Augene Nanning MBACP (Accred) Counselling and Supervision in Muswell Hill, North London

What is counselling and how can it help?

Counselling is an opportunity to talk about what troubles you and to be listened to in a way which helps you to understand yourself better, including your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Different counsellors work in different ways, using different counselling approaches. With me, you would decided and talk about what you want to talk about. I use the approach known as "person centred". There are lots of approaches, like CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), Jungian, psychoanalysis, psychodynamic, and many, many more.

Counselling can help you to explore difficult feelings and work out some ways of living your life more positively or constructively.

Counselling is usually weekly at the same time, for a specific amount of time (e.g. 50 minutes. This is something you will agree with your counsellor.

The counsellor is a professionally trained person, abiding by professional standards. I am a member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists and abide by the Ethical Framework of Good Practice.

Counselling provides different things for different people:

  • time to talk about something difficult or that you’ve never shared before

  • an opportunity to explore aspects about yourself, your relationships and your life that you want to make sense of

  • time to offload stress and look at practical ways of coping better

  • a safe place to work things out

    Counselling isn’t about the counsellor giving you all the answers or lots of advice but it is a place where you can be supported to find your own solutions to the issues in your life, now and in the future.

    Top tips

    Counsellors are each a bit different so ask them to describe the way they work. Then you can decide if their way is something you would like.

    All the way through your counselling experience do keep letting your counsellor know whether you have any ideas about what you feel would help you more; e.g. fewer silences, more opportunities to use creative techniques, more feedback etc.
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  • Who can benefit from Counselling?

    Anyone who is willing to look thoughtfully and honestly at themselves or their problem with the assistance of a counsellor.

    Anyone who is open to change or to find better ways of coping.

    Anyone who is willing to accept the possibility that change is sometimes difficult.

    Anyone who can commit themselves to attending counselling for a regular period of time.

    I counsel adults, young people and children, one to one. That means I counsel one person at a time. So if your child was coming to me for counselling, you would wait in another room while the counselling took place.

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    Can I trust the counsellor will keep my information private?

    Most services and individual counsellors will explain the details of their confidentiality policy when you first meet. If this is not done then do ask them to tell you about it so that you can be sure about what you want to share and how your information will be used and responded to.

    They should explain what elements of your sessions stay private between yourself and the counsellor and at what point the counsellor is obliged to share your information due to the a risk of potential/ actual harm to yourself or others.

    Data Protection: It’s completely appropriate for you to ask what’s going to happen to all your details and any notes the counsellor might make about the sessions. All services and individual counsellors will be able to tell you how they are going to ensure your data will be kept safe and secure. You may want to double check with the service or individual counsellor whether they will always ask for your consent before talking to your GP or family and check out with them what kind of things would they need to share should they find a need to do so.
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    What if I don’t get on with my Counsellor?

    This can happen at any time during the counselling. If you feel it very strongly during the first session it may be important for you to air this right away and see if the counsellor can respond in a way that helps you feel more comfortable with her/him/them.

    It can also happen during the ongoing counselling sessions. It is always appropriate to mention to the counsellor any unease you might be feeling about the work so that you and the counsellor can work together to try and find a resolution about what you feel.


    You may feel something negative like: not being heard, uncared for, unworthy, etc. By sharing this openly with the counsellor you may find that this is something you experience in other relationships, and something to explore in the counselling.

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    Will the counsellor judge me? How much should I tell them?

    This is a common worry and can often reflect familiar concerns that we all have when meeting new people and forming new relationships: 'Will they think badly of me, or will they understand me for who I am, or judge me incorrectly or even not like me?!'

    All professionally qualified counsellors are trained to develop their abilities to be non-judgmental, respect differences and diversity and work in a non-discriminatory way.

    If you do feel judged then it’s really important that you try and be as open as you can with the counsellor about what you’re feeling. You can explore what’s going on and take some time to consider where your feelings are coming from, and is this something that happens in other relationships.

    How much you tell them is completely up to you. Take time to build trust with your counsellor. Once you feel safe you may find what you want to say comes much more easily. If not, discuss this with your counsellor.


    Keep a notebook to write, draw or doodle things as they come up for you during the week. This can help you think about what you want you want to share to your next counselling session.

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    What if I manage to open up towards the end of a session and time is up?

    Even if your counsellor seems understanding but then goes on to end your session on time this can activate difficult feelings like:

  • do they care?
  • why not give me a bit more time?
  • no one is there for me
  • how can they do that?
  • I feel so low

    These feelings are all important to share with your counsellor as they happen, or maybe even write them down after you go home so that you can bring them next time. You might want a counsellor to extend their session but counsellors do not generally do this.


    Always try to plan your day so that you don’t have to rush to something straight after a session. Taking care of yourself and finding ways and people to help you do this can really help you look after yourself.

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  • How will I know if counselling is helping me?

    You are the best judge of this as everyone is different. People who see me notice all sorts of changes in themselves and their lives while they are in counselling, and after, too.

    Some of the changes people have told me about include:

  • I feel less alone, anxious; depressed; stressed; sad; overwhelmed; frightened; angry, suicidal etc.
  • I can deal better with my problems
  • I know my strengths
  • I feel like I understand/ like myself better
  • I notice how hard I was on myself and where that came from
  • I now know my feelings were normal grief emotions and I am not the only one who feels these feelings
  • I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel
  • I know I can seek counselling in my life again should I ever need it

    There may be physical and practical changes too, for example:

  • I sleep better
  • I'm eating less junk food
  • I now have some ways to calm myself down
  • I am not so argumentative with others
  • I am getting out more with friends
  • I am self-harming less, or have stopped
  • I exercise now and that helps
  • I left/strengthened a relationship
  • I'm happier


    If you’re finding it hard between counselling sessions, tell your counsellor. Meanwhile, here are a few ideas for looking after yourself (you can find others by talking to your counsellor):

  • go for a walk, jog or run or do other kind of exercise or movement you enjoy
  • go somewhere quiet to reflect
  • meet someone who you trust to talk things through during the week
  • write, draw or doodle your thoughts and feelings in a book (which you can share with the counsellor, if you think that might help you)
  • do something, like a hobby, or pursue an interest, that you enjoy doing for yourself
  • draw in a sketchpad or listen to music
  • learn something new, maybe start a course or read up on your interest
  • volunteer: helping others often makes us feel good. Even during Covid-19 during lockdown there are many opportunities to volunteer, even if you are shielding and unable to leave your home.

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