Blackheath Counselling Service

Blackheath Counselling Service

About us

Linda Henderson and Brenda McAuliffe are available 5 days a week. Located in Blackheath we provide a confidential, comfortable setting for our clients.

A low cost affordable service is provided for those unable to pay our normal fees. We offer 60 minute sessions - the full therapeutic hour.

The first session is for you to assess how you feel about the counselling process. You are not obliged to commit yourself to any session other than the one you have booked.

As experienced counsellors/psychotherapists we work with: one-to-one, with all sectors of the community - we also offer one-to-one supervision.

Some of the areas of therapy we work with:

  • depression
  • bereavement
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • relationship problems
  • addiction
  • low self-esteem
  • self-harm
  • phobias
  • psychophysical disorders
  • couple counselling

Our Approach

CBT, Psychodynamic, Psychoanalysis, Person-Centred, Gestalt

We can use different models for different clients. CBT is one of the most popular models used by the NHS that clients want to work with. We have found it can be very helpful in changing negative behavioural patterns into positive behaviours. Once the therapeutic relationship is established with confidentiality and trust in the counsellor we can proceed to give the client the help they need.

We begin with a simple procedure of asking our clients to identify what they would like to change in their life and then help them make those changes. CBT uncovers the presenting problem as it is experienced in the daily life of the client. In knowing the clients' strengths and weaknesses the counsellor within the boundaries of what is achievable can help the client realise their goals. E.g. Finding a rewarding career path, a close relationship, or helping the client make difficult decisions which have created a stuckness in their life. What, why and where questions are often keys which can unlock doors that the client would like to open but needs the help and the support of the counsellor to identify the obstacles which prevents them opening those doors. The commitment of the counsellor to support the client's process throughout the therapy brings a sense of self-compassion, self-confidence and self-love enabling the client to achieve their aims. Gestalt techniques can be helpful in dealing with bereavement and unsatisfactory endings. Writing a letter to the other and even replying to the letter, even if the other is not alive, can help complete and close a cycle which is painful allowing a new life cycle to begin.

A Holistic Approach to Counselling

As Alexander Technique Teachers and Yoga teachers we have experience in healing the whole person, body, mind and spirit. The counsellor/client relationship is of paramount importance, so we are here to deeply listen to all aspects of our client's life including not only the psychological and the pathological but the spiritual element too.

Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic Therapy

Conditions and Procedure for Healing

In building a foundation for the counselling relationship, we use the bedrock of trust, empathy and respect for our clients. We feel it is important to stress the importance of being Real. Being real creates the trust that is necessary for our clients to want to share their problems with us. Feeling regard for the the client can gradually lower their defences and together we can slowly explore their feelings and beliefs around the core of their problem. Together we revisit the past where often the root of the problem lies - returning to childhood is an important step in the resolving and healing process. Sometimes the client can emerge from this exploration with fresh insights and an understanding not just of their childhood but of where they are in the present. Negative and self-destructive thinking patterns can be dismantled and a rekindling of compassion and kindness towards oneself can develop.

We feel it is foundational in our work to help our client return to what is real within their being, to reconnect them to what is most meaningful in their lives and to encourage them to live their lives fully participating with the whole of their being.

Jungian Depth Psychology

How Psychoanalysis works

Those clients that bring long-standing deep issues require exploration in psychological depth. Here Depth Psychology can help unravel the complex web of childhood where more often the problems first took root. The counsellor can create a deep listening for the client to share deeper and more sensitive issues in the journey towards healing the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of themselves. Recovering and prizing those neglected aspects of ourselves buried in the unconscious, can be a rich and moving experience in our journey towards wholeness.

Our childhood conditioning can often result in negative behavioural patterns

If we are unaware of our past negative patterns, perhaps of dependency or mistrust these patterns often surprise us when we develop relationships. These patterns come along with us through life as luggage. Eventually through life the bag gradually opens and its contents spills into our relationship with ourselves and with others. What seemed to be a positive relationship at the outset has now become negative.

What we unwittingly bring to our relationships - what Jung called the shadow

Looking at what is in our personal luggage, the feelings and thoughts behind negative actions is one of the exciting and rewarding aspects of therapy. Not all in our luggage is negative there are also many positive traits which we have yet to discover, value and own. Through the counselling process we can eventually have a more balanced view of ourselves and our relationships as we delve within our luggage to see our gifts and our challenges. To discover who we are, warts and all, and to help our client transform the negative patterns and value their positive qualities is one of the core tasks in counselling. Reminding the client that compassion, kindness and forgiveness towards ourselves softens the ego and draws those estranged friends and loved ones closer.

Helping our client not to close the hand luggage but to open it together, and discovering a treasure chest of unlived potentialities waiting to be recognised. We hope we can help our clients discover this unknown side of their nature buried in the darkness of the psyche - to find those jewels, valuing and living the magic of them in relationship to themselves and others.

The challenge of transforming what seems darker and more complex patterns in that treasure chest, is a big piece of work, but it is possible. Responding to love and trust within the counselling relationship, these often rejected, split off parts of our psyche when valued have a positive role to play in our lives.

Dreams, Images, Metaphors and Symbols

Hidden Depths and Riches to be Uncovered

Dreams. images and metaphors are often helpful in finding a language to dip deeper into the creative imagination. Not all clients dream, but invariably when a client is asked do you dream and the response is no, the following week - lo and behold a dream appears. The dream gives access to a deeper strata of the unconscious psyche and is a precious key to unlock the hidden treasure chest that lies buried in what Jung called the personal unconscious - ‘the shadow’.

Regarding metaphors, images and symbols they are not as strange a language as our client usually thinks. Unawares we use metaphors in our everyday speech along with our attention being caught by an image or a symbol or motif. We have found it is good to be versatile in exploring around the problems our client brings and create an expansive green field for the client to wander in to find what grows there that they have never seen before - a metaphor for allowing and encouraging free range of the imagination. Symbols, images and motifs can emerge in our inner landscape presenting us with vibrant and infinite possibilities – to reshape our life and our story.

Physical Symptoms of Stress - Working with the Alexander Technique

If negative patterns or complexes are not explored they will remain locked in the unconscious and can express themselves in neurosis or physical symptoms. Many of these physical symptoms can be released in the body through using Alexander Technique relaxation techniques. As qualified Alexander Technique teachers (MSTAT) this is our own unique contribution to stress management in counselling/psychotherapy.

Our therapeutic aim above all is to help you live out who you truly are.