Counselling and psychotherapy are generally known as 'talking therapies'. The basic idea is that it's good to talk - talking to a trained skilled listener about your problems, your thoughts and your feelings, helps. Keeping it all together, holding everything inside and expressing nothing, doesn't help and tends to compound the problems and make them worse.

It's not easy to find someone who will listen to you without judging and without offering advice, but this is what you will experience when you come into counselling with me. It may feel very strange to begin with, especially if you are not used to talking about your feelings and being listened to.

People often think that a counsellor will tell them what to do about their problems. What I will do is to encourage you to think more deeply about what you are struggling with, look at it from different perspectives, become aware of things you may not have noticed or thought important, and discover feelings you were not even aware of, buried underneath the surface issues.

Working through your feelings and thoughts together like this is what is called the 'counselling process'. It is not a treatment, not a panacea and not a miracle cure. It is not something that is done to you to make you better. It is work that you do together - it's a collaboration between you and your therapist. At times it can be difficult, frustrating and incredibly painful. But if you stick with it, you will come out the other side in a better place. That's the hope and the intention of counselling. Of course there are no guarantees, and counselling is not for everyone. But many people find it life-changing.