I also offer walk and talk as part of my flexible counselling arrangements.
Why single session counselling?
Different people need different things from counselling. Some people want proactive support that helps them by educating them about how their mind works and how they can change the way they’re thinking. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might help here. Some people like to have plenty of time to talk about things that may have happened recently or maybe from their history and many of the talking therapies will help here. Some people just want to talk something through to clear their minds and this is where single session counselling can be helpful.
If you have a problem and you’re looking for a solution, single session counselling maybe what you need. Single session counselling can support you to focus on the problem and help you call upon resources you may already have to resolve it. What the counsellor does is to ask questions that help you look at the problem in a number of ways and from different angles, which makes like the counsellor holding you to account to resolve the problem.
Planned single session therapy means that a questionnaire could be sent out to help you look at the problem from different angles, here are some examples: how important is it to you that this is resolved and what will change? When have you solved problems in the past and what helped you to resolve it? Single session can be held as a drop-in service and can be highly successful in dealing with troublesome issues. However, like planned single session counselling there are questions that are likely to be asked to help with understanding the nature of the problem and how important it is to you to resolve it.
Single session therapy is therefore very useful for that problem you feel you can’t talk to anyone about because ‘they’ won’t understand why you feel the way you do. Single session counselling is not helpful however for traumatic experiences that need in-depth therapy with a specialist trauma psychotherapist, counsellor or psychologist.
Undertaking single session therapy doesn’t just mean that you can’t have another (or a series) session if that is what you decide is needed. This is something that can be discussed during a session.
It is also possible to have ‘one at a time’ therapy. Having had one single session, you can have another at a time convenient to you and your therapist. Which can be repeated from time to time if that is what works for you.
My aim here is to help you to realise there is more than one way to get help and support when you need it. Other types of therapy or walk and talk (out in nature), CBT which I mentioned earlier, creative therapy and some very specialised ways such as play therapy and Art therapy. There is a wide range of therapeutic styles and modalities, and it is for you to decide what you think will work for you.
NB: If you want to know more about single session therapy, as a practitioner, take a look at Windy Dryden’s “The Single-Session Counselling Primer”
The one minute meditation
Tip: speak this gently into your mobile phone’s recording device and listen to your own voice reminding you what to do:
- Sit erect in a straight-backed chair. If possible bring your back a little way from the rear of the chair so that your spine is self-supporting. Your feet can be flat on the floor. Close your eyes or lower your gaze.
- Focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Stay in touch with the different sensations of each in-breath and each out-breath. Observe the breath without looking for anything special to happen. There is no need to alter your breathing in any way.
- After a while your mind may wander. When you notice this, gently bring your attention back to your breath, without giving yourself a hard time – the act of realising that your mind has wandered and bringing your attention back without criticising yourself is central to the practice of mindfulness meditation.
- Your mind may eventually become calm like a still pond – or it may not. Even if you get a sense of absolute stillness, it may only be fleeting. If you feel angry or exasperated, notice that this may be fleeting too. Whatever happens, just allow it to be as it is.
- After a minute, let your eyes open and take in the room again.
Always learning …..
I feel like I’m learning something new each time I see a client, so I like to bring fresh (relevant) ideas to my clients to support their knowledge about how they got to be who they are. With that in mind I’ve just bought Janina Fishers’ new book: Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma – A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists. On the front cover there’s a quote from Bessel van der Kolk saying that it should be part of every therapist’s skill set. I’m really looking forward to working my way through it and putting into practice some of the tips and techniques with my trauma clients.
So that may sound like I work with my clients the same way each time, but a big part of working in a person centred way is being sure it’s the right thing, that the client is in a place where it would benefit them AND that each client is agreeable to trying something different. Rather like when I work with creativity, I do it in a way that suits the client.
If you don’t know Janina Fisher, PhD she is described as an “International expert on trauma, [with] over 40 years helping survivors navigate the healing journey.”
Update on managing worry
Grounding Techniques 5
rub your arms and legs firmly.
sit down and tap the front of your legs, above the knees alternately, in rhythm with your heart, slowing gradually. (Tip you can do easily this when you’re out and about, sitting at a table or in the bathroom)
Grounding Techniques 4
Find your boundaries:
- Wrap yourself in a blanket
- Find a pillow/cushion/cuddly toy to cuddle
- Go to bed
- Whatever you need to do to help yourself, and to give the child part in you time to recover
- Remember, flashbacks are a normal part of healing from trauma
Grounding Techniques 3
Move your body:
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- Stamp your feet. Notice the sensation and sound as they hit the floor. Remind yourself you can run now.
- Move around. Take your time and notice the movement of each step and notice how your legs, arms, feet and hands feel while you move.
- Hold your shoulders right up to the ears and let them drop. Repeat as many times as it takes to release tension.
- Clap and rub your hands together. Hear the noise and feel the sensations in your hands and arms.
Grounding Techniques 2
Check your five senses:
- Say out loud what you are experiencing as you check in with each of your senses:
- Smell – what can you smell? Pick up something that you like and smell it deeply. A soothing smell is the fastest way to signal calm and safety to your nervous system.
- Touch – what can you touch around you? How does the chair you are sitting on or the clothes on your body feel? Hold a warm cup of tea in your hands or a cold bottle against your face. Notice the sensations.
- Sight – what can you see around you? Say out loud what you can see. Describe it in detail – the colours, the shapes, the objects.
- Taste – can you taste anything? Say out loud what the last thing you ate tasted like. Describe it in detail – was it sweet? Sour? Did you like it?
- Sound – what can you hear? Describe in detail what you can hear – is it traffic? Birds? Your own breathing? People talking?
Grounding Techniques 1
- Sit on a chair, place both feet flat on the floor, and breathe slowly and steadily into your belly so it expands.
- Breathe in for a count of two – breathe out for a count of four.
- Keep your focus on the breath – on the way in and on the way out.
- Breathe this way for at least five minutes or until your breath becomes more calm and regular.