What is counselling like?
Counselling will be a different experience for everyone. I strive to meet your individual needs based on your unique set of circumstances. What happens during the course of your therapy will be based on what changes you would like in your life. We may explore your needs and how they are currently being met. Many people want to talk about relationships. We may review choices you have made and their consequences. You may wish to learn new ways of thinking. Potential solutions such as relaxation or mindfulness techniques, role-playing, art, self-help and external resources can be discussed. Our focus will be on meeting your needs and achieving your goals.

Is what I say in counselling kept confidential?
I follow the professional ethical guidelines of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). This means information about your counselling sessions is not shared with anyone without your expressed permission. There are some exceptions to confidentiality according the Children First guidelines and if there is a risk of harm to you or another person. We will speak about confidentiality in the first session so you are fully informed.

How long will I have to be in counselling?
Many problems can be dealt with in a brief period of time, but this is not always the case. There is no magic number or formula to determine how long it may take. Typically clients chose to come for six sessions and often report changes when we review their progress. We will speak regularly about your therapy goals and ensure your needs are being met. Please bring this topic up at any time during therapy and I will openly share my thoughts. You are the person who decides when you have done enough work.

When will I start to feel better?
Again, there is no set timetable for how long it will take until you feel better. Relief may come from a variety of sources, including making changes in your thoughts, behaviours, relationships and choices. This may take time to achieve, however, many people report counselling can be helpful even after the first session. This may be because of the relief that comes from deciding to seek help, or an opportunity to speak about problems for the first time with someone who is impartial and nonjudgmental.

What approaches are used in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD & EUPD)?
DBT is the recommended treatment for BPD. Developing a supportive relationship through weekly sessions helps the client to stay focused and motivated.  The cornerstone of DBT involves learning a skill set.  Mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness will be applied to your personal life. In many programmes, this is done in a group setting.  I do not offer group therapy and my approach is more tailored to your individual situation.  Experience has shown that psychodynamic approaches and family systems theory help clients to gain an understanding of how their personalities were formed.  Through this deeper understanding clients can heal past hurts and traumas resulting in a calmer more peaceful experience of life.  My approach, therefore, is an integrated one incorporating the principles of DBT.

What are some common myths about counselling?

Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Contrary to this belief, it takes a great deal of emotional strength to seek help for problems that may be too overwhelming to manage alone. It takes real courage to face our problems and seek solutions rather than ignoring them and hoping they will magically go away.

A therapist will fix my problems right away.
The goal of counselling is not for someone else to “fix” your problems. I am here to help you identify those concerns and to gain more clarity about your situation. You can explore your options and make a decision for how to best achieve your goals. YOU are expert in your life so therefore the best one to address your problems. With support you will gain confidence to do just this.

A therapist can’t understand what I am going through, because they’re not going through it themselves.
It is true each individual is unique and it is difficult to achieve a complete understanding of another’s situation. However, this is what I have trained to do. I will learn about, be sensitive to, and respectful of all your experiences.

I have good friends to confide in so I don’t need therapy. Therapy is only for people who don’t have anyone to talk to.
It is wonderful to have good friends whom we trust. They are an invaluable resource. Sometimes we may not wish to burden friends with our problems or we may need to speak to somebody who is impartial to gain an unbiased view or a completely new perspective. Also therapists receive extensive training (in my case 5 years) and are required to up-skill annually to ensure they are providing up to date evidence-based treatment.

Going to therapy means I have a mental health problem.
Therapy is a preventative measure. Talking about challenging life situations prevents us becoming overwhelmed and developing poor mental health. We exercise and pay attention to our diet to look after our physical health. Similarly therapy is like a work out to keep the mind in good shape.

Please call me now on 086 3835910 or email me at info@engagecounselling.ie if you would like to talk about your specific situation.