What issues do you work with?

I do not consider that any concern is too small or big to bring to counselling. I have worked in a number of organisations, and have experience of working with clients affected by a very broad range of issues, including the following:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem & Confidence
  • Bereavement & Grief
  • Trauma & Complex PTSD
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Coercive Control & Violence
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Self Harming
  • Loneliness and Isolation
  • Loss & Change
  • Boarding School Syndrome
  • Dealing with Retirement
  • Being a Carer

If during the course of our initial assessment we decide that I am not the right person to work with you, I have a wide network of resources to enable you to find more appropriate support.

I’ve never been to counselling before, how does counselling help?

Counselling offers you a safe space in which to tell your story and be heard.

You might be facing an immediate problem such as deciding about an important decision, or struggling with a relationship. Or you might be troubled by things from the past which are affecting you and how you feel in the present.

Whatever the issue, counselling aims to help you gain new and more helpful perspectives, behaviours and insights, in order that you can bring about constructive change in your life and manage it more effectively.

Counselling isn't just about solving problems. Some things can't be changed or fixed.  What you can learn to change is how you relate to either your situation or to other people. Talking can help bring about new understanding, acceptance, or ways of coping and through this process you may discover the path to a better future.

I’m not sure if counselling is for me.  Isn’t counselling only for people that are mentally ill?

Absolutely not.  At some point everyone has problems in their life and faces difficulties.  Most people successfully cope with these issues by themselves, or with the support of friends or family. However, sometimes it helps to talk to someone who is independent and away from the situation, in order to develop a new perspective.

It is true that many of the people I see do have a mental health illness or condition. Sometimes the work is around their illness, but at other times it may be about something completely unrelated

How many sessions will I need?

I have worked successfully with clients wanting to explore a specific issue using SFBT (solution focussed brief therapy) in as little as 1 or 2 sessions. 

Most brief therapy work takes a little longer, usually around 6-12 sessions.

Some clients see me for longer, either because the nature of the issue we are working with changes, or because they introduce new areas of work into the therapy process.

I don’t try to predict the number of sessions that you need, rather I work with what is happening between us in the therapy room.  I check at the beginning of each session what it is that you want to work on that day. I will also check at the end of each session whether you wish to continue with the work.

My focus is to help you find a way to change your situation, or to deal with it in a different and more positive way, without the need for further therapy.

Do you offer CBT, and what is the difference between CBT, Counselling and Psychotherapy?

There are no clear definitions to explain the differences, so it is probably more helpful if I answer how each of the approaches affect my practice.

Whilst I have received training in, and hold a Practitioner Certificate in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), I do not consider myself to be a CBT therapist.  Rather I incorporate CBT, often in a creative way, into my work.  CBT is not one single therapy, but a family of approaches in which I explore the connections between thoughts, feeling, behaviours and physical sensations.

I also offer ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) which originated in behaviour therapy. The aim of ACT is to maximise the potential for a rich and meaningful life, while effectively handling the pain that inevitably goes with it.  ACT helps you to clarify what's truly important and meaningful, and using that knowledge guide, inspire, and motivate you to do the things that will enrich and enhance your life.

Counselling is a global term which covers all “talking therapies”, and is substantially based on examining problems and issues as they exist in the present moment.

Psychotherapy embodies “talking therapies”, but can also incorporates a number of other ways of working which enable you to have a deeper understanding of your existing problems and emotions. This can sometimes involve looking at the beginnings of your issues with reference to your past. I might also use "experiments" where we use creative ways to understand the issue, and I will spend time exploring why you might be feeling and reacting the way you do, and explaining how the mind, body and your surroundings are so closely linked. 

My approach combines both Counselling and Psychotherapy. But I will only examine the past where it supports our work together, and is in an area that you want to explore.

You offer Integral Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT), how is this different to EMDR?

There are similarities in that both use eye movements to create a separation between present day symptoms and past experiences.

EMDR is often used to treat trauma, and is delivered using an eight stage process delivered over a number of weeks.

IEMT can be delivered as a single session therapeutic technique to resolve both trauma and areas of stuck-ness known as  'patterns of chronicity'.  These patterns might be emotional, such as, "I always feel angry, sad or scared".  The patterns might also be rooted in how you identify, such as "I'm useless, worthless, unlovable". IEMT seeks to uncover how you learnt to be that way, and either remove or replace the unhelpful pattern with a more grounded useful pattern set in the present. This also enables you to reduce or remove the impact of past negative experiences without the need to talk about the negative experience at great length.

I’ve seen a counsellor before and it didn’t help. How could you be different?

As well as offering traditional 'talking therapy', I use other techniques and creative exercises that can be helpful. These include mindfulness, guided visualisation, role playing, artwork and creative whiteboard exercises. My style is both collaborative and interactive. It's all about working together to enable you to find an outcome which enhances your life.

My approach is client-centred, and this means I prioritise the needs of each client over any particular counselling model. The way in which I work is determined by what my client brings to the session; the approach they feel comfortable with, and what we feel between us will be effective.

I believe successful outcomes are born out of achieving a strong relationship between client and therapist.  I am passionate about the work I do, and I want to help people become the best that they can be.

How confidential are the sessions?

Respecting client confidentiality is a fundamental requirement for keeping trust.  I do not disclose identifiable details of our work together to anyone else, including your GP, family or workplace without your agreement. 

There are some exceptions where I have a legal duty to break confidentiality, but I will discuss this with you prior to commencing our work together.  I have an ethical duty to protect the safety of my clients and others, and I will work with you to agree the limits of confidentiality where your safety or the safety of others is at imminent risk of serious harm.

Storage and protection of your personal information is important to me; I comply with current data protection and GDPR Regulations, and I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (Ref No. ZA512135).


For confidential enquiries
contact Martin either by text
or phone on:  07467 039282

email sidmouth counselling