Counsellor and supervisor based near Hebden Bridge, Halifax.
Are you struggling with anxiety, low mood, depression or anger? Maybe some areas of your life are not working, and you don’t know how to change them or how to have a more fulfilling life. My name is Amelie Lavan and I am a qualified, experienced counsellor offering counselling to individuals. My private practice is near Mytholmroyd, in West Yorkshire. It is also within easy reach of Halifax, Hebden Bridge or Huddersfield, just off the main A646 road from Halifax to Burnley.
What is counselling?
All of us have largely unconscious ways of behaving and responding to events, which are unique to us. This is a result of our life’s experiences, especially our early childhood ones and how we interpreted or made sense of them at the time. Some parts of us are healthy and respond appropriately to whatever is going on inside and outside ourselves. However, all of us have aspects which do not respond in appropriate ways. They come to the fore when we feel stressed or are experiencing difficult events. Inevitably, our relationship both to ourselves and to others is affected. Counselling is a process where we increase our awareness of our own patterns of behaviour and identify which ones are limiting us in some way. We start noticing things which we haven’t seen before, and start to see how they are holding us back. The more self aware we become of our patterns, the more we are able to assess which ones need to be challenged or changed in some way. We also need to acknowledge our healthy aspects and give them space so they can be nurtured. If you’re reading this website, this process has already begun. You are on the first step to changing your awareness so that you can have a better, more rewarding life.
How can counselling help me?
Counselling is a subtle process and is probably unlike anything else you’ve ever done. If you feel relaxed and safe enough, you will share things which you may not have shared with anyone else. The work can be demanding and challenging at times, but it is deeply rewarding and the benefits can be positively life changing. You will not be alone as you go on this inward journey. I will be with you as your counsellor. The work will be done in a confidential, empathic and respectful way. We will also go at a pace and to a depth which feels right for you now.
You may want to look at issues such as
- panic attacks
- low self esteem
- anger and irritation
- relationship difficulties
- spiritual concerns
- sexual/emotional/physical abuse
How long will it take?
Counselling just takes the time it takes and it’s hard to predict how long that might be for you. You may find that you only need three or four sessions and that this is enough to relieve your current concerns. Some people, though, recognise that their patterns are deep seated and have built up over a long period of time. These patterns can’t be challenged or changed quickly because our defence systems kick in. We need to go slowly and with great respect for the self who really just wants to keep you safe. In this case, we need to work for a longer period of time. Whatever you decide, our work together will aim to support changes you want to make so that you are able to manage better all the challenges that life brings.
Post qualification, I have been counselling for eight years and in total, including voluntary work, I’ve been counselling for twelve years. My training is in integrative counselling (Leeds University 2008-2011). I have a counselling certificate and a post-graduate diploma in integrative counselling (Psychotherapy and Counselling). Before that I was in adult education, so I have a degree and other post graduate qualifications relevant to education and teaching.
For many years I was an accredited bereavement counsellor and supervisor with Cruse Bereavement Care, in York and Huddersfield. Cruse is a national bereavement charity.
I am a supervisor which means I offer supervision to other counsellors. All counsellors (in recognised counselling bodies in the U.K.) agree to be supervised as it is a mandatory requirement if we want to be accepted into a professional body. My supervisees come from a variety of counselling modalities and work settings.
I am a member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and I use the BACP’s ethical framework to guide my working practice. This framework includes aspects of working such as confidentiality, working within my qualifications and experience and having regular supervision.
Thoughts for the month.
Not much is written about shame in psychotherapy literature and it doesn’t seem to feature much in psychotherapy training courses. If you feel the weight of shame in your body or heart, what do you do about it? Recently, I had a client who experienced massive, immobilizing shame and this brought up reflections on my own internal shame. Shame is different from guilt, although the two often dance together, impacting on each other. Shame derives from some sense of having failed, of not having achieved some outside standard and for being judged for that. We may not have done anything ‘wrong’ but our sense of failing to make the grade or not fulfil others’ expectations of us leaves us with a dented self esteem. Our very sense of self and who we are is affected and we often feel powerless to do anything about it. Guilt, on the other hand, often comes from doing or not doing something which we feel we ‘should have done’. Our actions have contravened some mutually held rules, which questions our loyalty to the group. In a sense, guilt is less painful than shame because with guilt it is not our self esteem which is under attack but our actions and we can make amends or at least try to, which goes some way to lessen the pain. We also can defend against both of these feelings by projecting our pain onto others and blaming them for our suffering. So, as you see shame and guilt are complex and worthy of further investigation. How does shame and guilt frame your inner life? If you can feel them or their edges, welcome! I think it’s part of being human so we’re in it together and can explore this further through counselling. You can also explore these themes by looking at Youtube videos or Ted talks.