Counselling & Psychotherapy


What are counselling and psychotherapy?

They are about helping people to deal with things mainly by talking about them. The things that people deal with in counselling are very varied. You not have to have something “wrong” with you in order to benefit from counselling – you do not have to be ill to get better.

Counselling is a therapy in the sense that it helps people to get better, sometimes from illnesses and sometimes in the ways in which they handle their lives. These days the words “counselling” and “psychotherapy” are often taken to mean almost the same thing.

John Talbut

I am an experienced counsellor/psychotherapist. I no longer seek to offer counselling or psychotherapy and I will do it if asked. The fee will go to Donington Training, which is not for profit.

I use an approach that I call Problem Focussed Educational Psychotherapy. It is educational because it involves learning to find your own ways of dealing with things, which usually includes learning to feel differently about things. I work at whatever level suits you, from logical problem solving to deep psychotherapy. It is problem focussed in that I try to focus on helping you to find more ways to be able to handle the problems that you identify.

Technically, it is client centred with a bias towards client direction. It is primarily humanistic and I also use some cognitive beavioural and psychodynamic methods. It has a basis of creative problem solving and Six Category Intervention Practice, see Helping the Client: A Creative Practical Guide.

Can you deal with anything?

Up to a point, yes. It does not make so much difference what people's particular concerns are. The sorts of things that can be at the root of different difficulties are essentially the same. However, the roots of each person's difficulties are unique. A specialist counsellor may think that they understand why people have a particular problem. I make no such assumptions. Although there may be similarities I help people to understand in their own way their own unique circumstances.

These are some of the issues that I have helped people with:

  • Alcohol or Drug Dependency
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma and other allergies
  • Bereavement
  • Chronic illness
  • ME
  • Crime
  • Relationships with children
  • Depression
  • Eating problems
  • Confidence
  • Marriage or other relationship problems
  • Panic attacks
  • PMT
  • Sex
  • The Menopause
  • Stress
  • Violence, either someone's own or from others

I also work with people who live with, care for or have some sort of relationship with somone who has some of these difficulties. Often people in this situation can feel frightened, desperate or unsupported. They may be the only person that someone will reach out to, make contact with or rely on for support. I can offer support to carers, help them to work through how it feels to be in this role, help them to understand a bit more about what is going on and help them to learn to care more effectively.

It may be that the skills that you mostly need are not in fact ones that I can offer. What I will then do is to help you to work out what it is you really need and how to get it. If you want it I can also offer ongoing support to you while you get, say, treatment or therapy elsewhere.

Does that mean you can sort out any problem that I might have?


What I do is help you to sort out problems in the best ways that you can. I may be able to help you make big changes in the way that you do things. I would hope at least to help you gain much more confidence in yourself. I may be able to give you information that will be helpful to you. It mostly depends upon what you are ready to do.

So what do you do?

Often, listen. In fact, if you know someone who will just listen to you try talking things out to them, it may be all the counselling that you need. Unfortunately most people have learned how not to listen. They interrupt, make judgements, try and sort things out for you and so on. I accept you just as you are and I accept that the way that you experience things is just how it is for you. I will not criticise or judge you and in particular, I won't be alarmed if you get upset.

I also do more than just listen. I can make suggestions, tell you about things and ask questions which will help you to explore the aspects of yourself which you need to explore.

I work in a way that is light and friendly. Your difficulties may be frightening enough - you do not need to be frightened of me. I am on your side

How is this going help me?

There will be two sides to things that concern you:

  • 1) What, in practical terms, can be done to improve the situation?
  • 2) What changes do you want to make and are you ready to make in yourself either in order to be able to do things differently or to be able to cope better in yourself with things as they are?

In other words, practicalities and feelings. Sometimes an issue is resolved if we learn to feel differently about it. Sometimes we need to feel differently in order to be able to do the things that make sense for us to do.

Talking through problems, especially with a skilled listener, is one of the best ways of finding solutions. In addition I may be able to give you information or make suggestions that you will find helpful.

Making changes in yourself and how you feel about things is something that is very possible if you are ready to do it. I have a lot of experience of helping people to do just that. There are many ways in which it can be done and I do not have fixed ideas about which way is best - except that the best ways are the ones that work for you. I work in a number of different ways and I seek to work with people to discover what works for each individual. And I will happily support you in finding other sorts of help if you come to feel that this is what you need.

Do you work with couples?

Yes, and with others who have some sort of relationship, for example parents and children. I often find in such cases that each person has very different ideas of what they want from counselling. Accordingly I will work with one of the people or with both or all together or separately, whatever they decide on.

What does it involve?

First you would make an appointment for an initial session. Normally sessions are on my premises, but I can arrange to come to you (although you would have to pay more). Sessions normally last for one hour, but again this can be negotiated.

In this initial session I will help you take a general look at the things that are concerning you. You will be able to experience what the counselling is like, without necessarily going into anything too deeply, and you will be able to see how you feel about me. Towards the end of the session I will discuss with you what seem to be the key issues and possible ways of approaching them.

If you decide, either then and there or subsequently, that you want to continue then further appointments can be made. You may decide to commit yourself to a number of sessions or you may decide from one session to the next what you want to do. I am quite willing to do long term counselling for an indefinite period if that is what you want and I encourage people to move on to ways in which they can help themselves as soon as they can.

Can I rely on you not telling anyone else what I have talked about?

Absolutely. Everything that goes on in a counselling session is totally confidential. Unlike many other agencies and counselling services, I do not even discuss with colleagues what has been said in sessions except in general terms and only if it is possible to do so without revealing who said what. If I am counselling people separately who are in a relationship I will not, even if requested, pass on information from the one person to the other. I do not keep notes of sessions.

How much does it cost?

A one hour session costs £50.

What if I miss an appointment?

If you let me know in advance then there is no problem. If you do not let me know then I may make a charge, but I will let you know in advance if this will apply to you.

I appreciate that people are often very apprehensive about starting counselling, and may well get “cold feet” at the last minute. If this happens to you, please get in contact with me whenever you are ready to. I would like to hear from you and I won't be angry with you.

Friendly disclaimer

I am not responsible for anything you do.

In fact, this is consistent with what I believe to be the central aim of ethical practice, which is to help people to become more in charge of their own lives. My aim is to help you to be more aware of the options that you have in any situation, to be more able to act on more of those options and to choose for yourself what to do.

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