confidential psychological counselling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples



What Kind of Therapy Do You Offer?

People asking this often mean ‘What specific kinds of problems do you deal with.’ I offer help with psychological and emotional difficulties no matter what form these take. Most often discussed are: relationships, self doubt and low self-esteem, sexuality, abuse of all kinds, family, work and eating problems. There are as many combinations and types of difficulties as there are individuals.

My theoretical orientation is ‘integrative’, an integration of Psychodynamic and Person Centred theories.

I don’t offer CBT or any other type of therapy which dispenses pre-existing programmes or direct advice.


Eating Disorders

I have a good deal of experience working with people with eating difficulties, and find that certain information in advance might make it easier to make a decision about whether to come to therapy.

You would not be questioned about your weight, put on any diets, or asked intrusive questions. Discussion of your feelings about eating and where these feelings have come from will be a major part of therapy. Lasting change may take time to achieve and will depend on your own decisions. You will not be pressurised at all, or patronised. There are always reasons why people feel the need for strict control of food intake, or to purge or overeat, and these reasons will be explored in a safe environment.

If you feel that you need a stricter approach, there is a good NHS eating disorders service in Bristol, accessible through your GP.


Sexual Difficulties

Discussion of sexuality can be an important part of therapy. If, however, you are seeking help with a specifically sexual problem such as erectile dysfunction or loss of libido, you would be better advised to see a specialist psycho-sexual therapist, possibly with your partner.

I maintain a ‘sex positive’ policy: sexuality (in its many forms) is to be celebrated, not disapproved of.


Are you a Christian?

I do not have any religious beliefs or affiliations. I was brought up C of E and went to a church school, then in late teens and twenties was interested in Buddhism, but do not describe myself as religious.


What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Very broadly, ‘Counselling’ is usually the term given to shorter interventions, which may be for a fixed period of say, six or ten weeks. The term ‘psychotherapy’ is usually used where the intervention goes on for longer, often many months or even years.

Other than that, there is no clear difference between the two. Many counsellors and psychotherapists believe that there is not much point in having two separate terms, as they refer to similar therapeutic processes.

Having said that, however, some broad differences in the two terms might sometimes be valid. The term ‘Counselling’ is more likely to be used to describe meetings with a counsellor who deals in specific issues, such as drugs and alcohol recovery. Counsellors in these specialisms may not have had as much training, or as broad and deep a training, as psychotherapists. Some counsellors have undertaken only training for a specific type of problem. These are usually issues which involve a program of recovery, or which give advice. Some counsellors in these areas may not have had therapy themselves.

Psychotherapists will be likely to have had a long training, during which they will have been required to undertake therapy for themselves. This therapy will have lasted for at least the duration of their training. The therapist will be prepared to enter into a deeper therapeutic relationship with a client than the kinds of counselling mentioned above. This will involve close listening to what the client says, and reacting to this according to the particular approach of the therapist.

I describe myself as a counsellor and psychotherapist because I offer both short and long term interventions. I had six years of training and was in therapy myself for much of this time.





















© 2010 John Hardy Counselling Bristol