Judith Schuepfer-Griffin Registered MBACP, BA Hons
If you are thinking of getting some counselling you might want to know how it actually works. All counsellors are different and work in their individual ways. This is how I do it: Our first personal contact will probably be by phone or by email or text. We will then meet for an assessment. There is free parking right outside my house and there are also buses every fifteen minutes that stop at a five minute walking -distance. For you this first meeting is to find out whether you like me and feel comfortable with me or not and whether I work in a way that suits you. For me this is to find out what brings you here and what your expectations are, whether you’ve had counselling before or not, and to explain to you about confidentiality, cost, duration of sessions etc. We then both go away, have a think and a feel, and then decide whether we would like to work with the other person. Once we have decided to go ahead together we will find a time-slot on which we are both free every week. If this is not always possible we can make appointments from week to week. If you find yourself in the middle of a major crisis we can meet twice a week until you feel that once a week would be enough. Otherwise we will meet weekly. It takes a bit of time to get to know, and connect with, each other.
After a while we can review our work together and see what changed since we started and where we want to go from here. Some clients want to focus on a certain problem or situation and once this has changed they want to stop. Others might be struggling with an existential crisis and want to go deeper in which case the work can be open-ended or until the client finds him- or herself on solid ground again and feels that they can go it alone from here.
I don’t work after one certain method. It’s more like having a tool box with lots of different tools in it and using the one that seems appropriate for this client in this session: Some clients mainly want to talk things through and understand what’s actually happening to them. Others have a talent for working with dreams and imagination; again others might want to learn to communicate in a more effective way or how to deal with emotions that cause them problems like anger or depression, or they suffer from physical symptoms and body-focussing may be helpful to them. As persons we are equals and we are creating this process of change together. It’s not for me to tell you what to do or to give you all the answers. Your Inner Self knows what needs to happen to make your life better and more fulfilling, and through this process the answers will emerge. It’s all there! The treasure lies within you. Together we can find out how to unearth it.
Before I go into more detail about some specific difficulties I would like to introduce my new book to you:
LIVING WATER - Counselling and Psychotherapy for Beginners and Life Skills for Everyone
The book is written in easy to understand language without any jargon. It is made up of short, concise chapters that suggest to readers new ways of looking at what we perceive as our problems, and how to see them in a different light. It is made up of short, concise chapters and is full of practical ideas and alternative ways of relating to others, ourselves, our difficulties and troublesome emotions. New clients are sometimes a little intimidated when thinking about starting therapy. Living Water explains in detail how starting therapy works, what to expect, and aims to help you to find a way in to therapeutic thinking and reflection.
It's available on Amazon as e-book or paperback.
Now to some specific issues:
It can be quite scary to take that first step and contact a therapist. It can feel like crossing a threshold. Maybe we have admitted to ourselves that we could do with some support but to make that phone call means that we admit it to another person as well. This is not easy since most of us have learned that we should be able to cope on our own and that admitting to needing help is a weakness. I think that asking for support is a courageous thing to do; it's the first step to sharing the burden and making our lives better! We may battle with too much anger, a mighty energy which can cause a lot of trouble and destruction in our lives and relationships. But this powerful energy could also be used in a positive, constructive way. We just need to find out how to do that, and this we can do in therapy.
In my experience, people who decide to get counselling because of anger sometimes get scared after they contacted the counsellor. I think they might get scared of facing up to the damage this issue has caused in their lives and relationships. They feel ashamed and afraid, and it may seem too hard to admit this to themselves and to a counsellor. They may turn up for the initial free meeting and say that they want to give it a go. But then shame and fear kick in and they cancel the next session, which is really regrettable because in counselling they might finally find somebody who doesn't judge them, who could help them to understand where all this anger comes from, and how to change their lives for the better. For some people anger was the only way to get through difficult and scary times, a survival-mechanism. In counselling they would get the chance to learn to cope with difficulties without destroying their relationships all around them. I really would like to reassure them that things can and will get better as long as they can take that risk and make a commitment to the counselling process.
We may feel down a lot of the time, sad, depressed, and life may seem quite pointless at times. We have no energy, can hardly get out of bed most days; we feel heavy and exhausted by our struggle to get through the days. Nothing seems to cheer us up and we seem trapped in darkness and loneliness. Many things can be at the root of depression and it is possible to find that root. First we can find it, learn to understand it and then change it and improve the way we feel and live our lives.
Do you know what would make you feel content, peaceful or even cheerful? Do you even allow yourself to ask yourself these questions? Or is it too scary because the implications would be too serious? Do you instead lump it, put up with it, endure it, grin and bear it, grit your teeth and get on with it? – Some things can’t be changed but we can change the way we feel about them and make peace with them. But maybe we feel trapped in a certain situation, frustrated, unhappy, helpless, clueless, even desperate. We might not know what else to do than to bear it and suffer it. We can’t see a way out; we don’t know how to change it. So we swallow hard, push away the sadness and carry on as usual. We might not even want to talk about it because “what good can it do to dwell on it” and “talking never changed anything”. Well, I beg to differ! Talking about it is the first step towards change, even if we have no clue how that change could happen. It’s about allowing ourselves to acknowledge our sorrow by sharing it with a trusted person, about getting it off our chest, about breaking our isolation and loneliness by entrusting it to someone else, not the actual problem but our feelings about it. A muted, isolated person is like a seed in a bag, like frozen soil. To keep it all in and get on with it is stagnation; we endure life without living it. A person who shares their sorrow with somebody else is planting the seed and thawing the frozen soil so that things can start to move and live again.
Counselling for Couples
Relationships can bring a lot of joy and fulfilment if we know how to do it. This may sound strange but unfortunately most of us aren't taught anywhere, not at home and not in school, how to make relationships work. What most people who have relationship-problems think is: If my partner would change, then all would be well. But of course that's only half the story. It takes two to tango, and it takes two who are willing to learn new ways of relating to turn things around. We often go into a relationship with the hope that the other person will make us happy and fulfil our needs. This is partly true, but only partly. We all have a history and bring baggage into a relationship; and we may be living under the illusion that our partner should give us what we never had and should heal our wounds. Normally this is too much to ask, and partners can feel helpless and overwhelmed by the demands of the other. But there are also partners who don't know how to listen properly, or they don't know how to speak out and say what they feel and think, and how to do this in a way that brings positive results. Some partners think that the relationship is fine while the other one feels neglected and lonely. Learning how to communicate is paramount. It's the foundation on which good relationships can be built. If your attempts at communicating always turn into rows then you are caught up in a "drama-dynamic". In counselling we can work on how to step out of this destructive dynamic and how to talk things through in a way that will make both partners feel heard and appreciated. A relationship will get better if both partners are willing to do this work.
Or we may have lost a loved one and don't know how to cope and to live without that person. Bereavement can be cruel, and it is not necessary to go through all that pain on our own. It is helpful to share this difficult experience with another human being and to tell somebody who is able to really listen, about the person we lost. We may even have conflicting emotions: grief, pain, but also anger about being left behind, or guilt and regret because there were some things unspoken, unfinished. It is possible to work through all these emotions and to find the strength to carry on living without that person. We can even learn how to make peace with the person who is physically no longer with us, and so find inner peace for ourselves as well.
These are only a few of the issues that can be explored in therapy. Please see below for a more complete list.
In the 1980s I trained in Transactional Analysis (all about how we communicate) and Bioenergetics (how Body, Mind and Soul affect each other). Later I have undertaken further training in Integrative Therapeutic Counselling which includes working with issues in the present, understanding how our past still affects us today, and supporting clients to discover and realise their potential so that they can become who they could be and develop into mature, complete persons. Life is not about becoming perfect, it's about becoming whole, complete.
For me this is the most important work there is: to be totally present with a person or a couple, to get to know them more and more, to deeply listen and to be there with them on their quest for better relationships with others and themselves, for more understanding and meaning, for a happier and more fulfilling life.
If it suits the client I also like to work with Dreams, Visualisation and Active Imagination. This way of working is inspired by the approach of the Swiss Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung and often results in surprising insights and improvements because it is a much more direct way to connect with our inner world than just talking.
I believe that client and counsellor are equals as persons, working together to improve the client’s quality of life.
I see it as my role as a counsellor to support clients in their quest for a better quality of life. I make suggestions and offer guidance but clients decide whether they want to take them up.
Our work together is confidential. I offer a warm Welcome to you and a safe, confidential space in which difficult issues can be explored and where you won't be judged, whatever you bring to our sessions.
I can offer counselling in English, German and Swiss German.
Training, qualifications & experience
- CPCAB Diploma in Integrative Therapeutic Counselling Level 4
- CPCAB Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling Level 5
- Level 3 Award in Education and Training
- Offering supervision
- Core Tutor for CPCAB Level 4 and Level 5 Counselling Training at Sweet Track Counselling Centre, Glastonbury
- Training in Transactional Analysis and Bioenergetics
- EMI (Eye Movement Integration) for Treatment of mild to severe Trauma and PTSD
- Experience in working with Addiction
- BA (Hons) Fine Art
- I am a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists BACP
- BACP Certificate of Proficiency
- My work is strongly inspired by Jungian Psychology
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
- Problems with Menopause
- Life: Is this it? What's it all about?
- Physical Symptoms / aches and pains
£50.00 per Session for Individuals (60 minutes)
£60.00 per Session for Couples (60 minutes)
Some things in life are truly mysterious but many of them needn’t be.
Once we decide to take a proper look at them they can be understood and changed. Usually we try to change things outside of us, other people, a different house, a new car. We think: “If this person would be different, then I could be happy.”Or: “If I had a different house, a bigger, better car, a new TV or a new handbag I would feel better.”
Sometimes these things do help but often it doesn’t work for very long. It may distract us for a while until we realise that we still feel the same emptiness, restlessness or frustration, the same loneliness, sadness or powerlessness. Then we need to look deeper and counselling can help with this.