The ultimate value of counselling for me is the risk that both counsellor and client take to meet each other on a human level to share and appreciate the experience of living. Secondary to this is ensuring that I am professional and accountable in terms of the relationship and help that I offer.
I have worked as a Primary Care NHS Counsellor in Chichester, Worthing and Brighton from 1999 to 2012.
I gained a psychology degree in 1987 and before training as a counsellor worked in the health service as a facilitator, working to improve the quality of the service for patients.
I completed my professional training in Devon in 1999 achieving an Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling. I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. In 2008 I became a Couples Counsellor having trained with Time2Relate in West Sussex.
My qualifications include:
I abide by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Code of Ethics. As recommended by the BACP I have regular supervision and undertake my own personal therapy. For more details about my professional body go to www.bacp.co.uk.
The types of issues that people have brought to counselling with me are depression, anxiety, relationship problems, family difficulties, abuse, bereavement, eating problems, obsessive behaviours or self harm. We have looked at the strategies they used growing up that helped them get what they needed or helped them survive. We have looked at how those strategies were useful then but may create more problems now and looked at ways of living using different strategies.
My learning and inspiration has come from many sources and over many years. Having worked over thirteen years in the health service I feel passionately that we are only helpful to others if we have what we need ourselves. Too many doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers etc feel stressed and exploited in their working environments and become burnt out. Counselling can help people step back from their situation and work out what they need in order to have a balanced and healthy life.
The majority of my learning comes from my clients who take a risk to open up with often very painful memories, feelings and thoughts. When another shares what they imagined to be unbearable feelings and work through these to truly grapple with the reality of life we both gain in terms of a deep connection and acceptance of the world and other people.
I am a mother and step mother. In the same way that paid professionals can get burnt out if they do not have what they need for themselves I believe that parents, and in particular mothers, often experience low self-esteem, lack of confidence, isolation, guilt and resentment and a reduced experience of joy in parenting if they do not get their needs met. I have learnt much from my parenting experience and the help that I received from counselling.
More recently I have enjoyed using the arts in my work. This has meant that I will attune to the images and metaphors that my clients bring. We may make use of stories or myths or explore using more playful activities all with the view to uncover what has been out of reach to the rational mind and harness the imagination. Our imagination is vital in the process of creating an image of what we need or hope for as well as finding different ways of looking at who we are and what we have lived through.
I enjoy and have integrated into my work ideas from Transactional Analysis, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Gestalt, and Systemic Theories. I currently am priviledged to be part of a support network of couples counsellors and Relational Transactional Analysts where I can continually grow as a professional.
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Gina Sweeting MBACP Accredited, UKRCP, Diploma Couples Counselling, Certificate Supervision, M.Sc, B.Sc (Hons)