Do you have an issue to talk through and need someone who can really listen? Is there something which you need to express but nowhere you can say it? I’m a psychologist in London and I offer counselling to people who are looking for someone to be with them as they explore and overcome difficult issues.
There are times in everyone’s life when we are faced with issues which seem too big to get around or over. We don’t want to hand those issues over to someone else and be told what to do. We know that we can overcome the obstacles eventually. We just need the time and space to talk through the issues, and a listener to talk through the issues with. That listener needs to be supportive, encouraging, and able to hear whatever we want to say. I perform the role of listener for people who need to be heard.
If life is a journey, then counselling is like having a companion on the journey who knows what we’re going through, and can be there with us, encouraging us on our way. There will be times in life, such as times of bereavement, redundancy, or divorce, when we find ourselves in a hole that we want to get out of, when having another person to talk to will help us get out of the hole faster. There will be other times when we’re facing something frightening ahead, such as an operation, a big event, or a challenge at work, when having someone to ‘walk it through with’ will make what’s ahead less frightening. I’m that person.
In counselling, the journey tends to be brief or centred around a single point of issue. I write elsewhere about counselling for work-related problems, and counselling for difficult relationships. But here are a couple of issues which some people might think of as being separate from work and relationships:
Values and Philosophy of Life
Each of us seeks some kind of meaning in our lives. In the past, we would have been told “The Meaning of Life” by our parents or our religion. But many parents are not sure enough now to be able to tell their children, and many children remain unconvinced by the explanations of either their parents or their religion. That leaves us as adults searching for a value or a purpose in our life’s journey. Without meaning in our lives we can feel lost and dispirited. If that’s how you feel, I can help. I believe that humans make meaning like bees make honey: it’s built into us. The task is for us to make a meaning out of life that tastes good to ourselves and to others. I can help you to explore what’s valuable in the world, in other people and in yourself. If you think that the Universe doesn’t care about you, then you don’t have to care about the Universe! You can care about being someone and doing something that you and other humans care about. I can help you find out what that thing is.
Bereavement and Grief
When we lose someone, whether at home or at work, we face the pain of being separated from them. Yet we remain in relationship with the person who has gone, because we think about them, notice their absence, and miss them. Bereavement and grief are natural processes, but they’re different each time. It used to be taught that grief was a process with inevitable stages, but that’s not so. Sometimes when a person goes, we feel relief or anger, or nothing at all. That too is natural. At other times our grief stays with us even though we want to move on. Our responses to loss can vary enormously from person to person and from moment to moment. The best approach to dealing with loss, I think, is to treat bereavement and grief as an ongoing conversation. There are things we want to say and do when we say goodbye, and until we’ve done them we may not be able to turn to the future. We may want to look back and celebrate the good memories of times past; we may want to point out things that remain unsaid or undone. There may be rituals that need to be performed, like a last letter or a last embrace, which can be done even though the other person is not physically present. And we need to commemorate the lost person. All these things may need to be returned to again and again until we feel like they’ve been done right and we can face the future. We can go on knowing that the lost person will continue to be in our hearts as we make the rest of our life’s journey. If you’re feeling the pain of loss, and sense either that you have no-one you can share your grief with, or that you’re grieving too little or too long, then I can help you to say and do what you need to in order to move forward.