Counselling Twickenham, Whitton I work with:
counselling for depression
counselling for anxiety
survivors of rape
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I'm Greg. As an experienced counsellor at EnduringMind, I believe in providing clients with a compasionate, supportive environment for counselling in Teddington area. If you are struggling with your emotions and thoughts you will need an empathetic professional who can listen deeply to your struggles and help you understand them. I offer individual counselling to help people gain a sense of awareness about their emotions and psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress and panic attacks. I also provide couples counselling for relationships. As a counsellor in Twickenham (and counsellor in Teddington areas) there is help and support available for a variety of issues, but you need someone who is trained to actively listen to you and identify your concerns. Without being able to listen and respond to your needs the counsellor cannot choose the appropriate way of working that will support you. By building a strong rapport and listening to you the counsellor will be in a position to help.
Is your counsellor hearing you? Or listening to you?
Although your counsellor may be using both ears and hearing what you say, actively listening to you is quite different from hearing you. Hearing is simply a matter of sensory perception; noticing what’s been said. Hearing is something effortless, non-selective and comes as an automatic reflex. This is when the brain perceives and categorises certain sounds instinctively, without much thought or reflection. When your counsellor is listening, however, this is an altogether different skill. It’s an intentional process which involves listening and responding.
In other words, while listening, the counsellor will need to concentrate on the person speaking: focussing their attention on the theme, content and meaning of what is being said. They will also be selective about what’s being listened to. They need to be consciously aware of what they are listening to in their client’s narrative. Hearing is often only a reflex to hearing sounds and words, without actually responding to them in a meaningful way. While listening, a counsellor needs to take into account the social context, build a rapport and reflect on their knowledge of the person, while understanding and reading the body language of the person speaking.
Neurologists know that listening also interacts with different regions of the brain than hearing does. Listening engages the counsellor’s prefrontal cortex and mirror neurons in order to create a sense of empathy and rapport, whereas hearing involves only the posterior regions.
Most people believe that being expressive, articulate and having expert knowledge in their field is what is important to being a good counsellor. This is true to a certain extent; particularly with training and qualifications. However, being a good listener as a counsellor is absolutely essential.
Counsellors should all be good listeners, but not all of them are. Listening seems an easy skill to learn, but actually it’s difficult, especially when they are concerned with their own agenda, expertise and knowledge. When it comes to being good listeners, counsellors need to be good role models. When dealing with clients, counsellors need to use a great deal of active listening skills to correctly understand their issues and communicate with them.
Empathy – to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
Listening with an open mind – without prejudice
Listening to get important information
Reflective and mindful listening
If a counsellor is a good listener, he or she listens not only to what is being said, but also to what was left unsaid or only partially referred to. If you’re looking to be understood, your counsellor needs to listen to the underlying emotional content as well as the narrative (story). They need to pick up on repetitive patterns and hidden conflicts in the client’s words, to interpret what is being communicated unconsciously. Having a counsellor who can truly listen can greatly improve your understanding of yourself and others in relationships.
What makes a counsellor a good listener?
If you counsellor is a good listener they should be able to keep good eye contact, lean into the person speaking and make subtle gestures or body language to indicate they have understood what is being said. The counsellor will have an “open” body language, to show they are relaxed and grounded. While listening to their clients the counsellor will face them and sit at the same level to demonstrate a sense. They rarely become distracted from the speaker, except to reflect on what is being said. They will also be good observers of the client’s tone of voice, body language and gestures to get a good sense of the client’s overall emotional and psychological state of mind. Above all, if you counsellor is a good listener s/he will be genuine in the attention and interested in the subject of conversation.
While you are with your counsellor you may notice what makes him or her a good listener. It will take some degree of trust and rapport between you as you settle in, but you may find it will become second nature:
The counsellor will listen more than they talk.
The counsellor will stay focused on what is being said – and not need to plan what is going to be said next in their head.
They will not need to finish what the other person is saying or talk over them to often.
They counsellor will give appropriate feedback after some degree of reflection.
Occasionally they may provide brief summaries of what has been said, paraphrase the client or reflect back what has been said to clarify a point. This demonstrates focus on the other person and shows them they have been listening and attempted to understand what their client said.
The counsellor shows empathy and is able to put themselves in their client’s position without blurring the boundary between themselves and the client e.g. they even though they may sense what the client is feeling, they should not fully assume that they understand the client’s experience or perspective.
They can observe non-verbal cues that the client is transmitting and communicating while they are speaking e.g. the voice tone, eye-contact, the pace and rhythm of speech, gestures and micro expressions