Patricia Terry MA, MSc, MBACP, MBPsS Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Central Esher, between Surbiton and Cobham, Surrey

Patricia Terry - Counselling for Individuals and Couples in central Esher, Surrey KT10

Counselling and Couples Counselling

Why counselling
Today, many people live complex, demanding and stressful lives. Increasingly often they face challenges about how they might develop satisfying careers, build solid and fulfilling relationships with friends, family or partners, or deal with crises such as bereavement or severe personal setbacks.

It can be hard to define exactly what is wrong in life and sometimes there is an underlying problem that can leave you feeling stuck or fixed in your thoughts. Counselling can provide you with the time and space to think about your life and your relationships, and to decide what is right for you and your personal growth.

You might want to reflect on a problem and think about it in a different way, or to examine aspects of your life that are making you anxious and unhappy. Counselling can help you make sense of what is happening in your life and will provide you with an opportunity to rethink your priorities as you make changes.

If you are encountering difficulties in your relationship, or you feel it is breaking down, then you will probably also be feeling anxious about what this might mean for you, both in the short and long term. If you have children, you may be particularly concerned about the impact of your problems on them. The resulting confusion can often make it difficult to gain the clarity of thought needed to help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. You may also feel that it is not too late to repair the relationship, but that you need help to make those first steps.

Alternatively you may believe that the relationship has run its course and is coming to an end. Counselling can help you to explore your feelings and decide what is right for you as an individual and couple.

Relationship counselling for couples and individuals
Abuse: emotional, physical and sexual
Life-changing events
Personal development
Anxiety and stress

Relationship counselling for couples and individuals
Couples have never faced as many challenges to the stability of their relationships as they do today. They lead increasingly busy lives and juggle many demands of work, life and family: the fast pace places great stress on even the most secure and happy relationship. Relationship problems therefore often arise from the stresses and strains of everyday life, but they can also be caused by deep-rooted personal issues.

Close relationships are an important part of people’s lives and sometimes they go wrong. It might seem easier to walk away; but couples have a history together and a shared experience of dealing with good times and bad times. They will have supported each other through the bad times and together they will have enjoyed the happiness of the good times. They may also have the shared experience of raising children, caring for an extended family or building a business together.

Counselling can help you to tell your story and it can provide an opportunity for you to listen to your partner’s story. It can help you to find a mutual direction and decide on the things you both want to change. My role is to help you find the best way to deal with the conflicts and difficulties in your relationship as you make those changes. And I support you as you decide what is best for the relationship, and what is best for you as an individual. Although I usually see both partners together, I can also see you by yourself if that isn’t possible.

Sometimes it can seem easier just to walk away, but often it isn’t that simple. The thought of starting again feels frightening, requiring energy and effort that could add more stress to an already unhappy situation. You might also wonder whether you would be making a mistake by ending the relationship, especially if you haven’t given each other an opportunity to see how the situation might be repaired. By exploring your relationship and understanding how your early happiness deteriorated, there is a chance that you could eventually develop a deeper commitment. How will you know, if you haven’t tried?

Even if you really feel that the relationship is over, you will probably want to make a good ending, knowing that you have done your best to try rebuilding it. You may also want to work out what to do next. Deciding to break up can be difficult; you may experience fear at the thought of being alone. You may also be concerned about rebuilding your life as a single person while you struggle with a different set of responsibilities. The person you are now will also be the person you take into a new relationship, so your new beginning can be an opportunity to explore issues from the past that could again cause difficulties in the future.

Abuse: emotional, physical and sexual
Sadly, I often find that the topic of abuse arises during discussions of previous relationships. As part of those discussions we can work together to address the resulting emotions of fear, anxiety and anger. I have long experience of helping people who have experienced childhood abuse - emotional, physical or sexual - and the resulting emotions can be confusingly intermingled during and after an abusive relationship. Counselling can be particularly helpful in exploring this confusion and examining the long-term effects of abuse on subsequent relationships.

If you’ve experienced the death of someone you loved, or of someone who played an important part in your life, then you might feel a mix of emotions including intense grief. You might even feel nothing at all for a while, as the impact of their death becomes a reality. It isn’t unusual to feel deprived of something; to feel angry and then to feel regret and deep unhappiness. You might even feel guilty for not being able to connect with the loss of that person. You might feel stuck, wondering if you can go on, wondering how long it will take before you start to feel ‘normal’ again. These thoughts and feelings can sometimes result in pain and confusion that seems too hard to endure.

It is therefore perfectly natural to want to talk about your experience and feelings, but you might not want to worry friends with your thoughts. Grief following the death of a loved one is not something that disappears after a few months: the feeling of loss can stay with you for years, becoming especially intense around special dates and anniversaries. Counselling offers a neutral voice and a neutral space, and my role is to be supportive through those difficult times and into the future.

Life-changing events
Important events happen to everyone. Some are planned and looked forward to, such as marriage, the birth of a child or a change of career. They are often viewed with excitement and can build happy and lasting memories.

Some events, however, are unplanned, happen without warning and threaten to bring confusion and chaos into a settled and orderly life: an accident or serious illness; redundancy or unplanned career change; the loss of a relationship or divorce proceedings. This kind of change can feel transformative in a very unsettling way, and can make the future look very bleak. Counselling can provide an environment that helps in deciding how to deal with these events, and my support helps people through the process of building a fuller life and restoring their confidence.

Personal development
Today, many people live complex, demanding and stressful lives. More and more often, my clients face challenges about how they might develop satisfying careers, build solid and fulfilling relationships with friends, family or partners, or deal with crises such as bereavement or severe personal setbacks.

Often they find themselves facing these pressures - frequently in difficult and confusing combinations - entirely alone. They might wonder how they have become the sort of person they are, and feel concerned about their achievements and dreams, or missed opportunities and regrets. Sometimes people arrive at a stage when they want to review their lives, to understand themselves better and to understand more about how other people might see them. I help my clients to articulate, explore and address these problems, and to decide on the choices that are most likely to lead to a more satisfying life.

Anxiety and stress
Life can bring many problems and conflicts. We want work and our personal lives to offer us a sense of purpose, security, familiar routine, friendship and personal development. Unfortunately excessive pressures, including work-related stress, can sometimes leave us feeling unable to deal with the demands being placed upon us.

In the UK, one person in four will have a mental health problem at some point in their life, and anxiety and stress are often the root causes. It is of course quite normal to experience some stress or anxiety, which can even be helpful in motivating us to deal with the problems and threats that we meet throughout life. But everyone reacts to events in their own individual way: if you’ve been feeling anxious or stressed for a long time then I suggest that you should talk to your GP before coming to see me, to check that there aren’t any underlying health problems causing these symptoms.

The term ‘feeling stressed’ has become a standard phrase to describe a situation where we feel there is no time to relax, to look after ourselves or take part in family life. Sometimes that feeling becomes too much to deal with, and it can become difficult to think straight and decide the best course of action. I offer a safe and confidential environment to help you explore your difficulties and find a solution that could work for you.

This solution may lie in managing time and people differently, or in learning to prioritise different aspects of your life for the benefit of your family and yourself. It may also involve exploring how your life has brought you to where you are now, where you might go in the future, and the person you want to be.

Counselling for Individuals and Couples in central Esher, Surrey KT10
Esher, on the A307 between Surbiton and Cobham (accessible from the A244, A309 and A3), is close to Hersham, Walton on Thames, Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Oxshott, and is easily reached from East Molesey and West Molesey, Thames Ditton and Long Ditton, Kingston upon Thames and Weybridge.

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