Valerie Shipp BSc, BA, MBACP(accredited)
I live in Mealsgate, North Cumbria close to the Lake District National Park. Spending time in the outdoors is an important part of my life and I take full advantage of all that the Lake District has to offer. My partner and I are keen fell walkers, we sail and canoe on the lakes and the sea and we enjoy our large garden. Connection with nature is an essential part of my spiritual renewal and it informs my practice as a counsellor and healer.
I have two locations that I work in; our home in Mealsgate has a purpose built therapy room, dofwnstairs loo and waiting area which are all disabled accessible, though you will need to drive to get to us. I also have a counselling room in Carlisle, 10mins from the city centre; again all the rooms are disabled accessible.
What to expect from counselling
- You will be accepted for who you are.
- You will be supported throughout your time with me as you talk about your life.
- Your feelings and thoughts about your experiences will be listened to and respected.
- You will be given the time it takes to tell your story and you will be heard.
- And slowly, as your story emerges, you will come to a better understanding of whatever has brought you to my counselling room.
- We will explore how you can develop healthier relationships and behaviour patterns so that old situations do not keep happening.
- You will leave with a clearer sense of who you really are, and how to deal with life from a more integrated and powerful self.
One to one counselling is about building a particular kind of relationship between the client and the counsellor. The counselling relationship is built on trust, respect, empathy and care which the counsellor offers as unconditionally as possible.
It seems that someone taking the time to listen is becoming a rare event in our modern lives and we underestimate how important it is as a part of caring for each other.
“Clients often report a huge relief, a lifting of a weight off their shoulders after just one session, simply because they have told their story and been listened to.”
Building trust and rapport is an essential part of the early stages of the therapeutic relationship which will happen at the pace that is comfortable for you. I will give you the time and space to get used to this new kind of relationship and how person-centred counselling works.
I understand how important confidentiality is when you are wondering how much you can say. A key part of the ethical framework within which I work* states that, as far as possible, whatever you disclose in the counselling room is held in the strictest confidence. I also know how risky it feels to start talking about painful or shameful events which you may not have told anyone about. I will listen without judging you and with an open mind. This is what person-centred counselling is about; being given the time and support you need to tell your story.
* The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy
When a couple comes for counselling it usually means that they have lost the ability to communicate properly with each other so need a third person to help that process.
Often the situation has built up over months, maybe years and there are patterns of behaviour and thinking which keep couples ‘stuck’ in a loop which neither can see a way out of. Sometimes one or both have a history of poor relationships in their family background which is affecting their ability to relate to their current partner.
My skill in working with couples is about treating both people with equal care and respect, allowing contradictory positions to be equally valid and gently untangling the misunderstandings and assumptions which so often keep relationships in unhealthy patterns. Relationships can be a source of great joy but also great pain and I know how important it is to care sensitively for people when they are most vulnerable.
“Working with relationships is some of the most demanding but most rewarding work I do. To see a couple become more loving and open to each other is always a moving experience.”
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s)
When things are going badly for someone often it is their work colleagues who notice a difference in the person and in their ability to work effectively. While work mates will give that person some support and allow them to ‘coast’ for a few weeks, there comes a point when the employer feels they have to take action. Managing people is one of the biggest challenges an employer has. Obviously being a good boss includes taking care of people’s needs, but this has to be balanced with the company’s needs too.
I have been working in Employee Assistance Programmes for over 10 years with a wide range of companies from multinational banks to small local concerns with only a few employees. I offer short term solution focused counselling to employees who are sponsored by their companies for a limited number of sessions – usually between 5 and 10. These sessions allow the client to talk in confidence about the problems they might be having at home or at work and to start finding a more effective way of dealing with them.
Sometimes the person might continue to go to work when they could have taken sick leave, or perhaps they return sooner as a result of the counselling they receive. Perhaps the client might feel more confident in asking for a change in their hours or sometimes they simply need some better strategies in managing their own working practices.
For example I can demonstrate stress management techniques, conflict resolution, dealing with bullying or perhaps helping people to separate work and home life to create a better balance overall. These are life skills which can be learned and which make the working environment easier for everyone.
I am also trained in trauma or crisis intervention in the event of a critical incident or redundancy announcements. I can work one to one or with groups depending on the circumstances and will tailor my approach to suit the situation.
Companies whose employees I have helped; Lloyds TSB, RBS, Skipton Building Society, Carlisle Probation Service, Scottish Prison Service, Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Police, Caledonian University, Virgin Trains, First Scot Rail, Dumfries & Galloway Fire Service, Barnardo’s, NSPCC, Ernst & Young, Dept of Work & Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs, McVities Biscuits, Let Go (Carlisle).
Sometimes it is simply too difficult or time consuming to come to the counselling room so I offer counselling by telephone. This can be used either to bridge a long gap between face to face sessions or a purely telephone counselling arrangement can be agreed. Much of what has already been said about face to face counselling applies to telephone counselling. Having someone take the time to listen to your story with care and compassion is a transforming experience in itself. Once a counselling relationship has been developed the method of communication ceases to be important.
Before I became a full time counsellor I was a volunteer for the Samaritans so I am experienced in using this way of connecting with people.
Supervision for counsellors and related professions
All counsellors are required to have supervision with another counsellor who has been specifically trained as a supervisor. This is part of the support that counsellors need in order to do their work and remain emotionally open and healthy. I have my own supervisor who supports my work and I also offer this service to other counsellors or related professions. I completed my counselling supervision training in 2008 and I now work with counsellors and other related professionals as their supervisor.
Humans are naturally empathic, so caring for people in crisis is a difficult experience. If we have this experience repeatedly without being cared for ourselves, we run the risk of becoming disconnected from our emotions, becoming too well defended or alternatively we end up overwhelmed by our own and other people’s emotions. Either outcome is emotionally unhealthy and ultimately will cause us problems, physically or psychologically.
If you are working in one of the caring professions or regularly have to deal with people in crisis, perhaps some additional support would be welcome.
“Caring for the carers is one of the most important tasks, and caring for ourselves as carers is part of our responsibility to ourselves and others around us.”
I can offer you my experience as a counsellor and supervisor to give you the space to release the backlog of emotions and help you learn how to manage your emotional health so that your work can continue in a balanced and sustainable way.
I currently work as an external supervisor for a number of organisations which deal with particularly difficult client groups.
Training, qualifications & experience
Qualifications & Training
1982 – Bsc (Hons) in Ecology
1997 – Diploma in Person Centred Counselling
1998 – BA (Hons) in Psychology
2001 – Certificate in Person Centred Supervision of counsellors and other related professionals
2010– Present; Ongoing training as a practitioner of Therapeutic Shamanism; Families and Ancestors, The Medicine Wheel, Soul Retrieval, Plant Spirit parts 1, 2 & 3. Death and Dying.
Workshops & Personal Development
1986 – 1996 Volunteering with the Samaritans
1995 – 2000 Counselling abused children who have special needs
Working with the shadow
Sexuality and Identity
Counselling couples in crisis
Creative and play therapy
Jungian symbolism and spirituality
1996 – 1998 Second Aid Spiritual Psychotherapy
2005 – Express Your Spirit; spiritual workshop facilitators’ training
2006 – 2007 The Transpersonal Self; advanced empathy in the counselling room
2007 –El Silencio,California; a week long Core Process workshop including deep energy work, spiritual psychotherapy and Vision Quest.
Accreditation and professional bodies
- MBACP (Accredited)
As an accredited counsellor with the BACP I have met the standards for training, experience and ongoing professional and personal development that the BACP requires for this designation.
- Full member of Person Centred Therapy (Scotland)
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Relationship problems
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Separation and divorce
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
Other areas of counselling I deal with
I am currently training in Therapeutic Shamanism as an additional way of helping clients. Shamanism is the oldest form of spirituality which humans have practised for at least 60,000 years. It is based on developing close connections with nature and the elements and being able to use ancient wisdom along with spirit guides to help with the most deeply entrenched problems.
According to Shamanism there are only two reasons why people get ill; Soul Loss and Power Loss. Soul Loss occurs when part of a person's soul leaves, usually as a result of trauma, abuse, illness or stress. It is commoner than is generally recognised and in its most extreme forms can be debilitating to the person and their relationships. After a short interview with the client, the shamanic practitioner will journey to where the lost soul is hidden and will encourage it to return to its rightful place. Usually the reunion is both joyful and deeply moving.
Power Loss is often associated with situations which evoke a sense of powerlessness or abuse of power which the person was unable to deal with in the past, possibly in childhood. Again the shamanic practitioner will establish how and when the power loss occurred and will journey on behalf of the person in order to find out how to restore the lost power and make sure the situation does not arise again.
These are just two of the functions of a therapeutic shamanic practitioner. If you would like to discuss how shamanism could be part of your healing process, feel free to call me or email.
Individuals £48 / 1 hour session
Couples £55/ 1 hour session
Supervision £60/ 1.5 hour session
Student and unwaged concessions available.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Supervision & training
Supervision for counsellors and related professions.View supervision profile