I offer supervision to counsellors in training, newly qualified counsellors and to those in established practice. I meet either at my private practice in Beaconsfield or, increasingly, remotely by video call.
What is supervision
Supervision is a requirement for anyone working in the counselling profession and indeed in many other helping professions. Professional bodies will have their own minimum requirements that members are expected to meet. For example the BACP requires members to have a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision per month.
Although supervision is a formal arrangement it is much more than than overseeing another counsellors work. It is a collaborative relationship where supervisor and supervisee “work together to ensure and develop the efficacy of the counsellor/client relationship” (BACP information sheet S2).
Inskipp and Proctor suggest that there are 3 main functions of supervision:
The normative task which ensures that ethical practice is adhered to, the formative task which aims to develop the supervisee’s skill, knowledge and understanding and the restorative task which enables the supervisee to discharge emotions and recharge their batteries.
Supervision protects clients and supports counsellors by involving a qualified third party. It can offer different insights which can enhance the therapeutic work and provides a safe space for supervisees to explore their own feelings and thoughts about the therapeutic alliance and their own personal development.
It is not only Counselling professionals who benefit from supervision. Individuals working in the areas of health care, social care or the emergency services are realising the benefits of having a safe space to explore the impact of their work on them which is separate from their line management
What to expect from couples counselling in Beaconsfield
Meeting with an impartial other can provide a safe place for you both to think and consider your feelings without being judged, whatever your background, sexual orientation or marital status. Some couples may need to find a way through a specific issue whilst others feel they are simply struggling to connect in a healthy and respectful way.
As with individual therapy, your first appointment provides you both the opportunity to identify any relationship issues, agree on specific goals in therapy and then to begin a process of open, constructive communication. It will also give you both the opportunity to address any concerns you may have about couples therapy.
As a couples therapist in Beaconsfield, I am unbiased — I do not take sides. I also understand that issues within relationships are often very personal and private. I do not judge my clients’ sexual experiences or private choices. All discussions in couples counselling are handled sensitively and, of course, any discussions with me, as your therapist, are always confidential.
Notably, the key to effective therapy is the motivation and willingness of both parties to want to work on their relationship. I also recognise that it is not uncommon for one party in the couple to make the first move in contacting a therapist. However, if the other person is completely opposed to or unwilling to engage in the process then it is very difficult for any productive work to take place. This is not to say either one or both of the party will be nervous or resistant. These feelings are normal for many when seeking the support of a therapist particularly if it is for the first time.
Often there can be times in your relationship or marriage where you may wonder where the love has gone to. Somehow, the ordinariness of everyday living with its routines and schedules can leave us feeling depleted and often left running on empty. This can lead to the passion we once felt for our partner disappearing leaving us feeling alone and perhaps worried or confused. We question whether we can ever get the love back and feel truly connected again.
As a couples therapist I am also experienced in supporting those in relationships that have reached a cross-roads and undecided whether staying together is right for them. Although traditionally, working alongside a couples therapist has been viewed as a way to stay together, it can also be a healthy way to separate. It gives each individual the opportunity to understand the circumstances that has contributed to them reaching this point. In these circumstances I often work around loss, the closing of a chapter and a possible new adventure beyond the relationship.
How can we rebuild our relationship?
The good news is that any relationship can be improved if both parties are willing to engage with the process. Very often, the experience of ‘losing the love’ (and finding it again) can teach couples a lot about each other and about themselves. Love can frequently be rekindled and often to a couple’s surprise, their love may grow deeper than it has ever been.
Rekindling the love can be as simple as changing a few routines at home to give you more time together, going on a ‘date night’ once a month, scheduling time for intimacy or socialising more together. In other cases however, couples have drifted apart so much that they may feel as if they really don’t know each other anymore. In any case, some general recommendations on building stronger relationships can be made:
1. Make a conscious effort to look for the positive, likeable characteristics in your partner and express your appreciation of these qualities to him/her often
2. Talk about your partner in positive terms to others and watch your self-talk too – no relationship can grow on criticism. We grow only on our strengths.
3. Learn how to communicate your needs in more effective ways – build your skills so you can communicate assertively without threatening your partner or being submissive
4. Learn how to listen more effectively. These skills are learned and are not something we are born with.
5. Remember that good relationships are not left on ‘auto pilot’. Couples need to consciously steer their relationship or it will go off course
6. Invest by learning more about relationships and love – perhaps do a course together or attend yourself (or with a friend) if your partner is unwilling.
7. Attend counselling if a serious issue needs to be discussed or resolved.
The LGBT community
LGBT individuals and couples often have similar issues to everyone, but significant exceptions are the prejudice, marginalisation, bullying and lack of acceptance, including emotional and physical abuse, experienced by many in the LGBT community. These difficult challenges often began in childhood or adolescence and can play a major role in adult interpersonal struggles in one-on-one or in couple relationships
Therefore, I always aim to provide a safe, supportive environment for LGBT couples and individuals to work on their relationship concerns as well as their own personal issues.
Healthy Tips for LGBT People and Relationships
• Surround yourself with others who validate and affirm you and your relationships.
• Seek out supportive communities and professionals.
• Talk in a safe, supportive environment to learn different strategies regarding issues of communication, conflict resolution and intimacy.
Counselling gives you the opportunity to discuss and resolve problems that are causing conflict or unhappiness in your relationships. These may include:
• Sexual difficulties
• Life transitions
• Uncertainty about commitment
• Poor communication
• Starting a family
• Separation and divorce
• Family dilemmas
• Fertility issues