In counselling I offer a private and confidential space where you can talk things through and work things out. Together, we’ll untangle all the elements of what’s going on for you and plan how best to deal with each strand.
Perhaps you are trying to come to terms with an unexpected event that has left you reeling? Or maybe you are struggling with a longer term issue, such as anxiety, depression or grief? Whatever it is, I can help you plan for and experience a better future.
“I felt really at ease in my sessions and also that Gerry was both completely supportive and had a real understanding of my issues.” Jane, 29
How would I describe my model of counselling?
I describe myself as an Integrative Counsellor, which means that I draw on aspects of theory from different models of therapy.
- From humanistic theory, I offer conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard alongside a trust in my client’s capacity for self-reliance, change and enhancement.
- From CBT, the “two heads are better than one” approach and the collaborative nature of the “client and therapist rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the work”, fits well with my personal philosophy of therapy being a game-changing, empowering, learning process.
- From existentialism I’m mindful of Spinelli’s denial of separateness through his descriptor that “everything we ‘are’ is only as experiential though our contextual relationships with others”. I am reminded of this constantly in the therapy room and feel it is hugely important to acknowledge my clients close relationships and the impact their therapy may be having on them as a whole.
“My son is so very fond of you and I just wanted to first and foremost thank you for what you have done for him/us. You have been so wonderful. Thank God for people like you! ” Parent of Jack, 15
What’s it like in a session with me?
My personal approach is one of sincerity, honesty and genuineness, delivered with a belief that if you and I learn to trust each other and the process, therapeutic change will take place.
During our early sessions I will listen to and observe you to establish if you are led by your feelings, thoughts or behaviours, primarily. As we progress I adjust my practice to suit your personal communication style and improve your therapy experience overall.
If you are an “action orientated’ person or someone who likes to ‘problem solve’ I may introduce some elements of CBT, such as goal setting or homework tasks pertinent to your issue. This can give a sense of moving ‘forward’ or ‘achieving’ in a practical sense, not just ‘sitting talking’.
If you are a more reflective person, I will explore and identify the inner emotional changes or thought patterns you are seeking to change. I will encourage you to document the ‘evidence’ of your small successes, to call upon when facing future life challenges. Many clients choose to do this through creative means such as drawing, journaling, writing poems or songs.
For some clients, simply meeting me in a private, safe place, to unload, is ‘enough’. I work in a collaborative way with my clients, with ideas coming from both sides for exploration and adopted or discarded as agreed.
“This was my first experience of counselling and fortunately I spotted that I needed to talk things through. When I look back to the beginning of counselling I see a person I don’t recognise doing things untypical of me. It [counselling] took time and effort and sometimes I doubted that I was making progress, but now ‘the past is in the past’ and I can move forward more confident in living my life more effectively.” Will, 39
My work with children and young people.
Lapworth, Sills and Fish (2001) say that: for clients, merely spending time with a person who is completely genuine, unaffected and as true to themselves as they can be offers a ‘model’ for the client in accepting themselves.
I see this congruent modelling as a really important part of my work with young people and feel that it facilitates the dissipation of the power imbalance that exists in an adult/child relationship, helping me to really connect with my client.
…However, I do maintain an awareness throughout therapy of the power balance in the relationship (both perceived and actual), particularly as my young clients often present with issues of anger, low self worth and esteem having experienced struggles with power and authority in other relationships, such as with parents, teachers or peers.
How I engage my younger clients.
- I let my younger clients know that their session time is a safe, confidential, space where they can explore any feelings and behaviours free from censorship.
- I take the time to build a trusting relationship and to really get to know them.
- I work at their level, mirroring and matching their pace and speech, checking and confirming meanings, helping them to tell their story: aided by my own careful and appropriate use of self-disclosure and kind, gentle humour.