If something is bothering you emotionally it can feel difficult to know what to do about it. Just making the first step to finding a counsellor can be a big step towards feeling better.
In counselling, you are encouraged to explore your thoughts and feelings in a confidential and supportive space. You might have a strong sense of what is troubling you, or you might not feel so clear – either way we gently look at what is going on for you, and often this can give you a new perspective and greater insight into whatever is causing you distress.
"Sarah is incredibly warm and would make anyone feel at ease and able to pour out their thoughts and fears. I did just that and after a couple of sessions began to see my thoughts and feelings in some perspective. Even see the funnier side of my darker moments." (Sophie, Edinburgh)
Counselling is completely confidential and I work with people in many different situations, including:
Counselling for infertility:
If you are struggling to conceive or remain pregnant, it can be a very isolating experience for a variety of reasons. Some people feel as though they have ‘failed’ in some way, and others don’t want to tell people in case they ‘get left behind.’ Finding a confidential space to talk about how you’re really feeling, without worrying about judgement, can help support you.
Counselling in Pregnancy:
Many women report feeling low or anxious during pregnancy, and think that this is just due to hormonal changes or tiredness. How you feel during your pregnancy can affect both you and your baby, and often counselling helps people realise where these feelings come from.
Being anxious or depressed during pregnancy is more common than we think, and getting help at this stage is a great way to start your relationship with your unborn child, as it can help change patterns of thinking that you didn’t even realise were there.
Counselling in pregnancy has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of developing postnatal depression, whether or not you have a diagnosed mental health issue in pregnancy.
"There were times in labour when I wondered if I could cope with what lay ahead but then I remembered some of the things we discussed and that put me back on track again... ...Thank you so much for all your help in getting me ready mentally. There were a lot of issues following my first birth which I hadn't addressed at all before speaking to you. Having worked through my biggest fears and anxieties with you I was able to deal with them head on and stay in control. I think it was one of the main factors in getting the birth we really wanted." (L, Edinburgh)
Counselling after Birth:
At least 1 in 10 women will have postnatal depression or anxiety after having a baby (although the figure is possibly much higher), and it doesn’t always start until a several months after the baby is born. If you find you are struggling, whether or not you have a diagnosis of postnatal depression or anxiety, having a supportive space to talk about your feelings can ‘normalise’ your experience and help you realise what might be preventing you from enjoying this stage.
Postnatal anxiety can be harder to notice than postnatal depression, because it's not as talked about. If you're struggling as a mother but not sure you have depression, it might help to hear some of Sarah's thoughts on Radio 4, talking with Jenni Murray about postnatal anxiety.
Counselling for Birth Trauma:
If you find yourself traumatised by the birth of your child (even if it seemed ‘normal’) counselling can help you move on rather than being ‘stuck’ with the feelings. If you are still having flashbacks or find that certain things trigger extreme anxiety, this is not normal and can be resolved. Counselling for trauma can seem slightly different to other kinds of counselling, since we take care to make sure that you feel very relaxed and in control during the sessions.
Counselling before getting pregnant:
Some people find that they are scared of getting pregnant (called Tokophobia). This can happen to first time parents, or after struggling with a previous birth. Often judgement (our own, or other people’s) can interfere with our ability to move forward. Counselling can provide a judgement-free zone where you can explore where your fears come from and what that means for you, helping you make decisions with greater insight and kindness towards yourself.
Counselling before returning to work:
It can be hard to balance lots of competing pressures as a parent, and this can be especially true when returning to work. Talking to someone about your feelings can help you make more sense of them, remove any judgement and feel more peace in the decisions that you make.
Counselling due to a life event such as bereavement, loss of a job, or anything else:
Life doesn’t stop when you’re pregnant or have a baby, and it can be even harder to cope with big losses when you are adjusting to the life event of having a baby. Many people don’t have time to process the loss of a loved one whilst they are pregnant, and the emotions can start to affect them after the baby is born.
Life events such as losing a job or moving house can also take their toll. Expecting yourself to cope can put you under a lot of strain that can come out in ways that you find upsetting. Counselling can give you that extra bit of support to process what has gone on for you.
"I have just completed 8 sessions with Sarah, and I can honestly say that when I think back to how poorly I was a few weeks ago compared to how I feel now, I am like a different person." (Kirsty, Edinburgh)
Prices, location, logistics and timings:
Sessions are 1hr long and we meet once a week unless otherwise agreed. It is difficult to know how long it will take, but I recommend people to allow for a minimum of 6-10 sessions.
Counselling is not always the best option and I am not always the right person for you to work with, and if we decide not to work together we will consider other options during the initial consultation.
For self-funded clients, sessions cost between £45-75, and we can discuss costs when we decide if we are going to work together. If you have health insurance through Axa or Vitality, please discuss this with me as they will sometimes pay for counselling services.
Sessions happen in my welcoming room here or via Zoom, a secure video meeting service. This can be helpful if you live far away, have difficulty accessing sessions due to lack of childcare, or else you don’t feel comfortable leaving your home for any other reason.
If you are a new mother, we need to consider whether you bring your baby or not. Sometimes it is a helpful part of our work together to have the baby there, and sometimes you might need to have space without your baby. We can discuss this when we first meet, with or without the baby. I generally don’t recommend that babies who are moving a lot attend sessions (often from 6 months upwards), as that can make it very hard for you to have the space you may need.
I’m really happy to chat about any of these things, so please get in contact if you would like more information.