Oliver Bettany - Humanistic Therapeutic Counsellor (PG Dip, MBACP)
The future is suddenly a much scarier place. The coronavirus impacts us all in a multitude of ways. Change on this scale can feel overwhelming, causing stress, fear, anxiety, depression, grief, anger, loneliness, addiction, hopelessness. Whether you’re feeling the impact of the coronavirus or something else, sharing your feelings honestly can really help.
If you’re thinking about counselling then I’m assuming you’re struggling right now. That’s okay. There comes a point for many of us when we just can’t handle things on our own anymore. We need help making sense of our lives, and all the challenges we face.
Perhaps you've been struggling for a long time. Perhaps you’re ready to make some changes but you don’t know how. Perhaps something has happened which has turned your life upside down. Perhaps you simply want a different perspective on things.
Sussex Counselling Space provides a place to talk, deeply and honestly, about the things which really matter, the stuff it’s scary to say out loud, the thoughts and feelings that, if you let them out of the box, you fear may pull you under.
You have more strength than you know. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of knowing where to start, and then taking the first step.
“I first worked with Oliver in 2016 when I was going through a particularly dark and confusing time in my life. Depression was the condition which I had been diagnosed with and the condition which I am so grateful to say that Oliver has helped me to recover from. The sessions with Oliver were gentle enough for me to want to go back each week, but challenging enough for me to feel as though progress was being made. Oliver always worked from a place of spiritual understanding and always brought humanity and kindness to our sessions.” - Fiona, Hove
“I found Oliver's sessions extremely helpful. He gave me clarity from the very first session and it felt like a lot of weight had been lifted. The best thing I got out of my time with him is the steps of action to improve my life, I took action on everything and I can now say that I feel much better, less stress and my anxiety is very rare. I just suggest you try 2 or 3 sessions with Oliver and you will see the benefits.” - Adam, Brighton
Home is where we start from
For many of us, by the time we reach adulthood, our relationship with our inner child - the part of us that still feels and acts like a child - is very complicated. Counselling can help us get back in touch with the deeper needs of this part, the aspect of ourselves that we often need to listen to in order to leave home psychologically, stop acting out and self-sabotaging, and thus bring about balance and meaningful change in our lives.
Why? Our modern lives are busy, often overwhelmingly so, and we are often compelled to grow up too fast and so discount our inner child's basic needs for nurturing, safety, creativity and fun. How frequently do we get an opportunity to take some time out to properly check in with ourselves, explore what's really going on for us, deep down? And yet this kind of simple self-care is so important for our wellbeing.
Most of us maintain dozens of relationships - with parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, colleagues... hundreds of busy interactions with other people every single day of our lives. But how many of these moments nurture our deeper selves and feed our fundamental need for security, belonging and connection with other human beings?
We all have thoughts and feelings that we fear to share with our loved ones. Sometimes it just gets to be too much and we're compelled to reach out to someone who is not a part of our everyday life but who understands and cares about us nonetheless. Until we're ready to create a society that has this kind of care and understanding built right into its fabric, counselling provides an important and life-enhancing experience of support during the more challenging chapters of our journey through life.
Working with men
Developing a healthy relationship with our masculinity is a potent force for positive transformation. Men's Work aims to help men to reclaim this positive force for change in their lives.
I've been actively involved in Men's Work for the last seven years, having co-founded a Sussex-based men's group called The Silvatici (“The Men of the Woods”) in 2012 and more recently joined A Band of Brothers, a voluntary organisation which mentors young men from the criminal justice system. Over the years I have also supported many men through the most difficult chapters in their lives in my one-to-one counselling practice.
The founding principal of Humanistic counselling is a belief that every one of us has the basic and inborn capacity to grow fully into ourselves, to become the person we were meant to be in this life, and that this is a life-long process. What this translates to in relation to the counselling I offer is that I know that deep down you are an expert in you. You hold the key which will unlock the door to reveal the best way forward for you.
So what am I good for?! Well, it can take a lot of time and space to begin to connect with this inner expert, in our journey through life we learn to throw up an awful lot of barriers to this kind of inner connection. I will work with you to create the conditions necessary for you to navigate these barriers and tap into the deep expertise you possess: together we will create a safe place from which you can begin to make contact with what is underlying the challenges you're experiencing right now. I can help you find the key.
The cornerstone of my counselling practice is a powerful and practical approach called Transactional Analysis (or T.A. for short) which empowers clients with self understanding and provides them with tools to help them make new choices in dealing with the challenges of life. However, central to the way I work is my appreciation of the fundamental uniqueness of everyone I work with and so I recognise the importance of creating a new therapy for each new client, one which is informed by my experience working with a number of other Humanistic approaches to counselling, including:
Counselling with an ecological perspective
Taking my understanding of Humanistic psychology as a starting point I also integrate into my work an ecological perspective on the causes of human distress. If you have a sense that the difficulties you're experiencing are somehow connected to how our society is set up then this way of seeing things may provide a helpful way for you to reframe things.
This perspective takes as its starting point an appreciation of the complex web of interrelationships that exist between "psyche" (the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious), the society in which we live and the more-than-human world of nature which the human world is inextricably intertwined with. It is a perspective which takes into account the fact that our minds are not only tangled up with the social conditions in which we live, they are also deeply rooted in the earth. When we split psyche from nature, as a lot of modern psychology tends to do, this gets forgotten and a particular kind of sickness sets in. It is a form of this sickness which ails so many of us in our modern society. This is what we mean by the term alienation from nature.
Now you know a bit about the kind of counselling I offer, what next?
Training, qualifications & experience
- PG DIP Humanistic Therapeutic Counselling (Brighton University)
- Heartswork certificate in Couples Counselling
- Heartswork certificate in Groupwork
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
I charge £45 for a 50 minute session of online or telephone counselling.
I offer a free half hour initial consultation over the phone.