Lib MeakinCounselling & Psychotherapy in Shrewsbury

My Experience. stone wall 450

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Over the 25 years of my experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist I have worked with hundreds of people from a wide variety of nationalities, cultural, ethnic and faith backgrounds. Life events, relationships, social groups, ways of thinking and ways of managing distress are very different between people.

I've worked in organisations set up for counselling and others where it was fitted in somehow. Places where there was enough time and others where brief work was the only option.

I have learned to be flexible and understand how useful different ways of working are to people facing different situations.

From this experience I have come to focus my work as a therapist on five areas of life. Disorientation; loss of purpose; transition from one phase of life to another; being with other people; managing emotion and mood.

Loss of purpose
Being with other people
Managing emotion and mood
Ways of working


Something happens which disrupts our lives and leaves us shocked, lost and confused.

Our life is not as we expected it to be and now never can be.
We have reviewed our life, realising that it was not how we believed it to be.

We have lost the landmarks that orientate us, so may feel directionless and bewildered.

What has happened may be an unexpected and harmful event but it can also be something we have planned for or expected pleasure from.

There may be grevious loss in the event itself, in losing what we were hoping for or what we thought we had.

Loss of purpose

This may happen because of a change in our lives which removes something that gave us purpose. It can also happen because of a change in our attitude, something that seemed meaningful no longer does.

The loss of a job or business, redundancy or retirement (voluntary or enforced).
Loosing a role as other people's lives move away from ours.
Injury or ill-health can make previous activities unavailable.
Moving to a new place without the people, roles and activities that structured our lives.
A change in our values, beliefs or behaviour removing something that was central to everything we did.
A gap, a sense of 'what's the point'.


Different stages in life may be planned, foreseen or arrive before we are ready.

Sometimes our attention may be on the stage we are leaving, perhaps mourning.

Sometimes our attention may be on aspects of the stage we are moving into that we dislike, fear or resent.

It can be useful to consider what is valuable to us and what we can leave. To review our beliefs to see what is important and what has become habit. To remember the strengths we have and address recurring difficulties.

Understanding where we are helps to free our attention to focus on how we want to craft the next stage of our life.

Being with other people

This may be difficulties with people whose relationships with us are central to our lives.
It could be coping with bullying.
The pressures of unachieveable demands at work.
Dealing in the present with harm done to us in the past.
Finding it difficult to establish a satisfying social life and friendships.
Having fraught lives because we are not asserting our own priorities.
Repeating behaviour in relationships that we know is harmful to us.

Managing emotions and mood

Managing emotions in specific situations.
Managing emotions with specific people.
Understanding what our emotions are and what their function is.
Disentangling feelings and thoughts.
The difference between passing emotions and more settled mood.

Ways of working

Working with many people over a long time has taught me that different ways of working suit different people using counselling for different reasons in different situations. I offer brief, specific, exploratory, fixed duration and open-ended work. We would consider what would work best for you, these are some examples.

Open-ended meetings during a bewildering time while finding your own way of making sense of something.

Open-ended exploratory work towards finding a better understanding of yourself in order to manage your life more satisfactorily. Giving yourself time to challenge yourself, make connections, follow strands of thought.

Addressing a specific situation, using a structure to work out a plan, carry it out, review, refine, move on. This could be short-term or longer work with counselling meetings becoming less frequent or shorter as the plan progresses.

Preparation for a specific event on a known date, including developing and practising skills.

Working towards being able to do something that used to be straightforward but has become very hard. Building confidence with a mixture of exploratory 'what's going on' and structured steps towards achieving it.

Practical reality may conflict with your preferred way of working. People may face fixed deadlines. Have a fixed amount of money. Have limited energy. Be coping with something that absorbs their attention for blocks of time. Sometimes there has to be a compromise and we can work out what is the most effective way of working within those constraints.

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