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
- sexuality issues
- 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 seven years and in total, including voluntary work, I’ve been counselling for eleven 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 August 2018
This month’s thought
From my work as a counsellor over the years I have noticed that an underlying theme for many, if not most of us is a silent, insidious fear. If allowed free rein, it can stop us being who we truly are, keeping us small, trapped and limited. It is my belief that it is often fear that powers depression and anxiety and shapes our negative thinking. If we look at this fear, we can usually recognise the first layer because it’s more obvious – eg a fear of failure, of being judged, of not being good enough in some way or whatever it is for you.
However, closer scrutiny reveals that this fear is underpinned by a more existential fear – a fear of death. It can help to play ‘the worse case scenario game’ to find out what lies beneath your fear. For example – our questioning could go like this – ‘What is the worst possible outcome if I fail? I will lose my job. If I lose my job, I will lose my home and self respect. If I lose these, I will end up on the street. If I end up on the street, I will get so depressed I will lose the will to live. If I lose the will to live, I will die. Ahh! So now we have the bottom line – death.
Invariably, a fear of death lies at the bottom of our depression or anxieties. In the video below, French journalist Jean-Paul Mari looks at the fear of death experienced by war veterans and his own experience facing death as a war correspondent. He talks of the trauma of looking into the void of death and how not talking about it kills us. If we can confront death and look it in the face, we are revitalized. If we avoid it, and most of us do, a part of us dies anyway. Claire, an 18 year old American girl has been told she only has one year to live. Her lungs have been weakened by cystic fibrosis. Her video is below and it is very moving and inspiring to see the way she has not avoided it but embraced her death by living life exuberantly in the short time she has left.
We may not have experienced the extreme trauma that Jean-Paul speaks about or the limited life span that is Claire’s reality but most if not all of us, in one way or another carry trauma from our childhood experiences. It may be remembered or long forgotten but either way, a part of us remembers when our Mummy first left us as babies. There was a moment when our main carer, no matter how loving or vigilant she was, would not have immediately attended to our needs. It is in this moment when the terror of abandonment hits us and the very real fear of death sets in. It sets a blueprint for our life and although we know logically the abandonment of the other will not bring about our death unless we face it, and expose it for what is really is, the fear of death remains there keeping us small and afraid. Counselling can help us look at this and as Jean-Paul says when we verbalise something, we bring ourselves back into humanity. We bring ourselves back into life.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like a no obligation initial session to see if counselling with me can help you. Click here to email me
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