Counsellor, therapeutic group facilitator and supervisor based near Hebden Bridge, Halifax.
My name is Amelie Lavan and I am a qualified, experienced counsellor offering counselling to individuals, groups and children in school settings. I also offer supervision to other therapists. I have fifteen years counselling experience which includes many years voluntary work with Cruse Bereavement Care. I was also a secondary and university teacher for many years and have post graduate qualifications in education. I’m also a qualified family constellations facilitator. For me, the goal of counselling is to help people reclaim or find for the first time a sense of peace and purpose in their lives; lives which up to now feel ‘hi-jacked’ by depression, anxiety or loss of any kind. Our work together will explore your internal set up so that you can recognise what works well for you and what needs refiguring. We will find tools which will help liberate you from what keeps you stuck. If you're interested in joining a therapeutic group, please look at the group section on this website. My private practice is in Warley, West Yorkshire which is a few minutes drive from Halifax, Hebden Bridge or Huddersfield. We are also able to work effectively on line via Zoom, Skype or telephone.
What is counselling?
What is counselling?
At times, all of us feel afraid, anxious, lost, depressed or frustrated. It’s our psyche’s way of telling us there is something important which needs our attention. When we understand these feelings and find the courage to face them, we can then heal ourselves or make positive changes. It’s very hard to do this by ourselves because we’re too close to the problem so this is where counselling comes in. With me as your counsellor, we start a process together to help you discover what your present problem is trying to tell you. When we have clarity on the real nature of the problem, then we can work out strategies to deal with it. Why is this so hard to work out for ourselves, you might ask? This is because many of our ways of behaving and responding to events are unconscious to us. We’re so familiar with them we just don’t see them. It’s a bit like walking past a piece of furniture you’ve had for years - you know it’s there but you don’t really see it. Our unique inner set up 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
- bereavement and loss of any kind
- panic attacks
- low self esteem
- anger and irritation
- relationship difficulties
- 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 eleven years and in total, including voluntary work, I’ve been counselling for fifteen 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 secondary and adult education, so I have a degree and other post graduate qualifications relevant to education and teaching. I am also a qualified family constellation facilitator.
For many years I was an accredited bereavement counsellor, group facilitator 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.
It seems appropriate this month to talk about loss. We are all experiencing loss in many forms - loss of freedom, of connection with others, of peace of mind and some sadly, will be experiencing the loss of a loved person. Psychologically, what happens when we experience loss? Loss can trigger our very early attachment issues - that moment of feeling abandoned by a parent who was not there for us when we needed her/him. The world can feel very scary and unpredicatable and our need to assert some form of control can be heightened. These are all normal responses and of course, their intenstiy depends on the degree of loss we're experiencing and how it hits our system. So, what to do about it? The first thing is to notice how you feel - try to put a name on the feeling. It might be 'irritable', 'sad', 'afraid'. You might then want to ask this feeling what it needs from you - imagine it as a young part of you which is feeling this. When you ask, come from a place of curiosity rather than judgment. This part of you is only trying its best to keep you safe. If you can give yourself what you need, then the feeling will subside. Even acceptance that you are feeling this can help ease your inner state. Writing feelings down or sharing them with someone you trust can also help externalise the feeling. It is NOT you but a (usually young) part of you which is feeling overwhelmed or scared right now. Getting outside in nature and exercising can also help support an overburdened inner system. Endorphins are released with exercise which improves our mood and being outside in nature restores our systems. Lastly, I would recommend not allowing your harsh, inner critic too much airplay. You are doing your best and it's time to ease up on yourself. Be kind! Be gentle!