Welcome. I’m Sarah, an experienced Counsellor, Accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), with a private practice in Kings Hill, West Malling, near Maidstone, Kent.
Making the first step in seeking help can be a hard decision to make, especially if you have never had counselling before. This is why I have detailed as much information in my website as I can to give you an insight into counselling, who I am, how I work and how I can help you find emotional wellbeing.
First, there are many reasons why someone seeks counselling. Perhaps you are:
- Stressed, anxious or depressed
- Experiencing a loss, bereavement or trauma
- Having relationship difficulties
- Trying to cope with family issues
- Going through a personal crisis or life change
- Recovering from an addiction
- Struggling with your weight
- Feeling sad
- Suffering from low self-esteem or confidence
- Looking to gain a better understanding of yourself
It’s not always easy to talk to family or friends about your thoughts and feelings. You may be worried about the affect of sharing these would have on them or they may be part of the problem. I can offer you a safe, non-judgmental, confidential space where you can say it how it really is and explore what is important to you.
What is counselling?
Making the decision to engage in counselling can be a difficult one. The thought of sharing your private thoughts with a stranger can feel like a very daunting prospect. You may feel that your issues are too insignificant and that you might be seen to be “making a fuss about nothing”. Alternatively, you may fear that your problems are so big that they may overwhelm anybody you choose to share them with. These feelings are normal.
Counselling is very often called a “talking therapy” because it gives you the opportunity to talk about what is troubling you. Counselling is time set aside regularly just for you, where you can let go, explore and feel safe in knowing that you are being heard and understood by someone who isn’t going to judge you.
Sometimes life can put obstacles in our way, which can mean that it becomes increasingly difficult to live how we wish to. These obstacles can be significant life events such as the death of a loved one, the breakdown of a relationship or the loss of a job. Alternatively, experiences in our past and our ways of being in the world may have an impact on how we relate to others and how we respond to challenges that we face. Maybe we feel angry or upset all the time but don’t know why.
Counselling is about helping you to understand yourself: how you relate to yourself internally and how you relate to others around you. Together, we will work at a pace that suits you. It is not about me telling you what to do, it is about supporting you to find your own solutions, giving you the choice to make changes in your life.
Where Do I Start
It’s sometimes hard to know where to start, especially if you have never been to a counsellor before. It is important to find the right counsellor for you – someone you can relate to, you feel comfortable and safe talking to, you trust and who understands you. The relationship itself is an important factor for a positive outcome.
I would like to invite you to a FREE 20 minute introductory session. During this session,we will be able to discuss how I work, begin to talk about what is troubling you, explore what your expectations of counselling are and any concerns or anxieties you may have. If we are comfortable and feel that we can work with each other, we will then discuss how we are going to proceed. There is no obligation to continue after this session.
My core training is as a person-centred counsellor, however I also use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and elements of Transactional Analysis (please see my FAQ page for a description of these therapies). Working this way enables me to adapt the way I work to suit you, to ensure I am meeting your individual needs.
I undertook my own personal counselling as part of my training. I found it helped me overcome anxiety and grief that I had been holding on to and that had previously turned my world upside down. I was able to find more meaning and balance in my life. Having experienced counselling first-hand, I understand the sense of vulnerability and am very mindful of the need to feel safe enough to explore any difficulties you have in a non-judgmental and confidential environment.
I have experience of working as a Counsellor and Psycho-educational Group Facilitator for an NHS Tier 3 weight management provider, where I received specialist training to work with obesity and patients with a high BMI, as well as an understanding of bariatric surgery. I have also worked for a residential rehabilitation programme offering counselling to those in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction, as well as volunteering as a Bereavement Counsellor for Cruse Bereavement Care.
I am an Accredited Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Accreditation means that my “practice has been deemed to meet [the BACP’s] higher standard as a competent, ethical and independent practitioner”. I work within the BACP’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice. I am fully insured, have ongoing clinical supervision and regularly attend courses to enhance my knowledge and professionalism.
Training and Qualifications
CPCAB Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling
CPCAB Certificate in Counselling Studies
CPCAB Certificate in Counselling Skills
CPCAB Certificate in Understanding Substance Misuse
Ascentis Cruse Bereavement Awareness in Bereavement Care
Transactional Analysis 101
Accredited Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – Registration No.098208
Continuing Professional Development
Cruse Bereavement Care – Sudden and Traumatic Death
Kenward Trust – Drug and Alcohol Awareness
PODS – Working with Relational Trauma, DID
Wealden Institute -Trauma and Recovery Foundation
Dr Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Treatment Mastery Course
Mindbody Breakthrough – Generalised Anxiety & Panic Disorders
KCC – Safeguarding & Adult Protection Awareness
Professor Julia Buckroyd – Understanding Your Eating/Narcissism
One In Four – Working with Shame
Kent Police – Connect 5 – Ways to work with mental wellbeing
Therapy Partners – Eating Disorders
The Psychopathology of Obesity/Bariatric Surgery
Psychological Assessments/MDT Assessments
Assessing People with Complex Mental Health Difficulties
Facilitating Psycho-Educational Groups
Psychological Wellbeing Training – CBT Intervention
Kent Psychotherapy Network – Learning Through Dreams
Are sessions confidential?
As a professional counsellor and an Accredited Registered Member of The British Association for Counselling and Psycotherapy (Registered MBACP (Accred)), I offer a high standard of confidentiality. Confidentiality is a fundamental element within counselling in order to provide you with a safe and private space to talk. I will not give information to your doctor or anyone else without your permission. The only time I might break confidentiality is if there is a serious risk of harm to you or others, and in very rare cases where required by law.
How many sessions will I need?
It depends entirely on your situation, the difficulties you bring and your personal preference. Counselling does not always offer an immediate solution to long standing and often, painful problems. There is no upper limit to the number of sessions, you may continue for as long as you feel the sessions are of use to you. We will review your progress together at regular intervals, usually after every 6 sessions, to help you with this.
How long is each session?
How often are sessions held?
Weekly, at the same time and place. If you work shifts, I can offer a flexible diary where available.
Will I need to agree to a contract?
In our initial session, we will discuss your expectations of counselling and I will also discuss my confidentiality, ethics, payment, holidays and cancellation policies with you. If we then decide to work together, this will ensure we can do so within safe and clear boundaries. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions if you are unsure of anything.
What types of therapy do you practice?
I am a person centred counsellor. I also use CBT techniques and elements of Transactional Analysis (TA), where appropriate:
Person centred: A non-directive approach which believes in your ability to make the right choices and your potential to make the changes needed.
CBT: Looks at how our thoughts affect our feelings and behaviour.
Transactional Analysis (TA): Helps to explain how we think, feel and behave in the way we do.
What if I don’t like it?
Sometimes counselling can be uncomfortable to start with, as there is no magic cure. Sometimes things can feel worse before they feel better but if you are prepared to examine your feelings, it may enable you to make more sense of the world around you.
Will you tell me how to solve my problems?
No, I will help you explore different ways of dealing with a situation, but the choice of whether or not you do anything about it is yours.
Will I have to talk about things I would prefer not to discuss?
No. I will encourage you to talk about many aspects of your life, and to express your feelings. Your wish not to discuss a particular matter will always be respected.
What should I do if I feel better and don’t want to see you again?
Discuss this with me and we will arrange an ‘ending’ session. You can choose to stop at any time you like. However for the therapeutic process to be most effective, it is best to give notice and to work towards an ending. This provides an opportunity to experience a positive ending and one that will help you end relationships well in the future.
What is supervision in counselling?
Working under supervision means that I use the services of another counsellor to review my work with clients and my professional development. Most professional bodies in the UK such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) require supervision, but it is also seen by many as ethically necessary. Counselling supervision is considered important to protect clients and to improve the ability of counsellors to provide value to their clients.
What does supervision mean to confidentiality?
Client confidentiality is still safeguarded because individually identifying information such as full names is not given. Also my supervisor is covered by the same code of ethics with regard to confidentiality as myself.
Do you keep notes?
I am obliged to make some notes after sessions. These notes are brief, coded and kept in a secure place.
Continued Professional Development
I regularly undertake further learning in the form of workshops and seminars, with a view to maintaining continued professional development.
Who are the BACP?
The BACP stands for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It is a body which has been set up to ensure that its members adhere to Ethical Codes of Practice, keep up-to-date in the world of counselling, brings together many counsellors and psychotherapists of different disciplines and is also there to protect you as a client.
Free 20 minute Introductory Session
Thereafter, Fees per 50 minute Counselling Session for Individuals (18+): £50
Fees are per session and are payable via bank transfer 24 hours in advance.
Tuesday to Thursday from 10am until 8pm, last session at 7pm each day.
Length and Frequency of Sessions:
50 minute sessions usually held on a weekly basis.
Arriving for Sessions:
I do not have a waiting room, so please could you arrive at your appointment time. Sessions will start on time and so if you are late for a session, the session will still end at the normal time.
If you would like more information or wish to enquire about counselling sessions, please telephone, text or email me:
t: 07895 044714
If I am not available when you call, please leave a message.
I will aim to get back to you within 24 hrs (Mon-Fri).
I will not return missed calls, i.e. where no message has been left.
My counselling practice is based in Suite 7, 30 Churchill Square, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4YU.
The room is on the ground floor and there is ample free parking.