Two words summarise how we’re different from many other counselling services – accessible and relevant.
We’ve seen that individuals struggling with both financial hardship and mental health issues make poor use of mental health provision. Unable to afford private counselling, they are dependent on state provision which typically requires a journey by public transport, has very long waiting lists, a rigid appointments system and low tolerance of non-attendance. By contrast, we provide a local service (within easy walking distance), short waiting times and flexibility about how and when clients access the service. We recognise that each client has a different set of challenges and we try to ensure that what we provide is flexible and responsive to those challenges.
We believe that state provision of mental health services is too medicalised. It inadvertently encourages individuals, who are referred to as ‘patients’, to believe that there is something wrong with them, rather than there being something wrong in their past and present-day environments. This can be counter-productive and often makes individuals feel worse rather than better. There is also a focus on symptom reduction rather than on tackling the underlying causes. We believe that psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety, are natural responses to adversity.
Accordingly, we provide counselling / psychotherapy / play therapy which helps the client psychologically heal from past hurts, to re-evaluate their past and present relationships, to discover themselves and tap into their personal power. Our counselling is open-ended and recognises that every client is different and has a different story. Their recovery time cannot be shoe horned into a predefined (generally 6 via State provision) number of sessions. We also recognise the need to keep the door open when clients are discharged at the end of counselling, meaning they can re-engage with our service again in the future should they require it
Clients and referrers are very happy with our service. We are building a reputation as being a trusted and effective way of helping vulnerable families, as well as in the long term preventing the formation of unstable families in the next generation.