Having people in your everyday life that you can talk to openly and honestly about certain things is hugely beneficial for us all.

But therapy offers something more than that.

We get enough advice and opinions from the outside world which can often be overwhelming and unhelpful.

And there’s plenty of things about ourselves and our behaviours that we haven’t even acknowledged or understood and will never be truly explored with those closest to us.

What therapy offers is a safe setting for you to explore all this and your inner world without any fear of judgement or recriminations. A unique space for self-reflection.

It provides an invaluable opportunity to explore all aspects of self, in order to improve the connection and relationship we have with ourselves and those around us.

Some modes of therapy are more directive/interventionist in nature (e.g. CBT) but that’s not how I approach therapy.

As humans we know ourselves and our life story better than anyone, so I let clients lead me during our therapeutic journey together, as they get to know themselves and how they function much more honestly. This approach ensures the work we do is pressure-free.

During the therapeutic process I also help people work through issues and figure things out for themselves. Enabling clients to be in control of this and find their own answers can really boost people’s self-esteem and self-awareness, whilst increasing confidence levels and easing anxieties.

counselling and therapy
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Together we may try and make sense of past, present and future relationships, understand symptoms, explore coping strategies, attachment styles, defences and thinking styles, among other things.

We go in a journey together. Progress is not linear and it does not follow a simple timeline described in a self-help book because, ultimately, we are all so unique as individuals.

Essentially, talking is a very powerful medicine and often we don’t realise the weight of something we’ve been carrying until we feel the weight of its release during therapy.

Respected American psychologist Jonathan Shedler, PhD, has recently highlighted 10 signs of psychotherapy progress which I’ve detailed below.

Shedler’s 10 signs of therapeutic progress

  • Great attachment/security/sense of safety in relationships
  • More integrated and coherent experience of both self and others
  • Increased sense of personal agency
  • More realistic and reliable self-esteem
  • Greater resilience and improved affect regulation
  • Greater capacity for both self-reflection and understanding of others’ experience
  • Increased comfort in functioning both independently and interdependently
  • More robust sense of vitality and aliveness
  • Enhanced capacity for acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude
  • Movement towards more mature and flexible defences

“You may believe that living life to the fullest is seeing every
country in the world and quitting your job on a whim and
falling recklessly in love, but it’s really just knowing how to
be where your feet are. It’s learning how to take care of
yourself, how to make a home within your own skin. It’s
learning how to build a simple life you are proud of. A life
most fully lived is not always composed of the things that
rock you awake, but those that slowly assure you it’s okay
to slow down. That you don’t always have to prove
yourself. That you don’t need to fight forever, or constantly
want more. That it’s okay for things to be just as they are.
And when those big moments come, which they will, you’ll
feel them in a way you couldn’t before. You’ll experience
them in a way you didn’t before. You’ll appreciate them
because you’ll be able to fully be in them. Little by little,
you will begin to see that life can only grow outward in
proportion to how stable it is inward – that if the joy is not
in the little things first, the big things don’t fully find us.”

Brianna Wiest

If you are interested in starting counselling, you can email me on andywestoncounselling@gmail.com

More information about me can be found, here.