If you’re ready to start feeling better and move on to doing those things you really want to do (but just can’t see how) then this is the service for you. I work one-to-one with clients just like you to:-

  • Overcome stress and anxiety.
  • Lift depression.
  • Raise confidence and self-esteem.
  • Deal with addictions.
  • Carry on after a bereavement or loss.
  • Rebuild your life after trauma or abuse.
  • Resolve relationship problems.

 

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Jump to a section or read on to find out more about how we could work together.

“Kirsty made observations and had thoughts I hadn’t even considered – this gave me a different outlook on the situation which helped with my thought process. You might think that keeping it all inside is the best way to go, but there’s no harm in trying to talk about it, you’ll feel a sense of relief.”

Female client, Student, Cardiff

What you’ll get from counselling

Here’s what you can expect from my service:-

  • Someone to turn to (who’s been there and knows what it’s like).
  • Space to relieve the pressure of dealing with everything alone.
  • Someone to listen to YOU. Who’ll accept you, not judge you and meet your need to be heard (in guaranteed confidence).
  • An understanding of how your thoughts, feelings and actions are connected.
  • New perspectives to free you up from the thoughts holding you back.
  • Clarity on your priorities – the things that matter to you.
  • Proven techniques to help you engage with your emotions in a way that serves you.
  • Uncovering strengths and strategies to help you deal with what’s difficult.
  • Flexible appointments to fit around you (including online counselling).

How you could feel:-

  • Greater clarity and confidence in how you handle your thoughts, feelings and situations.
  • Higher self-esteem and greater self-care.
  • Optimistic for the future.
  • Able to relax – switch off at the end of the day and sleep better.
  • Back in control – happier, calmer and with peace of mind.
  • More energy for the things you want to do in life.
  • More satisfaction from life and your relationships.
  • Greater closeness to the people around you.
  • Increased resilience to deal with the tough things that happen.
  • Better awareness and understanding of yourself.

Plus – The benefit to your friends and loved one’s, just from being around the ‘new you’.
 

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I was apprehensive about where the counselling may lead, but I experienced an authentic, non judging relationship and was able to express emotion without being ‘distracted’ away from it. Having someone challenge some of my assumptions and beliefs really helped.

Vicki, Cardiff

HOW IT WORKS

Your counselling will be as different and unique as you. As a general outline, counselling with me can be:-

1) A space to talk about things that are causing you problems and help you safely release your emotions. It can be powerful to hear yourself say out loud the thoughts that usually stay in your head.

2) Help to understand how seemingly unrelated events, thoughts and feelings are actually related. Helping you understand yourself better and finding out where some of the difficult stuff might be coming from.

3) Finding ways to deal with it. We’ll focus on your priorities (the things you want to change) and uncover strengths to help you move forward in a way that’s right for you. I know the counselling process and how people change but you know yourself best, so our work will be the direct result of us both.

All counsellors work differently, so read on for an idea of my style so you can decide if I’m right for you.

What Counselling is

One-to-one sessions where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind.
You get to set the agenda without having to worry about offending or troubling me. Even with good relationships, it can be hard to talk to family and friends as you may not want to worry them. Talking to someone not personally involved can help you be more honest and talk freely. And if you’re not clear on what the problem is we can use the session to help you find out.

A place where you can focus.
Counselling is unique and very different to a conversation. When talking to family or friends the conversation (usually) goes back and forth with both people giving their opinion and sharing experiences. In conversations the subject can shift rapidly – you start off talking about one thing and end up talking about another! In counselling the focus is on what you want to talk about and clients find this allows them to go deeper than they’d normally do.
If you find this a bit intimidating – please don’t worry. See ‘I find talking about myself really difficult’ in the Q&A section below.

A way to understand and handle your thoughts, emotions and the things you do.
In a session we’ll look at what’s troubling you in detail – I might ask you to recall the thoughts, feelings and how you responded to certain situations. We’ll look for patterns and how events are connected. We may look at times this happened in the past for greater understanding of the present – but we’ll always link it back to where you are now so we’re not ‘dredging up’ past events with no purpose.

A place where you’re in control
You get to choose the frequency of sessions, what we talk about and how quickly (or slowly) we go. I’ll always check in with you during the sessions to see how this is feeling and we’ll always go at your pace. I practice from a position of safety – there’s no point rushing the work if it leaves you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Similarly, if you feel it isn’t moving fast enough we can look at what might be blocking you and ways to move forward.

What Counselling Isn’t…

A question and answer session.
When you go to appointments with your doctor there’s a standard ‘check-list’ format. Counselling isn’t like that because there’s no ‘check list’ to follow. In the first session I’m likely to ask you to say a bit about your current situation and what’s bringing you to counselling now. I might ask some open-ended questions but I’ll mostly be giving you space to think and helping you talk. Don’t worry – you can’t get this wrong because there are no wrong answers.

A place where you’ll get no feedback.
Some forms of counselling (and some counsellors) give minimal responses and this works for clients who simply want a space to think. My counselling style is different from this. In the sessions where you need to ‘off load’ or think something over I’ll give you plenty of space to do this but my approach is active and if I see you struggling with not knowing what to say, or feeling stuck or confused, I’ll check out with you how I can help – whether this is through open-ended questions, linking back our conversation with previous things we’ve talked about or by bringing in a bit of counselling theory to see if it helps. I find this can progress the work and gives you fresh perspectives to consider.

Me telling you what to do.
Counselling is team work – that means you and I working together to come up with the best solution for you. I might know about counselling and what’s worked for other client’s but you’re the expert on you. The best counsellor in the world can’t make your decisions for you; I can help you in the decision making process but you’re one the one who ultimately chooses what’s right for you. This approach can be difficult in the beginning but pays off long-term as it helps you improve your decision making skills so when you leave counselling you’ll be better set (and more confident) to deal with choices in the future.

If you’d like more info on my counselling style click here.
 

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“Patience is needed. The NHS and charities offer six-session bookings. This is not enough. Some results were immediate but the most significant results were after months of counselling – seeing through my improvements from the immediate results to testing (and proving) their effectiveness in other situations.”

Christian, Cardiff

Is counselling right for me?

Counselling’s for you if:-

  • You’re 16 and over and have a problem or concern you want to talk about.
  • You’re unhappy with the place you’re in right now, feeling ‘there must be more to life than this’ and you’re willing to look into what that might be.
  • You’re ready to put yourself first and invest in you. Not sure? Read I’m not sure about investing in myself
  • You understand that talking about things might be difficult but you’re willing to bear with the short-term discomfort for the longer term gain.
  • You have thoughts or behaviours you want to change and are prepared to invest the time and effort into changing them.

Counselling isn’t for you if:-

  • You’re looking for a quick easy ‘fix’ – some clients may only need one session but in that session we could be talking about some difficult stuff and for longer-term, or more complicated problems, effort is essential. Unfortunately, counselling isn’t a magic wand.
  • You can’t bear the thought of talking to someone about your problem. If that’s the case, some form of self-help might be more suited to you right now.
  • You’re not in a place where you can commit to counselling at the moment – most clients find they need some degree of stability in their lives (as well as the time) for counselling to be effective.
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Q&A's

I’m not sure about investing in myself – am I being selfish?

No! Your life is worth the investment as much as anybody else’s. I know you’ve heard this before but we can’t help others unless we help ourselves. Think of the oxygen masks on a plane – you have to put yours on first. I have personal experience of this worry and what I noticed in my own counselling was the more ‘work’ I did on myself and my own needs, the greater my capacity to be there for others without feeling burnt out and drained. Maybe it’s time you did something just for you.

What if talking about my problems makes them worse – can counselling really make a difference?

I understand how hard it is to talk about difficult things. But if you have a problem, you’ve tried the ‘I’ll let it sort itself out’ approach and your still struggling? Then I’d say that approach isn’t working. I can help you deal with the emotions that come up as we talk and share techniques and practices you can use outside counselling. And as a previous client said: “Be prepared for it to be hard and to take time but change is possible. If you want to live a happy life then even when things get tough it’s worth the struggle”.

Shouldn’t I just get on with it – everyone else does?
Sometimes the ‘just getting on with it’ approach works for some things. But this is a old-style way of dealing with problems and now we have a much greater understanding of ourselves and our needs than we did back then. And just getting on with it can mean problems mount up. Today you have a choice and if you’ve been ‘sweeping it under the carpet’ and it’s still troubling you? Maybe it’s time to be brave and do something different.

Does it mean there’s something wrong with me?
No. It means there’s something right with you because you know something’s wrong and you want to do something about it. Unfortunately, counselling still has a stigma attached but this is changing and rightly so. Deciding to go for counselling and making the decision to change something is a bold course of action and can help you uncover your own personal power.

Can I trust you?
Not immediately. You can trust that I’m a qualified and accredited counsellor but trust between people takes time to build. I wouldn’t recommend anyone trust someone without knowing them. And if you’re feeling mistrustful that’s fine, we’ll always work at your pace and allow plenty of time for us to get to know each other so you can decide if you trust me or not.

I find talking about myself really difficult.
This can be hard in counselling but doesn’t have to be a barrier to our work. I’m trained and experienced in helping people talk. Often we don’t want to speak for fear of being judged or feeling guilty or ashamed. If this is worrying you I’ll do everything I can to help ease those feelings and show you I’m a real person too.

What will my friends and family think?
I respect the right to privacy and encourage my clients to protect their own privacy where needed too. If you want to tell family and friends to gain their support (but prevent them from worrying) letting someone know you’re in counselling might reveal you have a problem or difficulty but also shows you’re dealing with it. Often our family and friends just want to know we’ll be okay and might be quite releaved that you’re seeking help.

What if I become dependent on counselling?
My aim is always to help you work towards being ‘your own counsellor’. Within that process there might be times when you rely on support – this just makes you human. It can be difficult to accept help (often if we’re always helping others) but that can put us out of balance. My counselling is designed to empower you – yes you may be going through a hard time but I’ll help you strengthen the ‘adult’ part of you that we all have but can become weakened through difficult events.

What if nothing changes?
Most people find going to counselling gives them something – a different perspective, release from difficult feelings or new ways of doing things. However there’s no guarantee it will work for you. If this is something you’re concerned about I offer a free, 30 minute consultation session which can help you make up your mind. See my Contact & Fees page for more information.