Hi, I'm Angharad, an experienced, qualified and fully registered counsellor offering professional long or short term counselling and psychotherapy to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. My office is conveniently located in a peaceful, private and discreet location near to Conwy town centre in North Wales. It is fully wheelchair accessible, there is ample free parking and I am able to offer flexible appointment times.
Life can be hard going and, at times, most of us experience some form of distress or difficulty. Perhaps you are feeling anxious, depressed or confused about relationships or work. Perhaps you are facing painful experiences through illness, bereavement or family breakdown. Perhaps you are feeling stuck or have lost direction or a sense of who you are. Alternatively, it might be that things just don’t feel right and you may not know why you are feeling as you do and want to better understand yourself or your situation. It could be that you are seeking to pursue personal exploration or growth.
Whatever your reason for getting in touch, I can provide a consistent, supportive and highly confidential space for you to speak freely about your concerns within a warm and secure relationship. Although therapy can feel challenging at times, it can also be immensely rewarding and enable you to begin to understand what underlies your current difficulties, gain relief from what is troubling you, make different choices and move forwards. Working with a therapist may also assist you in opening up previously unknown or unacknowledged aspects of yourself which will enable you to become more who you are, enabling you to live with greater ease.
The goals of therapy are many, and chief among them are:
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Enhanced self-understanding and self-acceptance
- Improved self confidence and self esteem
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Better management of powerful emotions such as anger, grief and depression
- Better and more fulfilling relationships
- Changing old behaviour patterns and developing new ones
- Developing skills for improving your relationships and discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improved communication and listening skills
Taking the first step in seeking help can be difficult, especially if you have never had counselling or psychotherapy before. This is why I have detailed as much information on my website (www.conwycounselling.co.uk) as I can to give you an insight into counselling and psychotherapy, who I am and how we can work together. Another good way to find out more about who I am and what I can do for you is to get in touch with me to explore how I may be able to help. I will always aim to get back to you as soon as I can.
I especially invite enquiries connected to the following areas:
- Anxiety and depression
- Stress, low mood & feeling sad
- Panic attacks
- Identity, self confidence & self esteem
- Meaning and Purpose
- Abuse and Trauma
- Loss and Bereavement
This list is by no means definitive, so do contact me even if you feel your issue doesn't fit into the above categories.
What to expect
Every therapy session is unique and catered specifically to each individual and their specific needs.
Counselling and psychotherapy is very often called a 'talking therapy' because it gives you the opportunity to talk about what is troubling you. Generally, you will have the opportunity to talk about, and explore, the issue or concern you want to work on within a safe and supportive relationship with a trained professional. Through this process you will make new connections and gain new insights into your past and present experience, which will assist you to develop the inner resources you need to be better able to manage difficult experiences and to move forward.
During sessions, I will help you to talk about your feelings, behaviours, thoughts, memories, beliefs, assumptions and body sensations associated with what is troubling you. Though I would encourage you to talk about things that feel challenging to speak about, I will never force or pressure you to speak about things you do not wish to discuss. For those who find it especially hard to express their feelings, and find 'talking therapies' sometimes too challenging, I can suggest creative activities we can do together through which you can explore your situation and express your feelings, which may feel more comfortable for you.
Together, we might also look at the relationship you have with yourself, the relationships you have with others, as well as the relationship we have with each other, which will help you to see your difficulties in a new light and put into practice new healthier ways of being.
Though I won't give advice or tell you what to do, I will give you space to talk, listen to what you say, try to understand as best I can and ask questions to help you consider things from a different angle or see things from a new perspective. I understand from experience that this process might feel difficult or strange to begin with and it's my job, as your therapist, to support you through this. You might find yourself crying, getting upset or angry. This can feel unsettling and intense, however, you won't be alone and, as your therapist, I will welcome all aspects of your experience and be there to help you process and cope with any emotions that come up.
Your first session
Getting in touch with or meeting a therapist for the first time can be a rather daunting experience. I will do everything I can to make our first encounter as easy and relaxed for you as possible.
During our first session together I will discuss with you how I work and will explain to you my policies around confidentiality, payment, holidays and cancellations. I will invite you to begin to discuss what brings you to therapy and explore your expectations of therapy. We can talk through any concerns or anxieties you may have regarding therapy, and there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions if you are unsure of anything. If we then decide to work together, this will ensure we can do so within safe and clear boundaries.
Therapy may not always be the right way forwards and should this be the case then I can signpost you to other sources of help as appropriate. There is no obligation to continue after this first session, and you are always free to end therapy at any point.
How many session will I need?
This depends entirely on your situation, the difficulties you are encountering and your personal preference. Therapy does not always offer an immediate solution to long standing and often painful problems. Some issues are better suited to short-term therapy (1-20 sessions) and some to longer-term therapy (20+ sessions). There is no upper limit to the number of sessions you can have, and you may continue in therapy for as long as you feel the sessions are of use to you.
Generally speaking, if you want to focus on one specific issue, or are looking for more focused work aimed at increasing here-and-now coping, short-term therapy is appropriate. Working this way we would focus carefully on a particular problem, and assist you to use your existing strengths and resources in new ways to help you manage better in your day-to-day life.
For more complex issues, issues concerning ingrained personality traits or behavioural patterns, abuse and neglect, or to support ongoing personal growth, open-ended, exploratory long-term therapy with no defined end point may be more effective. Working this way will enable trust to be built up gradually over time, and will provide a consistent and reliable space for you to come to conceptualise and resolve more deeply seated emotional and mental health difficulties. It will also give you the time to come to understand and accept yourself more fully, which will lead to positive and lasting change, often in unexpected ways.
Ultimately it is up to you how many sessions you have and you may have your own ideas about what you are likely to find most helpful - we can discuss this when we meet.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have over seven years' professional and academic training in counselling and psychotherapy underpinned by a lifelong commitment to learning and personal development. As well as seeing adult clients both in private practice and for a community counselling service, I am also employed in the third sector as a school based child and adolescent counsellor and work as a supervisor for a mental health crisis helpline.
Though originally my background was in the biological sciences followed by accountancy, I have now worked for several years in a variety of different settings supporting people of all ages and backgrounds with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
I became interested in becoming a therapist through engaging in my own personal therapy, and the years I have spent working with my own integrative psychotherapist have been a key factor both in my therapeutic training and personal development. As well as giving me an appreciation of the complexity of the therapeutic process, partaking in my own psychotherapy also gives me a sensitivity to the courage and desire it takes to come to therapy and means I share the common experience of encountering difficulties, seeking help and figuring out how to thrive. Though this doesn't mean I will immediately understand your situation, it does mean I can vouch for the effectiveness of therapy and truly believe it can work for you as well.
- PgDip Integrative Psychotherapy (child, adolescent & adult)
- GCert Integrative Counselling
- BSc (Hons)
- CPCAB certificate counselling skills for working with Children
In line with the ethical frameworks I follow, I undertake a minimum of 50 hours of CPD a year to ensure that my professional skills are up to date and continually developing. In addition to my core psychotherapy training, I have also completed specialist courses in areas such as:
- Eating disorders
- Sexual abuse
- Play Therapy
- Using creativity in counselling
- Working online
Although I am already a qualified and registered counsellor with the BACP and fully meet it's criteria for accreditation, I am currently in the final few months of advanced masters level training and am about to become a fully registered and accredited UKCP child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist. Psychotherapy training involves an intense four-year, postgraduate, in-depth and experiential training in how to work with a variety of people with a wide range of emotional distress, mental health issues and difficulties. All UKCP accredited courses also require their therapists to be in their own personal therapy for a minimum of four years.
My specialist training in child psychotherapy means I have specific skills, training and experience to work with younger clients. It is important when choosing a therapist for your child or adolescent to ensure that the therapist has child specific training, since it is not the same as working with adults.
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.
Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.
All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that is a normal response to a range of different situations. It can be triggered by traumatic events, social and workplace situations, or simply manifest itself as a feeling of general unease and stress. It can often stem from difficult life transitions, such as divorce, bereavement, sudden changes or other cumulative factors. Experiencing a certain degree of anxiety is natural, but experiencing too much anxiety can affect your mental health. Living in a constant or near-constant state of anxiety you feel unable to control can be destabilising and rarely corrects by itself. Under stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol to reduce the stressful feeling and over time cortisol can weaken your immune system. This is why treating anxiety generally improves your overall health as well as your mental wellbeing. Therapy can help you explore the causes of the anxiety you are experiencing, which can be the first step in addressing it and finding new ways to manage it.
Depression is a very common condition that can be triggered by traumatic events or appear for seemingly no reason, often involving a combination of biological and socio-emotional factors. It can affect your body, mood, behaviour and thoughts and create feelings like loneliness, fear, guilt, and worthlessness. Sadly, many people struggle with these feelings on their own for months, or even years, before getting professional help. If you suspect you may be experiencing depression do get in touch - depression can be effectively treated, but only you can take the first step.
Abuse & Trauma
Abuse is when the way others treat you becomes harmful to you. Trauma is when stressful events that you experience shatter your sense of security and make you feel unsafe, helpless or vulnerable in a dangerous world. Immediately after a traumatic event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Therapy can provide a space that allows you to process trauma and abuse. This will involve working with you to reflect on what has happened and how it might be affecting your life today. The focus is on compassion, listening and understanding your experience rather than making a diagnosis. This can help you to process what has happened to lessen the impact that it may be having on your mind and body so that you can feel better about yourself.
Loss & Bereavement
Though death usually comes into our lives much later than in previous generations we will all have encounters with this ultimate truth at some point. Grief is a complex emotion and often taps into other powerful feelings and instincts, especially around how we attach to significant others in our lives. It's normal to experience a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt and anxiety during bereavement. This host of emotions, together with adjusting to living in a world that is very different without your loved one, can be overwhelming. Therapy can provide a safe and supportive space where feelings around a bereavement can be expressed, witnessed and processed. Therapy can also help you to integrate the feelings of loss into your life and support you as you adapt to life without your loved one.
Relationships are a key part of our lives. Whilst they can bring us a great deal of happiness and support, they can often be the source of psychological and emotional distress. Therapy can provide a supportive and non-judgemental environment to help you speak about and identify problems in relationships and find a way through those difficulties. It can also help you to better understand how past experiences may cause you, and loved ones, to relate in ways that are unhealthy or damaging. Therapy can also help you work through breakup or separations, help you to rebuild a relationship and help you to better understand how you relate to others. Therapy also provides the opportunity to explore past and current experiences of being close to others, and what this really means for us, whilst working to strengthen our own sense of self, so that we no longer feel bewildered by the relationships we choose and patterns of behaviour we adopt throughout our lives. This can lead to a greater sense of ourselves in the world we live in, and a deeper understanding of our relationships.
Developing a sense of self, or an identity, is an essential part of every individual becoming mature. Struggling with various parts of identity is natural and normal. Developing an identity or sense of self and those traits a person desires to have can take time and may be challenging. Not having a strong sense of self or struggling with identity issues may lead to anxiety and insecurity. Identity issues may also lead to depression, hopelessness, addiction and more. Therapy offers a safe and supportive space in where people can explore the issues related to their identity which can lessen feelings of anxiety, insecurity and depression. Through therapy, people can also find ways to cope with struggles associated with their identity, build a stronger identity, and ultimately find themselves and become themselves in the process. A strong core sense of self allows us to move through life sometimes adapting and constantly growing as we become more of ourselves within, with others and in the world.
My Views on Mental Health
I do not assume that mental health issues are just biological, or a result of some sort of chemical imbalance in the brain. Economic, social, political and relational environments also affect how we think, feel and act. Intrinsic within providing mental health diagnoses is the belief, or world view, that our behaviours and difficulties can be pathologised.
My approach to mental health recognises and considers the various experiences life can bring and involves an understanding that, from time to time, life can be challenging and that the difficulties we are experiencing are a normal response to this. The approach that I take to therapy therefore involves working with you as an individual and your unique lived experience rather than confining a problem or issue to a diagnosis or tick box like those listed above.
I also consider feelings, symptoms and behavioural patterns to be messages from the self. Therapy can help to make sense of and better understand these messages, which can begin to ease symptoms and relieve distress.
£40.00 per session
Concessions offered for
Sessions last for 60 minutes. Our sessions will start at the agreed time, so even if you are late for a session it will still end at the normal time and the full fee will apply.
Weekly therapy at the same time each week can help with progress since it creates a sense of regularity and rhythm - it is the norm for most clients but by no means for all.
Any cancellations within 24 hours of an agreed session will be charged in full, except in exceptional circumstances. This is because I will have set aside the time for your session and will unlikely to be able to fill the space with such short notice.
My training is Integrative, meaning that I draw on a number of therapeutic approaches, psychological theories and research to match the uniqueness of your situation.
My practise is primarily based on humanistic principles informed by Rogerian person-centred theory, and incorporates psychoanalytic thinking, attachment theory, existential philosophy, phenomenology and transactional analysis. I also draw on a wide body of knowledge from psychology, philosophy, feminism, spirituality, sociology, neuroscience and trauma and health research. I take a special interest in early life experiences, since applying such a developmental approach can bring profound and lasting change. It's not necessary for you to be familiar with these terms to benefit from therapy and, theories aside, ultimately what is important is you and your experience.
Fundamentally, I believe in the primacy of the here and now relationship between you and me, client and therapist. There is ample research showing that what ultimately heals and brings about change are alive, exciting and meaningful relationships, and this is what we would seek to find and build together in the therapy space. This is because I believe that our deepest emotional and psychological wounds occur within relationships, and that is where they also heal. Gentle, non-judgemental exploration in a safe therapeutic relationship yields important insights, healing and growth, particularly in the areas of self-esteem, confidence and relationships.
I like to consider the therapy room as a place for 'safe emergencies:' somewhere you can be all of yourself, perhaps for the first time, and to discover who you can be when you feel truly accepted for who you are. It's a rehearsal space too, ideal for trying out new ways of communicating and presenting yourself to the world. The therapeutic relationship is a key factor in helping us to understand ways of being and relating to others which can be unhelpful or destructive and for working through these. This will lead to improvements both in your day to day life and relationships (with yourself and others) outside of the therapy room.
At the heart of my working style is a lively inquisitiveness around how my clients use metaphor and imagery. As a result I like to work with dream, myth, story, and symbolism. For those who find it especially hard to express their feelings, and find 'talking therapies' sometimes too challenging, using the imagination, and working with objects or art, can offer a new dimension. There is no pressure to find the exact words to convey a feeling and there is no pressure to talk in detail about difficult or painful experiences - an image or object can 'speak' for you. Often ‘light bulb’ moments of recognition and understanding, triggered by subconscious feelings, are brought to the surface using creative therapy techniques.
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
There is no one definitive definition of psychotherapy or counselling and the way psychotherapists and counsellors work can often overlap. Both use talking therapy to help someone tackle an emotional difficulty, but the training for each is different. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there is usually a sense that psychotherapy is longer term and more appropriate for issues that are deep seated and rooted in someone’s past, whereas counselling may be shorter term and appropriate for a single issue of a more recent onset. In this sense counselling and psychotherapy could be regarded as opposite ends of a continuum and there can be an overlap and natural progression between them.
How do I choose which counsellor or psychotherapist to work with?
Both counselling and psychotherapy involve establishing a confidential relationship between therapist and client in which the client feels able to talk freely about whatever is troubling them. The idea is that by listening carefully and attentively the therapist can start to gain an understanding of their client’s experiences, what it is like to be them and help them explore not only how they’ve arrived at this point in their life, but what their options might be for the future (if that is important). By talking about themselves and their situation, people usually find that, at the very least, something opens up, or shifts for them – whether it’s a different way of looking at things or simply how to be.
Given this (and the research supports this claim) the personal and relational qualities of counsellors and psychotherapists are worth far more than their academic levels or professional educations when it comes to therapeutic outcomes, and the amount of personal therapy in which an individual practitioner has engaged will play an important role in this.
As such, I would suggest the most important thing to think about when choosing a therapist, or between counselling and psychotherapy, is whether you feel the therapist is the right fit for you, whether you feel you can work with them and whether they have engaged in their own extensive personal therapy. For your safety, ensuring the counsellor or psychotherapist is qualified and a member of a professional body is also important.
Most therapists expect a first session to be about establishing whether you feel you can both work together. It's ok to see more than one therapist for a first session in order to make the right choice. This might take more effort initially, however will pay off in the long-term if it means you find the right person for you first time.