Welcome to South East London Counselling
Counselling is recognised as a very effective way of dealing with personal problems. These could include family or marital crises, sexual or relationship difficulties, or stress at home or at work.
Personal counselling gives you a chance to explore your issues confidentially, starting from where you are in your life.
A skilled counsellor can help clarify the paths you are choosing, the conflicts that are holding you back and the strengths you can develop and build on to make things better.
Most people come to counselling at a time of crisis. This could be due to an event such as a death or the break up of a relationship. It may be intense feelings, anxiety or depression for example, or behaviour like loss of temper or drinking, that have got out of control. The therapist will listen and try to understand you and your situation, as well as the crisis itself.
But don’t wait for a crisis before getting help.
If life seems pointless or you suffer from general feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction you can be helped.
When SELC was started in 1992 the word counselling was used as a general term for offering help at a personal level without any medical assumptions of illness or treatment. Its aim was to help people improve the quality of their lives. Counselling was to help people deal with life events like injury or loss, specific psychological problems (like phobias or panic attacks) or more general unhappiness or dissatisfaction.
There is no universally agreed definition of the difference between counselling and psychotherapy but generally psychotherapists have a longer and more intense training than counsellors. We are all, both counsellors and psychotherapists, required to be in regular supervision with someone qualified and experienced so that our learning carries on beyond our training. We have all been in therapy ourselves and most of us carry on studying, attending lectures and workshops or further training. In addition, SELC members, for example, meet regularly for talks and discussions.
PSYCHIATRISTS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS
Psychiatrists start as medical doctors and go on to specialise in mental health. They often develop understanding and expertise in the talking therapies and, as doctors, they are the only ones legally allowed to prescribe medication.
Psychology is an academic discipline. A useful working definition is ‘the science of mental life’. The discipline applies systematic, scientific, thinking and experimentation to psychological problems and illnesses, developing Behaviour Therapy and, more recently, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
1. COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THEORY
This starts from the proposition that the world we respond to is constructed by our minds to deal with the things we’ve been exposed to. New thinking effectively changes our situation. The psychologist aims to identify, teach and support more satisfactory ways of thinking and behaving to address the problems we are facing.
2. HUMANISTIC THEORY
This starts from the premise that useful psychological understanding comes from consideration of the condition of being human; the person in their total situation is more than the sum of the parts. Humanistic therapists aim to articulate and develop each person’s understanding to activate, release and focus their striving for a healthy life.
Humanistic therapists aim to articulate and develop each person’s understanding to activate, release and focus their striving for a healthy life.
3. PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY
This continues the strand of thinking developed by Sigmund Freud. It starts from the idea that behind the life of our activities, thoughts and feelings we have an emotional life that drives or inhibits us- sometimes both at the same time. Psychodynamic therapists believe that it is our relationships, to our selves and others, which are most significant. They try to offer a healing relationship.
Nobody has a complete understanding of human nature and, although there are intense arguments between members of particular schools of thought, the core ideas of the 3 streams are not incompatible with each other.
Whatever brings you to seek help, the therapist will start by trying to understand you and the situation you’re in. Sometimes it starts easily with you telling your story but it can be very awkward. You will be talking about things that are troubling you and that you may be ashamed of. You may also feel at loss confronted by someone who’s an expert and still expects you to know where to begin and what’s important to tell.
On the other side, we, as therapists, won’t mind where you start and will appreciate the awkwardness of the situation. We have had our own therapy and know that, whatever anyone says, however it seems from the outside, however we believe it ought to be, life is generally not straightforward and easy. So we want to give you the opportunity to talk about things in your own way, to see what’s difficult and what’s important to you. It is the beginning of a process of working together to get to the heart of your concerns and find the things that will really help.
The initial meeting will be different from any subsequent ones. Sometimes it’s called an assessment because the therapist has to decide whether you can benefit from therapy and what approach to use; some comments, suggestions or interpretations may be tried to see how you respond.
Equally you should assess whether and how you can work with this person. It’s difficult because the best therapist for you isn’t necessarily the one who makes you feel most comfortable early on. Be prepared to interrupt or ask questions if anything is unclear to you. The therapist should be interested in your questions and able to engage with them in a way that makes sense to you.
Therapy has the goal of helping us to face the realities of our lives and we often prefer to be comfortable in the short term rather than make efforts to better ourselves. Many people feel worse before they start to feel better, but when therapy is good it goes on working for us even after it’s finished.
DECLARATION AND YOUR RESPONSES
These notes are work in progress by one of our associates and will be added to or revised from time to time. They do not represent the views of SELC or all its members.
We are very happy to receive emails with your comments or questions about therapy.
- emotional problems
- low self-esteem
- difficulties at work
- sexual problems
- anxiety or stress
- panic attacks
- obsessions & compulsions
Your first meeting with a SELC staff member will be to assess your needs. This initial interview costs £40 for individuals, £50 for couples and families.
After that you enter the private practice of the most appropriate of our practitioners and pay their fee, from £40 upwards, directly to them. Concessionary terms can sometimes be negotiated but these are limited.
This site contains a list of organisations which offer free or low cost counselling for those people who need it.
Our sessions generally last 50 minutes and take place at weekly intervals. A long term committment to counselling is not essential- many people find a short sequence of sessions sufficient for their requirements.
We are a not-for-profit organisation. We aim to offer a prompt, reliable, economical, completely confidential service which addresses your personal needs.
Who We Are
We are a group of very experienced counsellors and therapists offering a confidential counselling service from our consulting rooms situated across South East London in the Boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. Because of this spread we can offer convenient appointments for people travelling from Central London, Docklands, other parts of South London and more outlying parts of South East and South London such as Bexley, Dartford & Woolwich, Bromley & Orpington, Norwood & Croydon, Wandsworth Clapham and Streatham.
We are all highly qualified and can draw on the strengths of the different streams of theory which inform therapy: Humanistic Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Our members are experienced at working with individuals, couples, families, children and groups. We also offer staff counselling to organisations and supervision to other professionals in the field.
All our members belong to a recognised Counselling or Psychotherapy Association and are bound by the code of ethics and standards of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
south east london counselling is committed to an Equal Opportunities policy
- Individuals: £40.00
- Couples/Families: £50.00
- from £40.00 per session for individuals
Concessionary terms can occasionally be negotiated.