Dr Annette Gensale

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Counselling Psychologist
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

Kent, BR1
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

I am currently offering affordable counselling, focussed upon developing good communication in relationships.  

Sometimes the most difficult thing for couples, friends or family members to do, is to communicate well.  I aim to support any two people to repair and restore or just maintain good connection by working with how best to listen and to communicate.

Love is essential, however love alone is not always enough. Anxiety about discussing difficult feelings can harm closeness, and cause stress between people; no matter how much they love each other.

Over time, the absence of close and meaningful connection, can cause people to feel unimportant to each other, and even cause them to fall out of love.  Working on good communication is essential to healthy relating. 

Whatever the current situation for you, whether you are wanting to improve how you relate in order to better support each other and protect your relationship, or whether there has been a separation in the relationship, and you are wanting to understand the problems you had in order to improve these within the relationship, or whether you are seeking help to understand what went wrong in a past relationship, counselling can help in understanding the past and protecting the present and the future.

It is important that relationship-work starts off on an even footing.  It is important that you both enter into the counselling with a counsellor who is unknown  to you both.

Low Cost Short-Term Counselling in a Relationship.

In offering Counselling in a Relationship I aim to support you to talk through any aspect of your relationship within the least amount of appointments possible, by focussing effectively on what is most troubling the relationship and upon how you communicate with each other.  

Sometimes the most difficult thing for couples to be able to do is to focus on what really matters to them in the relationship and then to communicate this to each other.  

I aim is to support you towards maintaining and restoring a positive connection with each other.  This counselling  may involve as little as one extended session, or relatively few sessions, in which a blend of more than one approach is  best  applied to help the relationship.  

The focus will be strongly upon your communication with each other, whether you feel particularly concerned about the relationship, or whether you just sense it could be helpful to embark on a short-term exploration of how best to go forward. 

Relationships struggle for all sorts of reasons.  You do not have to feel that your relationship is in deep trouble in order to benefit from short term counselling together. 

There can be many issues impacting each person, for example family issues, anxiety, low self-esteem, but always good communication is key to relating well.  

What might Shorter-term Counselling in a relationship be like?

Counselling will usually take place in a 6 week block of online appointments.

Relationships are unique. The counselling may utilise any aspect of several approaches including Cognitive Therapies, Integrated therapies and Solution-Focussed approaches, or just general talking therapy.  It is not enough to know counselling approaches simply as techniques, as best outcomes will only be maximised by working with you both to create the best approach for your relationship.

Often, one person will make the initial contact with the counsellor and describe what they feel is in need of attention in the relationship.   It can help if you have both discussed what you each feel would be important to include in the initial description of what brings you to counselling.  

Please don't worry if you are thinking about things quite differently, from each other.  It is easy to think that having different views means the relationship is in trouble.  This is not necessarily the case.  

In the initial contact it will be helpful to have a short summary of anything which you agree on and anything that you disagree on, where this seems to concern one of you, or both of you.  Either way, both what you agree on and what you disagree on are part of the relationship, and not necessarily any threat to the relationship..  From this information you will jointly decide to explore any area of anxiety, or difficulty, with the aim of gaining a much fuller understanding of a particular issue and of each other.  Through this understanding, the aim of short-term counselling is for this to improve your relating and connection with each other and so with other issues you have, or have had, concerns about.

Why seek Short-term Counselling in a Relationship?

As with all counselling, people come to counselling to explore a relationship for many different reasons.  You do not need to feel that it will be assumed that your relationship is in any serious trouble just because you have sought support. You do not have to have serious problems in your relationship in order to seek counselling, you may simply want to explore an aspect of your relationship in order to keep this healthy.  It may be that individual issues of for example low self-esteem are impacting your communication.  It may even be that one of you has suffered an individual difficulty and you feel that it is best to deal with this together.  It is healthy to be proactive in a relationship and to seek counselling before any crisis  can occur.    As this counselling is short-term it can be beneficial to explore a specific difficulty in the relationship, but using the time for general exploration with support can also be helpful. 

Any issue that concerns you may feel like it threatens the relationship, but through better communication a bigger problem may seem smaller.  As this counselling is short term,  you may both find it easier to support each other in the short block of appointments.  You will be encouraged to support each other to make the best of the discussions.  You will be encouraged to support each other as you each tell the story of your relationship. The focus will be upon you both and how you can best relate to each other; with support, during your appointments.  As the counselling aims to be short-term, this can help you both to remain focussed on each other and less on the counsellor.

The intention is that you explore, clarify and work through your thoughts and feelings about the relationship and each other within the relationship, towards a happier healthier connection, by focussing on an aspect of your relationship that you each agree would be particularly helpful.

Relationships and Counselling generally...

Relationships bring together different people who have experienced different and unique emotional worlds.  Exploring a relationship within counselling can help any two people in any relationship, to enrich that relationship, or to rebuild a relationship after conflict and or to heal the stress in the connection. 

Relationships are not just about the two people concerned and their connection, they are about how each partner views themselves and the world around them and how they feel that the world has viewed them in the past and in the present.  

The goal of counselling in a relationship is to try to maximise the health of the relationship and to keep it at its best. 

In short-term exploration, you are likely to be wanting support to talk through a specific worry or a block which either you would like to discuss before it becomes a bigger problem, or because it has already become difficult or stressful. 

Relationship dynamics are unique. The way that you react to each other, and then, in turn, how each of you reacts as an individual, can combine with other life factors, past and present, to then impact the relationship.  The way you react to each other may also be a factor of how you feel about the reactions of others around you.  Identifying whether the stress is inside or outside of the relationship, or a factor of both, can be essential to explore.  

Often, unexpected but significant benefits can occur from the revelations that emerge in short-term counselling.   Exploring how you as a couple approach any problem, no matter how small, and optimising this, can help rapidly improve understanding of each other, and therefore communication and care for each other, whilst also supporting your relating more generally.

Why do couples sometimes end relationships too quickly:

The relationship may be ongoing, but equally there could have been a break in the relationship, regardless of which, you have decided to seek counselling together to see if there is still a healthy way forward.  Whether you are together or parted currently,  you will be thinking about wanting to talk about your relationship for reasons which might be shared, or could be quite unique to either of you.  This is not in itself automatically a problem.

A common reason for leaving a relationship can be a feeling that you have grown apart, or even lost feeling, however, this can be a really important phase to explore in a relationship and can even be the beginning of the development of a better relationship.  This needs exploring.

Sometimes people leave a relationship because of a problem, but may later realise that they did not actually want to leave the person, only the situation, or that they misunderstood the situation or their feelings, or those of their partner, and panicked.   For the most part, no-one just intends to hurt another person.  Sometimes people even leave a relationship because they want the best for the other person and their own low self-esteem makes them feel that the other person deserves better, than them so they leave the relationship instead of tackling the self-esteem, or the perceived problem, or the feelings of discomfort or unease and/or fear.

Sometimes the pain of putting something right, or even talking about this, has felt too difficult to engage in.  Very often,  fears that grow are born of poor communication,  which can end a potentially good relationship, often because help was feared, or not sought or even thought about.  

Not having explored how a relationship could have recovered can be a great source of regret, as can a feeling of not having fought harder for the success of a relationship.

These points above may inspire a couple who are together but have some worries about their relationship to seek support whilst together.  Or they may be things to consider where two people find that they wish to talk through, with the support of a counsellor,  what did happen in their relationship together.

Exploring trust:

There does not have to be a fear, or a mistrust at all occurring in the relationship  in order to benefit as a couple from short-term counselling, however, it is not uncommon for people to seek counselling in the middle of some kind of  fear ,or mistrust, or  when they feel the relationship might be in crisis, but again, just because fear or uncertainty has arisen, this does not automatically mean that the relationship is in trouble.

It can be a shock to the relationship where even uncertainty emerges.  People can feel frightened by something as small as having different views on things, or by something that feels bigger than this.

Perhaps there may have been a sudden event which has caused distress within the relationship.  Often, one or other of you may  feel troubled or feel lost about how to explore the possibility of mending and nurturing the relationship.

Unlike in individual counselling appointments,  in counselling in a relationship there are  two people who may feel very differently about an issue and about their relationship, and even  about counselling. One could  feel brought along by the other and the other might feel offended or anxious about the unwillingness of their partner, or about the insistence of the other, or they may perceive themselves to be the guilty party and feel anxious or defensive, or they may fear that the focus of counselling will be solely on them.

In short-term counselling in your relationship, the aim is for discussions not to feel threatening.  What will be important is to recognise that that there is a feeling between you which  can helpfully be explored.

The relationship itself may have experienced a change which feels frightening or threatening.   It may be that something has caused trust to be damaged. There may be distress as a result of an argument, or there may have been betrayal, or the threat of one, or suspicion of one, or one or both of you may struggle more with trust anyway.

Alternatively,  two people may come to counselling after some time of having wondered whether they should try to get some help from someone outside of their relationship to explore something in the relationship.  However, there does not have to be a known threat to the relationship at all.

Sometimes life’s pressures have harmed the relationship, or harmed the trust in the relationship temporarily.  Sometimes childhood wounds have been impacting the relationship and you may both feel that it is time to look at this. In short term work, there would not be in depth exploration of childhoods, but it can be helpful to recognise the role that difficult early lives can play in a relationship.  It can be a source of regret later that  such things were at the heart of the stress in a relationship but were sadly never explored.

Remember that trust is about the sincere feelings and intentions a person has towards and about their partner.  It is not always just about whether something has occurred that made you feel let down, or whether you have been thought to have let your partner down.

Should I have individual counselling whilst having short-term counselling in a relationship?

It is not recommended that you undertake other counselling when having short-term counselling in your relationship.  If either of you are currently having individual counselling, it can be helpful to pause this, although this must be an individual choice.  

Individual counselling will be working on some aspect of your well-being, perhaps a specific fear or phobia, or perhaps motivation, or procrastination, or self-confidence, or a relationship or family or friendship issue; equally it may be discussing the relationship you are bringing to short-term counselling together.   An individual within the relationship may be struggling in a situation or within a relationship, or with something specifically which affects now or has affected your relationship in your past.  The individual counselling may be working with issues which do and issues which do not feel as though they affect your relationship with each other.  You could be struggling with an issue inside or external to your relationship together. Whilst you are committing to a 6 week block of short-term counselling, it may help the balance of relating between you if you are able to pause individual counselling.  This is just because it may help you to focus on the short-term mutual focus in the counselling appointments, and prevent imbalance, especially if only one of you is having individual counselling.  However, this must be down to individual choice.

Any individual issues you may each be aware of, or become aware of in this short-term work, may warrant counselling in their own right and you may wish to seek this elsewhere and separately.  However, in exploring your relationship in short-term counselling, you will be likely to learn a great deal about yourselves as individuals, and about each other, during which other individual issues could benefit.  This counselling would not focus on you or your partner as individuals so much, but rather it focuses on how you are when you are together.

How we begin:-

In the first instance, please send in a brief  summary in your email  of what you believe brings you both to seek counselling.  Please copy this to each other and put both summaries in your enquiry.  Please only write what you are happy to share with each other.  Please include your mutual best availability. If our availability matches, and what you write may be suitable for short-term appointments,  you will be contacted and asked to fill in an initial form by email, with terms for you both to agree to.  If it is felt that short-term counselling might not be best for you,  all information that you have sent will be destroyed.  If this happens this will be because longer-term counselling might best support you both. 

If on receiving your summaries it is thought that short-term counselling could help you,  you will be sent a first appointment.  An initial appointment would be to gain the best understanding of how and whether  short-term counselling could help you in your relationship.  

Please ensure that both your emails are private and cannot be viewed by anyone else, and that you would have absolute privacy if you were to begin an online block of appointments.  Privacy must be assured and recording of appointments is not permitted.  

It is important to note that Short-term Counselling in a Relationship is not suitable for :

Short-term Counselling in a Relationship is not suitable where :

  •  there is any risk of aggression, or abuse within the relationship, from one   or both partners towards the other, or towards anyone.
  •  there is any risk to children from within the relationship.
  •  there is any serious mental health issue in either partner.
  •  there is any risk of self-harm by one or other partner to themselves.
  •  there is currently any serious illness in either partner.

In summary:

In this Short-term counselling the aim is to help you both to have the support to  explore and work on connecting with each other in order to achieve the best outcome. 

It is important to remember that long-term relationships go through important inevitable stages.  It can sometimes feel as if the relationship is lost when it may not be.  Counselling has  been a part of rekindling many connections that were thought to be almost completely lost, until they added this exploration to their important journey together.

Short-term counselling aims to help you both to know what matters most between you. The aim is for you to rely on yourselves and each other and not the counsellor, and for you to grow in confidence in your connection, and to aim to go forward with love, honesty and trust and understanding.

Another  way in which Short-term counselling can help positive relating is in supporting individuals to leave a relationship respectfully.

Parting respectfully and healing:

Going through the important process of parting respectfully does not rule out staying together, or rekindling a relationship, but rather starts with the focus that the couple are struggling with the painful process of a decision or a potential decision to part, or a belief that they should part, or that they did part.

An important part of counselling can be in working with those struggling with the pain of ending their relationship as it has been and finding a new way forward.  If you choose to embark on this support, please make sure you read the section above which explains some of the reasons that Short-term counselling would not be suitable,

Where there has been pain, it can be important to see if there can be healing. there needs to be healing.  It is so important to aim to part from each other respectfully.  Every person deserves to feel respected, even though they will be experiencing pain and difficult and distressing emotions.

Sometimes people seek to explore their relationship when they have already separated.  They may be either considering rekindling or retrying because of the attachment they still hold for one another, or are seeking just to increase understanding and make peace with each other, and to try to maintain their  friendship.  Short term counselling about a relationship can be very helpful in these cases, and offers the least pressure precisely because it aims to be short term.

The idea of 'parting respectfully', is of undergoing a process that is unique to you and the other person concerned , and with care.  In this short-term counselling the counsellor will support you in the aim of remaining straight forward and respectful towards each other and will aim to support you both to avoid the games or blaming. that can hurt you both further and in the long run. This in itself can sometimes heal a relationship. 

There is no actual ‘prescription’ for how to best keep, or how best to cope with the ending of a relationship. There are too many anecdotal social media posts or 'Youtube ' guides with non-individualised approaches stating 'never do this',  or 'never do that', or 'always do this' in a relationship, or when experiencing the end of a relationship,  but they are not you.  Your situation is unique.  Sometimes friends or relatives may offer or even insist on a particular approach to the end of a relationship like delete and destroy everything, or have no contact or other definite approaches, however, they are not you, and taking this advice without supported exploration can be a source of regret later, and could even have prevented the continuation of a positive connection. This is not to negate everything offered by others with the intention to give support, or to take away from any efforts to guide you away from a relationship that is clearly abusive.  However, more generally,  there is no replacement for exploring together what has been, or what could be next in your connection with each other. 

It is not uncommon to undertake Mediation during the ending of a relationship. Mediation, as opposed to counselling  can often and necessarily focus on possessions and the rights connected with these.  Though this can be needed, and helpful, sometimes, in retrospect it is clear that if parting had been undertaken well emotionally, with the support of counselling, that the two people  would have moved forward with more confidence in themselves, and also more kindness to each other and to others, and sometimes, where things could have been right for them both, might not have parted at all.  

Sometimes  mediation ends up focusing on what is really best worked through in a counselling setting.  Many couples benefit from talking through their feelings at this point in their relationship, even where they are parting, and either find that they no longer need mediation, or are more prepared to work well within mediation where this is most helpful to them.  This can be all the more important where children are involved, and it can be vital where there have been feelings of mistrust on either or both sides, or there have been misunderstandings in the long-term.  

Where it is important that a relationship ends, exploring how best to do this is healthy.  Parting well supports future relating with each other and the health of your future relationships. as individuals 

It is important to remember that wherever you feel you are in the journey of your connection with each other,  it is never too late for good communication to be a healing process.  This is true whether the outcome is that the relationship flourishes again as partners, or simply rests easy with its ending amid good feelings, or in friendship.

Short-term counselling which aims to support you both to focus on and to understand what matters most to each of you and both of you, can help you to part with care wherever possible, especially where you have invested in each other deeply in your lives.  This can help maintain good attachments. What is important is what you each take away from  the relationship and how you best use this going forward. 

Training, qualifications & experience

Dr. Counselling Psychology (DPsych)

Chartered Counselling Psychologist (CPsychol)

Postgraduate  Dip in Counselling Psychology

Post-Master of Science Diploma – Counselling Psychology

MSc Counselling Psychology

Psychology and Communication PGCE

Psychology BSc

HCPC/BPS Registered and Accredited


Diploma in Supervision

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

Registered / Accredited

Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.

HCPC
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.

They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.

Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.

BPS
British Psychological Society (BPS)

British Psychological Society

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Special interests:
Entertainment business and related issues
Singers and other Creative artists
Musicians

Anxiety
Depression
Post natal depression and anxiety

Attachment
Relationship issues
Family communication
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Sibling health where another child has significant needs.

Parents of young people with OCD
Parenting issues and Stress.
Being a parent of a child or young person with special needs or mental health difficulties
ADHD
Dyslexia
Somatic problems – how stress is expressed through your body
Self-harmful behavioural strategies
Self-esteem and Identity issues


Parents and individuals with hearing impaired close relatives: 
Sign Language:- I have an understanding of deaf culture. If you are a hearing child of deaf parents, or if you would like to see if I can be of help with my understanding of some of the experiences you might have had as a person who is hearing impaired, or who is from a family where there are individuals who have hearing impairment, please do email me to discuss. You may however, find this link more useful than I can be for you: http://righttherapist.com/dir/languages/british-sign-language.


Research and involvement:
Parents' own childhood experiences of the mental illness of one or more parent.

Daughters of mental illness.

Motherless mothers

Person-centred curriculum in psychology and psychiatry

Fees

£65.00 per session

Concessions offered for

  • Trainee counsellors

Additional information

Fees are £65 for each 60 minute appointment.

Fees are payable in advance of each appointment.

Fees are non-refundable.

Appointments can be rearranged with 3 days notice.

Please  note that I do not undertake Psychological testing.

When I work

Appointments are to be mutually arranged.

Further information

In applying for short-term counselling - you agree to the following in order to keep yourself and others safe.

Keep Yourself Safe...

If you do  not feel safe in your relationship now or at any point, or with any other person, or you fear that you may harm yourself in any way tell your GP, or go to A and E, or contact any emergency service or specialised charity. or service. Do  not contact a counsellor.  A counsellor is not an emergency service.  Counsellors can only be called in an emergency if they are set up to be an emergency 24 hour service and are not therefore offering regular therapy, as this would get interrupted by emergencies, and emergencies would not get through. In an emergency you will  need to contact or go to a service which is set up to answer emergency calls and respond to emergencies and can protect you.

Remove yourself from threat at your earliest safe possibility. 

Remove yourself if you feel vulnerable to becoming a threat to your partner or to anyone else.

Short-term appointments are not appropriate to discuss any actuality of violence in your relationship. or threat of violence., or suicidal thoughts or intentions.  Remember that violence is not only, or always physical.

It is important that you always remember that a counsellor is NOT an emergency point of contact, and that in an emergency, you should contact emergency services and not your counsellor.  Your counsellor is only available during your appointments, for the process within each appointment, and not in between appointments or beyond these.

Outside of your appointments, keep yourself safe by doing your best to stay aware and to remain honest about the extent of any aggression or threat by you or by your partner or anyone towards you or anyone vulnerable that is with you or connected to you..

Outside of your appointments, keep yourself safe by doing your best to stay aware and to remain honest about the extent of any low feelings you have and to act to protect yourself or your partner or a vulnerable other accordingly.

Look ahead and make sure that you know who to contact should you ever suddenly feel at risk to yourself, or towards another., or from another.  Make your own list of what will help you if you feel low., and/or if you feel threatened.

In applying for short-term counselling you agree to make your own list of numbers for emergency contacts, and you agree to keep a list of these  contacts on your person.

Make your own list of emergency contacts, both organisations and friends and family where relevant.  Search ahead for crisis charities, eg:- https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

https://thedashcharity.org.uk/

This does not mean you are going to need any of these at all, but if you do, you will be glad to have the numbers you need.

The Samaritans

Web: Samaritans

If you live in the UK, the quickest way that the Samaritans recommend that you contact them is by phone on 116 123, this number is FREE to call.

Crisis Teams:

There should be a crisis team in your area available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find out the local telephone number for the Crisis Team in your area, ahead of needing this.  Search ahead for charities dealing with crises such as  domestic abuse

Call 999 or go straight to your local Accident and Emergency Department in your local hospital and wait if you ever feel at immediate risk from yourself of another person.

Type of session

Online
Phone

Types of client

Adults
Couples

Key details

Appointments are mutually agreed

Dr Annette Gensale
Dr Annette Gensale