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.
This month’s thought
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He was one of the few to survive Auschwitz and in his fight to survive, he closely observed his fellow prisoners. Some seemed more able to endure the daily horrors they experienced and others didn't. Frankl saw that it wasn't a matter of physical or even emotional strength - something else was going on. What he realised was that those who survived were able to find meaning in their suffering.
'When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.' Frankl in 'Man's Search for Meaning'.
So how does this translate to us now, to our lives and our own suffering? For me, it means that even if I feel like I am a victim or feel stressed by life's downs, I can choose to see this as a challenge to change myself. I can also choose how I respond to the challenge. I'll give you an example; two years ago my house was flooded on Boxing Day. Looking at the flood waters lapping through the door, I was devastated. I then had a series of thoughts.
1. Am I going to do my best with insurance companies, builders etc? Answer YES
2. Will the house be restored to the best of my ability? Answer YES
3. Will the house be restored if I am sad and upset by this? YES
4. Will the house be restored if I'm OK with this? YES
And so I chose to be OK about it because the end result was the same whether I was sad or not. I might as well be OK with this, I thought to myself, because I didn’t want to have months feeling miserable about it and then have to deal with the negative impact this would have on those I’m close to. Being at peace with it would also impact on many other aspects of my life and may even make the end result better. It was an act of choice to be at peace with it rather than dwelling on the awfulness of it. Now, I'm not saying this was always easy and there were times that were very frustrating for me when dealing with the loss adjustors and insurance company. However, this experience of house flooding taught me a lot about acceptance of how things are and although powerless to change the event, I can find power in the choices I make on how I respond to it.
My point is that at some level YOU too can choose; to do something different about your troubles or to stay the same? A starting place could be to have a look at Frankl's book if the above interests you or you might want to start the counselling process. It really IS up to you.