What to expect

What does counselling and psychotherapy look like?

It looks like you and me sitting down together in a private, confidential space and talking. You decide what we talk about. I'll listen with an open mind. I will strive to see the world through your eyes. I will walk alongside you. I will bear witness to whatever you have to say, and I will accompany you wherever you want to go in our conversation.

If it’s frightening, or difficult, I won’t rush you; we’ll talk at your pace and look at things in your own time. I will not judge you, regardless of what you bring. You may want to tell me what happened to you; you may not. It’s all ok. I will treat you with respect, humanity and compassion. I will accept all of you, unconditionally and with no exceptions.

Steven Ballantyne Psychotherapy

What can I offer you?

Different people have varying expectations of how therapy works, and what it will do. I am offering you a safe and confidential space where you may talk about and deeply explore what’s going on for you, what’s important to you and what’s troubling you. I aim to nurture an increasing understanding, acceptance of, and ease with, yourself, driven by your innate appetite to develop and grow.

Sometimes clients come looking for tools or strategies designed to “fix” them; while I can easily empathise with this desire, I cannot instruct, advise or coach you. Instead of illness or disorder that needs to be fixed, I see an obstruction or compromise of natural growth. As we strive to push aside that obstruction, to create space for movement, together we will ask not, “What is wrong with me?” but rather, “What happened to me?” We will approach this fundamental question with curiosity, compassion and care, free of judgement, blame or criticism.

"I valued our sessions even though at times they were difficult for me. I found Steven to be consistent, reliable, warm and honest. I felt challenged but also supported and he made the process of accessing therapy with him very easy."

I’ll do what I can to provide a safe place where you might (if you wish) connect with your true self, or inner voice, call it what you will. I will listen to you with compassion and with the basic humanity that we all need but so rarely get in our everyday lives. Whatever you bring is ok. Together we may learn what your instincts and deeper feelings are telling you and how you might proceed.

My aim is to help you feel at peace with yourself; to accept yourself as you are; perhaps to become who you truly are, rather than who others want you to be, or who you were told you should be by other people. Of course, you may not need or want to go too deep, but instead want a listening ear and support in the short term to see you through a difficult patch – that’s ok, too.

Suffering shows itself in a thousand ways, both mental and physical. It can be eased with humanity and understanding. If you're feeling distress it doesn't mean you have no option but to give up because you're broken and cannot be fixed. You are a unique and valuable individual whose process of growth has been temporarily interrupted. With compassion for yourself, there is no blockage that can’t be shifted and the process of positive change restored.

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change" ∽ Carl Rogers, founder of the person-centred approach to psychotherapy.

Contact me to find out more or make an appointment.

Steven Ballantyne Psychotherapy