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Counselling for adults,

children and young people

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Sometimes you might feel that life is difficult, distressing or challenging

logo maybe not working out as you had hoped it would, or that you are stuck in a way of living that is causing you stress and unhappiness.

Talking to friends, family or colleagues can often help. Maybe you don’t want to burden them, don’t have anyone to talk to, or maybe they’re part of the problem.

Sometimes we need someone who is outside of the situation, who will really listen to us and our concerns and work with us to help us sort things out, so that we can feel better.

I work with individuals of all ages as well as couples.

I am an Integrative Counsellor. That means that rather than just sticking to just one counselling model (such as Psychodynamic or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) I use different ideas and techniques to suit you.

Sessions can be just a few in number, or on a longer-term basis.

I offer a friendly, secure and confidential space in the counselling room which you can be understood and valued.

I have worked with many different issues. If you’re struggling with things in your life, past, present or future, or you’re not even sure what the problem is, counselling might be the help and support you need.

If you’re struggling with things in your life, past, present or future, or you’re not even sure what the problem is, counselling might be the help and support you need.

I offer a free first 30 minute meeting.

Please get in touch either with me by telephone or e-mail if you are interested in learning more or to arrange an initial appointment.

Contact Sophy on 07749 937706 or email [email protected]

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About Me

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I am an Integrative Counsellor and am a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). I have a Diploma in Integrative Therapeutic Counselling, as well as other training and clinical experience.

I work with individuals of all ages as well as couples.

I believe that to be let into someone’s life is a real privilege. I am very committed to working responsibly, ethically and sensitively to help you get what you need. I won’t sit there with a clipboard, cold and aloof. Instead, together we will try to build a valuing relationship based on honesty, understanding, equality, warmth and acceptance.

Alongside my work with clients of all ages in my private practice, I have a special interest in working with children and young people. I have extensive clinical experience in this area. I work with some local senior and primary schools offering counselling at a reduced fee to enable them to support mental health issues to their pupils.

As well as my work as a counsellor, I have many years of professional and voluntary experience in other roles within the commercial corporate sector, the support sector and the voluntary/fundraising sector. I appreciate the stresses and demands that the balance of everyday life, work and family can place on us.

How I Work

logo As an Integrative Counsellor, I combine a variety of theories in my work. These include Person Centred Theory, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Transactional Analysis (TA). I also draw upon Attachment theory, Psychodynamic theory, Mindfulness and Gestalt theory, as well as working creatively and through play.

Counselling is collaborative and we will discuss together what would work best for you. My belief is that whatever theoretical approach(es) we use, the most important aspect of our work will be the relationship we develop together.

My aim is to provide warmth, empathic understanding and respect for whatever issues you choose to discuss.

I have attended additional training courses and post graduate training modules specifically for Working Therapeutically with Children and Young People aged 5 years to 25 years.

I adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework. As per the BACP guidelines:

  • I attend regular training, workshops and actively work on my personal development by keeping up to date with recent developments and research throughout each year.
  • I attend regular clinical supervision to ensure I am working safely and ethically with my clients.
  • I hold full Professional Civil Liability Insurance.
  • I have an enhanced updated DBS check (previously known as CRB check)

Qualifications and Training attended

  • Diploma in Integrative Therapeutic Counselling CPCAB
  • Certificate in Counselling Studies CPCAB
  • Certificate in Counselling Studies NCFE
  • Certificate in Counselling Children and Young People
  • BACP Certificate of Proficiency (Accredited Voluntary Register)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Couples Counselling
  • Postgraduate Level 7 Counselling Children and Young People (5 Modules)
  • Cruse Bereavement Support Training

Adults

I work with adults of all ages.

It’s not always easy to talk about feelings and emotions. I will offer you a friendly, safe, supportive and confidential space where you can talk without fear or criticism, and where I will accept you, without judgement, for who you are.

I see clients from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Emotional distress, stress and mental health issues can affect any and all of us. Each year one in four adults will experience a mild to moderate mental health problem. This can be the result of sudden unexpected events, planned transitions or from early trauma resurfacing when current life events trigger past experiences and memories.

Counselling can be an opportunity to explore your concerns with me, without bias and in a way which you may not be able to do with your friends or family. We can work together so you’re able to identify ways to improve your wellbeing, and help you make the changes in your life that you would like to happen.

I’ve had the privilege of working therapeutically with clients on a wide range of issues, including include anxiety, stress, self-harm, suicidal ideation, work-life balance, depression, panic, neglect, abuse, many different relationship issues including separation, affairs and divorce, neglect, sexual abuse, ASD, body image, bullying, trauma, domestic abuse, anger, low self-esteem, fertility, alcohol, low self-confidence, short and long term illness, loss, bereavement, as well as many other issues.

You may be able to achieve your personal goal in just a few sessions of therapy, but you may equally need more time than that. It depends on the nature of your discomfort and how you are as a person. Everybody is unique and individual, and so are the problems they bring to counselling.

You may find that counselling helps by:

  • Providing a sense of relief from sharing some of your burden
  • Improving your understanding of yourself and your problems
  • Helping you fathom out a solution
  • Helping you to accept and value yourself
  • Offering you support while you go through a crisis
  • Revealing how you are in relationships, and why the same things keep happening
  • Processing difficult feelings and experience

Children and Young People

I work with children and young people aged from 7 years to 25 years.

Counselling helps a child or young person to better understand their situation. It also provides time and a space for children and young people to explore their thoughts and feelings about changes, personal issues or other difficulties they may be going through.

It can help them cope with their emotions and enable them to make positive choices. Ultimately, it can help children and young people to feel more safe, secure and happy in the family home, at school and in their everyday lives.

Issues I have worked with children and young people include stress, low self-esteem, self-harm, anxiety, anger, sexuality, friendships, body issues, neglect, family or relationship breakdowns and problems, school problems, bullying, loss and bereavement, suicidal ideation, depression, bullying and many other issues.

As well as counselling (talking therapy), I use a variety of techniques to promote and develop resilience and emotional health, including creative work and therapeutic play.

I am also happy to provide counselling for parents, carers and families to support the family unit.

Confidentiality

It is vital when working with young people that they want to come for counselling. It needs to be their counselling and their space. In coming for counselling they will have a safe confidential space in which to think about and share what’s on their mind. It can be hugely beneficial to simply have someone who is not family, school or friends to really listen.

It’s important to let them share as much or as little as they want about the counselling, or simply nothing at all with you as parents or carers. You will have worries or concerns about them but it is crucial that they can trust that what they say is private.

When we commence working together, we talk through a working agreement where confidentiality and the limits of this are discussed in detail. In exceptional circumstances if child protection issues should be raised, or if I’m given information that the young person or anyone else was in danger or at risk of serious harm, I may have to break confidentiality. I would usually try to gain the young person’s consent to disclosing information to the relevant persons or authorities, but if consent can’t be obtained I need to remain free to take action independently.

I would seek the parent's or carer's written permission to work with any young person under the age of 16 and expect safe travel arrangements to be put in place.

Depending on the age of the young person it is sometimes helpful to have a joint meeting at the start of the counselling with parents/carers and the young person, although this is not always necessary or desirable.

Schools / GP / Social Services referrals

I am able to accept referrals from local schools, GP surgeries and Social Services. Please contact me directly to discuss this, or pass on my details to the person who may be interested in counselling:

07749 937706 or email [email protected]

Confidentiality

This is something we will talk about in detail when we meet.

I believe that trust and feeling safe is vital that in the counselling relationship. By feeling safe, this enables you to talk about your deepest thoughts and feelings. The counselling room is somewhere for you to talk about whatever you want, but there are some rules that I have to adhere to, to ensure safety for you, myself and other people.

Discussing confidentiality is also important, so that you know what, if anything, that you say is discussed outside of the counselling room.

I work and adhere to the BACP’s Ethical Framework. An extract from this relating to Confidentiality is as follows:

“Respecting clients’ privacy and confidentiality are fundamental requirements for keeping trust and respecting client autonomy. The professional management of confidentiality concerns the protection of personally identifiable and sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Disclosure may be authorised by client consent or the law. Any disclosures of client confidences should be undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust and respect client autonomy”.

extract fromBACP’s Ethical Framework

As counsellors, we all have our own way of offering confidentiality, and others may differ in their approach to it. My approach to how I maintain my client’s confidentiality is as follows:

  • Everything that is said to me in the counselling room remains confidential, unless I feel that you or someone else might be at risk of serious harm.
  • If I see you outside of the counselling room, I will be guided by how you want to interact. I will not take offence if you do not want to acknowledge me as appreciate it can be a difficult situation.
  • When I speak to my supervisor about my work, I do not use any identifying details about my clients, discussing only specific parts of the work. I would only use a first name, or in some circumstances, a pseudonym. (All BACP registered counsellors are required to have supervision by the BACP to ensure the safety of both the client and the counsellor in the work).
  • If a client tells me they are involved in behaviours that puts themselves or others at risk of serious harm, such as suicide, terrorism, money laundering, serious crime, child protection issues and some other legal situations, then I would have to breach confidentiality. I would always aim to do this after a discussion with you. In the case of immediate and imminent risk, then there may not always be the opportunity to have that dialogue with you.

The ethics and law around confidentiality are very complex, so it is always worth talking it through if you are concerned about any doubts you may have.

I will ask you to sign something to say we have discussed the confidentiality as part of our working agreement. We can refer back to this at any point in the work, should you need clarification on what it means for what you want to discuss in the room. Once we have discuss the limits of the confidentiality, you can talk freely about what brought you to counselling in the first place.

Confidentiality - Children and Young People

Confidentiality covers the same issues as I have already explained. There are some additional considerations when working with children and young people. I would ask you as a parent/guardian to sign paperwork to confirm we have discussed confidentiality and it’s limits for the counselling work.

It is vital when working with young people that they want to come for counselling, it needs to be their counselling and their space. In coming for counselling, they will have a safe confidential space in which to think about and share what’s on their mind. It can be hugely beneficial to simply have someone who is not family, school or friends to really listen.

It’s important to let them share as much or as little as they want about the counselling or simply nothing at all with you as parents or carers. You will have worries or concerns about them but it is crucial that they can trust that what they say is private.

When we commence working together, we talk through a working agreement where confidentiality and the limits of this are discussed in detail. In exceptional circumstances if child protection issues should be raised or if I’m given information that the young person or anyone else was in danger or at risk of serious harm I may have to break confidentiality. I would usually try to gain the young person’s consent to disclosing information to the relevant persons or authorities, but if consent can’t be obtained I need to remain free to take action independently.

I would seek the parent's or carer's written permission to work with any young person under the age of 16 and expect safe travel arrangements to be put in place.

Depending on the age of the young person it is sometimes helpful to have a joint meeting at the start of the counselling with parents/carers and the young person, although this is not always necessary or desirable.

Issues

What issues do people seek counselling for?

Counselling can be used to explore many, many issues. Some issues can be very traumatic and involve long term work. Other issues may be less challenging or obvious, or involve shorter work.

Things you may seek counselling for include:

  • Self Esteem and Confidence Building
  • Bereavement and loss, including divorce and loss of employment
  • Feeling depressed, unhappy or sad
  • Feelings of anger and loss of control
  • Feeling anxious and stressed
  • Managing Illness
  • Life transitions, including children leaving home, divorce and retirement
  • Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD)
  • Self-Harm
  • Sexual Abuse and Rape
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Relationship or Family Difficulties, including a pattern of unsatisfying or abusive relationships
  • Work related stress
  • The effects of bullying in childhood or adult life
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling isolated and lost
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Childhood trauma/abuse
  • Workplace issues including bullying, work overload or loss of job status
  • Post Natal Depression (PND)
  • Personality disorders
  • Addictive behaviour
  • Eating disorders
  • Experiencing prejudice
  • Adoption Issues
  • And other challenges

How does it work?

Counselling allows you the opportunity to move towards living in a way you feel to be more satisfying and resourceful.

My job is to help develop an honest, genuine relationship which allows you to feel accepted, understood and valued, so that together we can explore your world, gain understanding and process (work through) whatever comes up.

  • It’s confidential (with a few exceptions, which will be explained to you).
  • It’s based on understanding, not judgment.
  • It’s led by you - we focus on whatever you want to focus on, and work at your own pace.

You may be able to achieve your personal goal in just a few sessions of therapy, but you may equally need more time than that. It depends on the nature of your discomfort and how you are as a person. Everybody is unique and individual, and so are the problems they bring to counselling.

It may also be worth asking what the challenge or issue itself is costing you now, in terms of your work, your relationships, your family. Many clients come to see counselling as a very worthwhile use of their time and money.

You may find that counselling helps by:
  • Providing a sense of relief from sharing some of your burden
  • Improving your understanding of yourself and your problems
  • Helping you fathom out a solution
  • Helping you to accept and value yourself
  • Offering you support while you go through a crisis
  • Revealing how you are in relationships, and why the same things keep happening
  • Processing difficult feelings and experience.
Is counselling (or psychotherapy) for me?

One of the most important factors in whether counselling will be effective is whether you want to undertake it. If you are doing it to please someone else or because someone is pressurising you into it, it is unlikely to be helpful.

Counselling is very different from going to see your doctor. We tend to expect that once we have explained what the matter is to our doctor, he or she will give us something that will remove the problem. Counselling however, is not something that is done to you, or given to you, like medicine or advice. It is “emotional work” and it is important that you see it as your work, with your counsellor thinking alongside you. If you want someone to take away your emotional distress without you having to do anything yourself, it is unlikely that you will find counselling helpful.

If you are unsure whether counselling is the right thing for you at present, you could ask yourself two useful questions.

  1. Do I want to make changes to myself, rather than just wanting my situation or the people around me to change?
  2. Am I prepared to consider the contribution I make to my difficulties?

If you can answer yes to these, it is likely that you will benefit from counselling. One further thing to consider is that you need to feel strong enough to bear the difficult emotions that may be touched on in the course of the counselling. In order to move forward you may have to go through a period of feeling worse than you are at present, before you can start to feel better. You need to be aware of this before agreeing to undertake counselling.

FAQ

You may have some questions so hopefully you will find the answers here. Please feel free to get in touch if you can’t find what you need here.

Location:

I work from my home in Aston Clinton, Buckingamshire, HP22 and on the border of Hertfordshire in easy reach of:

  • Aylesbury
  • Tring
  • Wendover
  • Berkhamsted
  • Northchurch
  • Aldbury
  • Princes Risborough
  • Cheddington
  • Hemel Hempstead
  • Amersham
  • Weston Turville
  • Wiggington
  • Cholesbury
  • St Leonards
  • Halton
I have plenty of onsite parking.

There is easy access to bus stops approx 100m away (Regular services for many bus routes between Aylesbury and Watford, as well as Stoke Mandeville, Pitstone, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard and other villages. Routes include: 500, 501, 61, 50)

Fees:

Individuals:

  • So that you can meet me before you decide if you want us to work together, I offer a free first 30 minute meeting, or a 50 minute first session charged at £30.
  • Further sessions are charged at £40 per session. Sessions are 50 minutes.
  • Concessionary rates may be negotiated dependent on individual circumstances. Please do ask if fees are a concern for you.

Couples:

  • Initial appointment £60
  • Assessment session £75
  • Further sessions are charged at £60 per hour

Payment

I accept payment by cash or card at the time of the appointment. I also accept payment by bank transfer before the appointment.

Appointment Times:

  • Appointments are available weekday daytimes and afternoons, and some weekday evenings.
  • I can also offer Skype/online counselling by request.
What is Counselling?

Counselling “offers you a safe confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and help you improve things.” British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Does Counselling Work For Everyone?

Counselling doesn’t suit everyone, it’s true. But it’s also true that for many people it does work well.

According to research by the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists, (BACP), up to three quarters of clients report improvement, when they compare before and after counselling. For more detail see: http://www.bacp.co.uk/research/resources/

Recent Studies from the International Centre For Clinical Excellence showed that 80% of clients in Counselling and Therapy end up better off than those who didn’t seek help.

At the beginning, you may feel worse before you feel better, as you are looking at difficult issues.

Why not just talk it through with a friend or family?

Although family and friends may want to help, counselling allows us to work with someone who is more detached. It offers a space separate from our everyday lives to feel, think and see clearly. We can reach a different understanding and sense of ourselves by working with a counsellor.

Will Anybody Need to Know I’ve Come to See You?

No. You do not need to inform anybody that you have come for counselling unless you wish to. It does not go onto your GP or medical records.

Confidentiality

I follow the BACP professional guidelines on confidentiality.

There are some limits to confidentiality which will be discussed at our initial meeting when we establish our working agreement. These limits are:

  • If you talk about causing harm to yourself or others, I may break confidentiality as a duty of care. I would discuss this with you first.
  • In keeping with professional good practice, I have supervision. In this, I may discuss issues or feelings which have emerged for me, but I do not identify any client. My supervisor won’t know who my clients are.
What if I miss a session?

If you know you're going to miss a session, please let me know and I am happy to re-arrange. Due to short notice cancellations, I operate a cancellation policy as follows:

  • Less than 48 hours notice - Full fee
  • Between 48-72 hour notice - Half fee
  • More than 72 hour notice - no fee

Contact Me

Sophy Winfield Dip Couns. MBACP
Aston Clinton, Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire HP22
Mobile: 07749 937706
Email: [email protected]