How long does counselling take?

My counselling journey

Occasionally I’m asked when my journey with counselling began. In answer I often say it started in my mid-twenties when I read a book called The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, the title of which is taken from a poem by Robert Frost. I think this was the moment I began to become more curious about my own psychology, when I first felt a desire to try to untangle the big confusing ball of knotted up thoughts and feelings that was my mind in those days.

However, having spent years teasing out those knots I now appreciate that ever since I was a child I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking carefully about myself and my place in the world and have always been empathic and sensitive to the feelings of the people around me, uncertain and slow to judge, so much so that I used to be frequently overwhelmed by how sure and certain of everything many other people seemed to be!

In a way then, I bring a lifetime of sensitivity, empathy and curiosity to my work as a counsellor – aspects of myself which have not always served me well at times in the past but are now qualities which I cherish and nurture in my work because they help me to create a safe and open place for clients to explore the things which really matter to them, and to eventually find the strength to embrace the uncertainty which is at the core of the human journey through life.

I am someone who cares deeply about people and deeply about the planet. It is this care which brought me, in 2011, to start volunteering at the Clocktower Sanctuary, an inspiring project supporting homeless young people in Brighton, and soon after to realise that, with so much pain and trauma in the lives of so many people, I needed to find a way to heal my own wounds before I could help other people to heal theirs. This was around the time I was influenced by another book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I hoped this practical self-help book would give me inspiration to write a book of my own, little did I know that it would launch me on an adventure that would eventually lead me to become a counsellor.

Like most people, my own healing journey has been long and difficult but it has led me to my belief in the founding principal of Humanistic counselling, that every one of us has the basic and inborn capacity to grow fully into ourselves, to become the person we were meant to be in this life, and that this is a life-long process. What this translates to in relation to the counselling I offer is that I know the clients I work with are the real experts. They are experts in themselves. Deep down we all have the strength, courage and wisdom we need to find the best way forward for us, but sometimes we need a guide to show us how to unlock this expertise. It is a huge privilege for me to be one of these guides, a witness to the potent healing energy which flows when people find a way to unlock their massive potential for change and growth.