficulties like stress, anger, depression or loss of confidence. Counselling and psychotherapy can also help with problems which are harder to define, such as a general feeling of dissatisfaction or unease with life, family or work.
Like I said earlier, there are no guarantees but either counselling or psychotherapy can help you rethink your world and bring about changes so you can live a more contented life. In the first session we would talk through the difference and identify what would meet your needs best.
People come to me for help a wide range of issues. Here are a few of the more common difficulties that can be supported through counselling:
Bullying (face-to-face and on-line)
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP)
"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks" - Jack Penn
How will I know if counselling or psychotherapy will help?
After one session you might feel better because sharing a burden can be therapeutic in itself. However the process can also bring up uncomfortable memories, emotions or realisations which you perhaps never thought of before. These insights are really important and when you are ready to do so, we would try to make sense of them.
You may find that the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy can build up over even a short space of time or might take longer. It's difficult to predict because everyone is different and there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way of being in counselling or psychotherapy, or in fact in life. That discovery, of finding your own truth, is what makes it such a creative and meaningful experience for many people who come.
My counselling and psychotherapy practice is 'integrative'.
In the way I work, this means that the worries you bring to sessions are not only important in themselves, but might also be connected to other parts of your life or events that have happened in the past. You might have a sense that this is the case, and I can help you find the 'ah-ha' moment when something falls into place.
For example, at first you may want to talk through something which is happening or has happened recently. This may lead you to wider questions - your values, your goals, your self-image, your family, your health - all sorts of related avenues. Together we could explore how to understand these different aspects of who you are and have some support while you work out where to go next.
The other key to the way I work is my belief that that we all have inner qualities which we lose sight of through the damaging experiences we have had during our lives to date. Although it may not seem so at the beginning, in the right environment it can be possible to re-discover yourself and your resources so you can use them in future when life gets tough again.
Eventually you may decide to make small or big shifts in your life as a result of what you learn and practise in our sessions. When you start by looking at what is not working for you in the company of the right counsellor or psychotherapist, you can get an idea about what needs to change and how to go about it.
I understand that there will be times when it will be hard or even impossible to talk. When that happens, there are some gentle, different ways of exploring thoughts and feelings which we can use. Above all though, I aim to respect you as an individual in what you chose to share during sessions.
It is my routine practice that we negotiate and agree a written contract at the start of our work together which explains the commitment and expectations both of us make. We would review our work together periodically to ensure if fulfills your needs and if not to explore other options which might be more useful. Confidentiality is a core component of the work of any counsellor or psychotherapist, and I am fully signed up to the principles of Data Protection.
I currently offer evening appointments from my counselling and psychotherapy practice in Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, within easy reach of Watford, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and the surrounding areas. I can also offer Saturday mornings.
My fees are £35 (students/low-income) and otherwise £45. Sessions I offer last a full hour, although the first session can be a little longer as we discuss and agree how we could work in future. I am open to being flexible to fit around your family or work commitments and I offer evening and Saturday morning sessions. Counselling or psychotherapy is usually weekly and at the same time where possible. A routine can help build stability when we are feeling anything but.
I am registered by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP Code of Ethics), accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and professionally insured.
In the first session we would talk over what your doctor's diagnosis means to your life and what your personal hopes would be in coming to counselling. Sessions are confidential so I do not as a matter of course tell your doctor or anyone else what we discuss (there are a couple of exceptions to this rule which we would agree in our initial meeting). People often take medication while attending counselling or psychotherapy so one does not exclude the other.
After one session you might feel better because sharing a burden can be therapeutic in itself. However the process can also bring up uncomfortable memories, emotions or realisations which you perhaps never thought of before. These insights are really important and when you are ready to do so, we would try to make sense of them. You may find that the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy can build up over even a short space of time or might take longer. It's difficult to predict because everyone is different and there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way of being in counselling or psychotherapy, or in fact in life. That discovery, of finding your own truth, is what makes it such a creative and meaningful experience for many people who come.
There are a few facts I would need to make notes of, but mainly we would explore together what you want and how you think counselling or psychotherapy could help you. We would discuss and agree the terms of our contract and a confidentiality agreement. It is vital that you find the right counsellor for you, so if having talked it through and an alternative approach might suit you better, I can perhaps suggest other routes to getting what you need.
Although I do not give advice I will listen to how your problems affect your life and your emotional well-being and then help you to look at things differently. Once you take the time and space to consider situations more clearly you might discover ways of making your own choices, and this can lead to increasing your self-confidence and a sense of control in your life.
In counselling we focus on specific issues like bereavement, redundancy, relationships or decisions you have to make, or simply to see if counselling could be helpful for you at this point in your life if you have not had counselling before. It is an opportunity for you to talk over a specific problem which is on your mind with a neutral person in a confidential setting.
Psychotherapy tends to be more in-depth, looking for example at repeated patterns from the past which you maybe feel trapped by and which are causing you distress, unhappiness or discontent.
Counsellors and psychotherapists have different 'approaches' to their work, depending on their personality and how they trained.
What you bring into a session might be very private and precious so it is important to find someone you trust, who works ethically and with whom you can be comfortable.
£45 per session, lasting 60 minutes generally at the same time every week. The first session can be longer, up to 90 minutes. I reserve some spaces at £35 for students and anyone on a low wage or benefits.
When we speak on the phone for the first time or by e-mail and agree to meet I will give you exact directions from Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. My practice is directly accessible by bus or train from Watford and Hemel Hempstead and parking is free on the road outside.