What is Counselling?

Counselling is a specialised type of interpersonal relationship that enables clients contending with a variety of emotional problems to explore what they're going through in a safely contained and supporting environment. It is a helping relationship predicated on a qualified practitioner assuming a facilitative role in assisting clients in their psychological growth, maturity and development.


Counselling relationships feature a conglomeration of relational qualities evidenced to be growth-promoting. These therapeutic conditions are conducive to clients exploring and talking about their experience in a way that is uncontaminated by judgement or evaluation. As a result of the provision of these conditions, particularly the therapists attentive understanding and unconditional acceptance, clients can safely approach their emotional distress at a pace that suits them.


The client is prized in their totality and thereby empowered to reconnect with their authentic thoughts, feelings and emotions. Clients can disentangle, reevaluate and discover their experience anew and, with the help of the counsellor, find a sense of clarity about themselves and their situations. The counsellor will sit alongside their client in helping them to find out want they want to get from their life; what honestly communicates their true self. This therapeutic process allows clients to retrieve their heretofore buried strengths, and move forward in a way that's true to them.


The counselling dynamic contains boundaries of vital importance. These professional boundaries provide security and safety for both the client and the practitioner. A therapeutic hour, for example, typically fifty-minutes in duration, is maintained in the interests of both continuity and consistency. The value of confidentiality is crucial to containing sensitive information and promoting a climate of trust. 



What can I expect from you in a counselling session?


I will endeavour to cultivate a therapeutic space epitomised by the qualities of trust, safety, warmth, and unconditional respect. I will not be dispensing advice, nor give you directions, but caringly work alongside you as a sensitive and empathic companion. My efforts will focus on working with you in a way that's free from any semblance of judgmentalism or expectation.


This non-directive approach creates a therapeutic space where we can work together on acquiring a better understanding of what's happening for you. My role as a person-centred counsellor will be to support you in utilising your therapy in a manner that resonates with you and your individual needs. In this sense, you are free to talk about and explore your inner world at your discretion.


By being alongside you, allowing you to give shape, form, and substance to what you're feeling--in addition to discerning what you want to get from your life now--you will be able to move forward in new and creative ways. These evolvements can include learning more about yourself as a person and experimenting with various strategies to help you better deal with whatever difficulties you're facing.


After amassing experience working with children, adolescents and adults in a voluntary and private practice counselling setting, I sincerely believe that the relational components that constitute the classical person-centred approach are effective in healing emotional wounds and promoting growth. I will do my utmost to facilitate and maintain these therapeutic conditions so that I may be of the most excellent assistance to you on your counselling journey.

My Approach to Counselling & Psychotherapy

As counselling is practised and conceptualised in a variety of different ways, it's essential you're abreast with information about what distinguishes my approach from disparate counselling methodologies. Information about my therapeutic approach is critical in making an informed choice about whether or not my therapeutic practice is right for you.


The person-centred approach, formulated by the late psychologist Carl Rogers, revolutionised the field of psychotherapy. Rogers recognised that it is the client who knows what's best. The authority previously situated in the hands of the practitioner was to become decentralised and made for a more equalitarian therapeutic dynamic between client and counsellor. Indeed, this groundbreaking discovery set the stage for uplifting the therapeutic procedure.


After years of clinical experience and meticulous research about the therapeutic process, explicitly concerning what makes therapy such an efficacious means of mobilising healing, Rogers discerned that it was the client's underappreciated capacity for self-direction that proved a potent force for constructive personality change. Rogers began to appreciate this inherent forward-moving tendency as the nexus for healing and its power to be released when the practitioner possessed and related to his clients with a particular operational philosophy. 


The therapeutic relationship henceforth rested on what's come to be known as the core conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. Attitudes sincerely held and emitted by the practitioner allow the client to explore aspects of themselves and their experience in a manner that they may be unaccustomed. The absence of threat permits clients to venture into emotional territory hitherto cordoned off by defences. Clients can come to perceive themselves differently and accrue crucial insight into their individual experiences and their situation. These conditions will galvanise the client's actualising resources toward living more wholeheartedly and authentically. 



© 2020 by Dominic Hamilton-Leathart, BA MA MBACP