Counselling can help us navigate the choppy waters and the stormy seas of our lives.

Sometimes we all need help navigating the choppy waters and the stormy seas of our lives.

Oliver Bettany, counsellor working in Brighton & Hove and Halland, near Uckfield, Hailsham, Heathfield, Ringmer and Laughton in East SussexSussex Counselling Space provides a place to talk, deeply and honestly, about the things which really matter, the stuff it’s scary to say out loud, the thoughts and feelings that, if you let them out of the box, you fear may pull you under.

I work in the city and in the countryside, in Brighton and in the small village of Halland, not far from Uckfield, Heathfield, Hailsham, Ringmer and Laughton in East Sussex. I work with individuals, couples and groups. I specialise in working with men.

What’s brought you here? Stress? Anxiety? Depression? Grief? Anger? Addiction? Hopelessness? Separation? Loneliness? Something else?

If you’re thinking about counselling then I’m assuming you’re struggling with at least one of these things right now. Maybe with all of them. There comes a point for many of us when we just can’t handle things on our own anymore. We need help making sense of our lives, and the myriad of challenges we face.

Perhaps you’ve been struggling for a long time. Perhaps you’re ready to make some changes but you don’t know how. Perhaps something has happened which has turned your life upside down. Perhaps you simply want a different perspective on things.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of knowing where to start, and then taking the first step.

“I first worked with Oliver in 2016 when I was going through a particularly dark and confusing time in my life. Depression was the condition which I had been diagnosed with and the condition which I am so grateful to say that Oliver has helped me to recover from. The sessions with Oliver were gentle enough for me to want to go back each week, but challenging enough for me to feel as though progress was being made. Oliver always worked from a place of spiritual understanding and always brought humanity and kindness to our sessions.”
F, Brighton

Home is where we start from

Home is where we start from. This is one of the main premises of the work of the hugely influential child psychologist Donald Winnicott. For many of us, by the time we reach adulthood, our connection with our inner child – the part of us that still feels and acts like a child – is tenuous at best. Counselling can help us get back in touch with the needs of this often overlooked part, the aspect of ourselves that we often need to listen to in order to bring about balance and meaningful change in our lives.

Why? Our modern lives are busy, often overwhelmingly so, and we are often compelled to grow up too fast and so discount our inner child’s basic needs for nurturing and safety. How frequently do we get an opportunity to take some time out to properly check in with ourselves, explore what’s really going on for us, deep down? And yet this kind of simple self-care is so important for our wellbeing.

Most of us maintain dozens of relationships – with parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, colleagues… hundreds of busy interactions with other people every single day of our lives. But how many of these moments nurture our deeper selves and feed our fundamental need for security, belonging and connection with other human beings?

We all have thoughts and feelings that we fear to share with our loved ones. Sometimes it just gets to be too much and we’re compelled to reach out to someone who is not a part of our everyday life but who understands and cares about us nonetheless. Until we’re ready to create a society that has this kind of care and understanding built into its fabric, counselling provides an important and life-enhancing experience of support during the more challenging chapters of our journey through life.

Humanistic counselling

The founding principal of Humanistic counselling is a belief 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 that deep down you are an expert in you. You hold the key which will unlock the door to reveal the best way forward for you.

So what am I good for?! Well, it can take a lot of time and space to begin to connect with this inner expert, in our journey through life we learn to throw up an awful lot of barriers to this kind of inner connection. I will work with you to create the conditions necessary for you to navigate these barriers and tap into the deep expertise you possess: together we will create a safe place from which you can begin to make contact with what is underlying the challenges you’re experiencing right now. I can help you find the key.

The cornerstone of my counselling practice is a powerful and practical approach called Transactional Analysis (or T.A. for short) which empowers clients with self understanding and provides them with tools to help them make new choices in dealing with the challenges of life. However, central to the way I work is my appreciation of the fundamental uniqueness of everyone I work with and so I recognise the importance of creating a new therapy for each new client, one which is informed by my experience working with a number of other Humanistic approaches to counselling, including:

Counselling with an ecological perspective

Taking my understanding of Humanistic psychology as a starting point I also integrate into my work an ecological perspective on the causes of human distress. If you have a sense that the difficulties you’re experiencing are somehow connected to how our society is set up then this way of seeing things may provide a helpful way for you to reframe things.

This perspective takes as its starting point an appreciation of the complex web of interrelationships that exist between “psyche” (the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious), the society in which we live and the more-than-human world of nature which the human world is inextricably intertwined with. It is a perspective which takes into account the fact that our minds are not only tangled up with the social conditions in which we live, they are also deeply rooted in the earth. When we split psyche from nature, as a lot of modern psychology tends to do, this gets forgotten and a particular kind of sickness sets in. It is a form of this sickness which ails so many of us in our modern society. This is what we mean by the term alienation from nature.

A peaceful rural setting, perfect for counselling and reflection

As well as working in the heart of The City of Brighton & Hove, I also have a practice based near the village of Halland in the heart of beautiful East Sussex countryside, a short drive from Uckfield, Heathfield, Hailsham, Ringmer and Laughton.

More info about where I work »

Now you know a bit about the kind of counselling I offer, what next?