On this page I have listed a few questions people have asked me in the past about counselling, “therapy” and the limits and boundaries of confidentiality – to name but a few. If you have any questions you’d like to ask, please send me a message and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can.
The answer is plain and simple: No, I will not.
You are the expert of your life, you carry the ultimate responsibility for the choices you make and the behaviour you choose. Only you know the intricate details of your life, only you have lived through your past, only you can envisage the dreams for your future.
As a counsellor I can listen, ask questions, make suggestions, and help you chart your own way forward.
Confidentiality is the key to counselling, coaching and therapy. I am bound by ethic codes of the organisations I am affiliated to, or that I a member of.
I believe in the need of privacy and confidentiality. Information shared in our sessions (wether they take place in my real or in my virtual room) will remain confidential.
However, there are (legal) limitations to that confidentiality:
- if you are a minor your guardians are entitled - with limitations - to get certain information that is related to your immediate safety and security;
- if you express an intent to hurt yourself or others, or to damage property, than I am obliged to engage third parties to make sure that everybody's safety is guaranteed.
No, I can't.
I can hear what you say, and with what intensity you say it.
I can observe how you move, respond, breathe, and sit.
I can be as quiet as needs be so you can hear your own thoughts, feelings, moods, and hopes.
And I can reflect back to you what I see, to check in with you if what I see resonates for you.
What is the most interesting in our interaction is not what I think, but how you feel, and the journeys that your mind makes.
Mind-reading - if it were at all possible - is not in the least interesting...
I am a trained Counselling Psychologist and use the skills, tools and knowledge to engage with my clients in a constructive and respectful way so they can find solutions, pathways and movements towards growth that enable them, their loved ones and their communities to live honest, truthful, productive and cooperative lives.
If "therapy" means what it used to mean, in olden Greek days - as "therapeia": care - than I do hope to provide therapy to the people I engage with, professionally. You can find more about the type of interaction I offer on this page.
I appreciate what, Irvin Yalom, a renowned thinker and therapist once wrote: “To care of another individual means to know and to experience the other as fully as possible.”
If "therapy" means a generally accepted intervention of a therapist with a patient, than the answer is: "No". I do not provide therapy in that sense. I do not believe in "psychopathology" as many psychiatrists and many psychotherapists tend to use that word. Much of contemporary mental health care has become colonised by approaches to the mind and soul that I do not subscribe to, and by pharmaceutical companies that tend to find "diseases" for "medicines" they have developed. See this leading website for alternative views on mental health.
Instead, I like what psychiatrist Thomas Szasz once said: "'Psychotherapy' is a private, confidential conversation that has nothing to do with illness, medicine, or healing."
A wise man once wrote in this regard: "The person is not the problem - the problem is the problem." I agree with those words. I do not appreciate labels very much: they muddy the waters and are not helpful in finding wholesome solutions. Whether you are "sick" or not is, in the field of mental health, most often a matter of perception and not a matter of fact. Sometimes life throws things at us that push us off-balance: that is part of human life.
I think it is much more interesting and more helpful to observe people's strengths, and - if needs be - improve those than it is to focus on what seems not to be "working".
Problems can be overwhelming and it is important to distinguish between the person on the one hand, and on the issue that is causing problems on the other hand.
One seemingly simple step on the path to healing and growth is to separate a feeling from who you are as a person. Practically this means learning to say "I feel sad" instead of "I am sad". Feelings come and go, like the tides. Changing a feeling, or allowing a feeling to come and go (like sadness or anxiety or depression or anger) is much more manageable than trying to change who or what it is you are...
James Hillman said it beautifully: "We can't change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently."