AMANDA BAKER

COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY

more about counselling

Counselling works by having someone thinking with you, about you, very attentively, and forming a shared picture of what is happening for you. This is very different from ruminating in solitude, because it integrates an outside view and involves another person—you discover unseen realities about yourself, unravel self-deceptions, dispel many of your self-doubts, take in new perspectives which are often deeply relieving, and see yourself freshly in the mirror of the dialogue which evolves between you and your counsellor. As you start to react to this new picture, you set in motion a chain reaction of changes which over time brings control and choice more and more securely within your own reach, releasing new freedom to act with energy and confidence in your life outside the counselling room.  

counselling works by...

helping you to feel differently about your situation, helping you to think about your situation differently, and helping you to act on your situation differently. Counselling does not work by giving advice, taking control, or by simply taking the problem away for you, but, as good teaching or parenting does, by boosting the mental connections which allow you to develop, bringing your thoughts, feelings and actions into strong and effective focus. This mobilises your own capacity to find solutions, and your appetite for next steps, whatever they may turn out to be. Good counselling can enable deep-seated change to start right from the outset, so that you can feel you are getting to the heart of difficulties whether they are new or long-entrenched. It can be very effective for alleviating the suffering brought on by losses including illness, disability or bereavement; relationship issues in intimate, family, social, or work situations; mood difficulties such as depression and anxiety; identity or ‘self’ difficulties such as low self-esteem; adjustment to life change around adolescence, mid-life or ageing; undermining experiences such as bullying in the workplace; and past or recent trauma.

counselling and psychotherapy - what difference?

Counselling and psychotherapy are words often used interchangeably. However, some professionals make a distinction. Counselling can mean a shorter-term process which helps you to address a specific problematic area of your life which may have arisen recently rather than be deeply ingrained. Used this way, counselling aims to help you resolve the impact of the problem rather than to change the way you are. Psychotherapy can refer to a process which is more far-reaching, making more complex changes in the way you relate to yourself, others and the world around you—i.e. to change yourself. This often stretches over a longer time period in order to tackle very ingrained or persistent difficulties. But - counselling can often turn into psychotherapy, since dealing with even seemingly circumscribed or new problems can lead us to need to be different from how we’ve ever been before. And psychotherapy often serves as counselling in enabling focused problem-solving hand in hand with deeper-level change. Since what I do is often both, I use the terms counselling and psychotherapy fairly interchangeably.