My practice has changed with Covid-19, and since March 2020 I have only been meeting clients online. We are all sharing this pandemic, we all know what lockdown and quarantine mean, and how they feel. It’s another aspect of the human condition we now share. But your experience of it is different to mine, and even though we are going through it together, it will feel unique to us all.
So much around us has changed since March 2020, and as time goes on, there doesn’t seem to be much let up. Many of us have found our mental health suffering over this period, and are finding it harder to enjoy our lives as we used to. We might have had more time on our hands, and found ourselves using this time to go over our pasts or our futures. If we’ve had to spend more time on our own, voices from our pasts might have started making themselves heard in our heads. Living within a global pandemic means we may have been forced to confront fears of death, both our own, those close to us, and nameless thousands of others.
Whatever the pandemic has brought to you, talking about it can help. Counselling is a place where you can say the unsayable and show the parts of yourself, both those you are proud of, and the parts you’d rather hide. There is something about having the space to do this that is healing, and can help you make sense of yourself and your life.
In March 2020, like many of us, I moved my counselling practice online. I was someone who didn’t want to work online, and who thought that online sessions were second best to working face to face. I was nervous about using the technology, and didn’t like being able to see my own face on screen.
Over the last six months I have embraced online working. I have re-trained, learnt how to use the technology and have got used to what I look like.
More than that, I have seen how working online has benefits for the client. Seeing a counsellor online means that you can be in a place that you choose, somewhere safe and comfortable. The relationship has become more equal: we are both in our own spaces, we are both making the connection. The relationship is just as deep, as nuanced and as helpful – the relationship is in a new place, but it works just the same.
Working online, I work in a dedicated room in Edinburgh. I use Zoom, and will send you an email invitation to join our session on the morning of the day we meet. You will need a safe place for counselling: somewhere you can’t be overheard and won’t be interrupted. The time before and after a session can be important processing time, and you might want to think about how you’ll manage that.
When working face to face, I work from a room in Newington: a couple of minutes walk from a bus stop. There is also on-street parking. From the city centre, It’s about 15 minutes on the bus from Princes St, or, if you prefer, a 30-40 minute walk. From Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, it’s a few minutes bus ride, or a 20 minute walk. I’ll send you full details when we arrange our first session.
My room is up two flights of stairs. There is a toilet.
For all sessions, I charge £45 for a 50 minute session. I accept payment in cash, bank transfer or cheque.
The best way to contact me is by email. I’ll do my best to answer your enquiry as soon as I can – normally within a couple of days. Let me know how you would like me to contact you.
Ideally, we’ll meet at the same time and place every week, and sessions will normally last 50 minutes. In our first session we’ll talk a little bit about what your expectations are, and about the issues that bring you to counselling. In this first session, we’ll agree on our boundaries, including, most importantly, the confidentiality of our work. We might also think about how long we might plan to work together. This first session is a way for us to find out if we’ll be able to work together.
Once we have agreed to work together, we’ll work on what you want to bring, and I will do my best to build a trusting relationship between us where you can bring anything and everything – even your most frightening and uncomfortable things. I think counselling works two ways: firstly when we talk about the thoughts and feelings that have been troubling us, hearing them out loud can make them clearer, and can give us new insights and understandings.
Secondly, I believe there is something magical and healing about the counselling relationship. It is a place where you are fully heard and fully accepted. Experiencing this gives us a freedom from judgment, expectations and agendas – a freedom to be our best selves.
I am a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist, and I am a registered member of BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. This means that I am bound by a code of ethics in my work, and that my clients have access to a service called Ask Kathleen. This is a place where clients can raise concerns or ask questions about their therapy.
I am a person-centred counsellor, and this means that I believe my client is the expert in their own journey; that I am not here to give advice or instructions. Instead, our relationship will give you the space and place to explore difficult parts of your life, uncomfortable feelings and current problems. I will be there with you, and together we can go to any dark places you feel you need to.
Because I am working with a person, rather than a diagnosis or a label, I can work with you, whatever you bring. I have worked with clients with depression, anxiety, a history of childhood sexual abuse, a history of growing up in care, a history of childhood abuse, marriage and relationship difficulties including domestic abuse, and trauma. I’m happy to work with clients who bring particular issues they’d like to explore, and with clients who aren’t sure what they want to work on, but who have a feeling that counselling will help improve their life.
If you’d like to know more about the theoretical background to my work, try here.
If you’d like to know more about what to expect from our work together, try here.
I bring to my work as a counsellor a rich life experience. Before training as a counsellor, I worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language – teaching mainly adults in Asia and Europe. Living and working in different countries had a profound impact on me, it gave me a broad experience of different cultures, and opened me to how it feels to be and feel different from the norm.
I have also worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for a number of years, including five years in the control room answering 999 calls. I sometimes thought that I had heard everything – normally just before I took a call describing another unbelievable situation! In this role, I certainly heard people at their most vulnerable. It also means I have first hand experience of working in a high pressure environment. I also have an understanding of some medical and traumatic emergencies, both how they impact us now, and how they impact us over time
Having said all that, I know that we all experience things differently. Both you and I could be in the same situation, and it could affect us both in completely different ways. In my work as a counsellor, I bring my experiences into the room because they have made me who I am now, but I do not bring any assumptions about how your experiences have affected you.