The word ‘counselling’ doesn’t really do justice as a description of what I offer. People come to see me if they are struggling with relationship problems, personal difficulties, family conflict, stress at work, or illness.
By listening carefully to each person as an individual, I offer relational support to help them become more of their true self – which then often means that their personal identity and purpose in life become clearer, their relationships improve, they fare better at work and their health is easier to manage.
There are two options for working with me:
- Counselling at my discreet private premises near Malmesbury,
- Sessions with my team of horses, facilitated by me, near Brinkworth.
Either way, I aim to offer you a supportive yet high-impact experience that will help you feel distinctly better as soon as you can.
HELP FROM HORSES
If you take the time to tune in, horses have a wonderfully natural way of giving us insight into the way we interact with other people and how we feel about ourselves. Horses are gentle teachers, but their interventions can have a profound impact. You don’t need any experience with horses and there’s no riding involved – just experiencing the horses with me alongside you for guidance and support.
This approach can help in many ways, with many difficulties including:
- Relationship problems,
- Stress at work,
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks,
- Feeling stuck or lack of direction in life,
- Illness and medical conditions such as autism,
- Trauma, sexual abuse,
- Eating disorders.
HELP FROM A HUMAN
When you’re in difficulty, it can really help to talk things through with someone in a professional setting, which ensures the conversation is confidential and discreet. Anyone can benefit from having a sounding board or looking for a different perspective, to regain a sense of balance and wellbeing. Clients often say they feel a bit better even after the first session, when they have been able to offload their worries and be supported when struggling with these kinds of situation (coming along individually or as a couple):
- Relationship difficulties such as cheating, being involved with more than one person, finding out about an affair,
- Conflict and arguing,
- Communication problems,
- Anger management,
- Sexual problems or porn,
- Addiction or compulsive behaviour,
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks,
- Difficult situations or people at work.
The start of my journey towards offering counselling in Malmesbury was benefiting from counselling myself about 15 years ago for the first time. Then I wanted to share the value of what I’d learned, so I could offer to others the kind of interactive support that I found so valuable. After completing a three-year training and started practising over 10 years ago now. Since then I’ve been awarded further qualifications and accreditations by a number of therapy associations. So you can be sure you’ll be speaking to someone who’s a qualified professional, committed to working ethically and confidentially.
Before starting this kind of work, my previous career was in advertising as a client account manager for 15 years. I worked for BBDO, a global agency network, in the UK, Europe and USA, for clients including Sainsbury’s in London, E&J Gallo Wineries in San Francisco, then latterly running GE’s corporate campaigns across the EMEA region. So I understand the demands of working in a fast-paced environment in a demanding yet skilful role for a notable company.
I am grateful to previous clients for their kind words. These are actual comments from real clients, although their identities have been obscured in order to preserve their confidentiality.
Contacting you was the first thing that I did that demonstrated a motivation to change and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. You have helped me to come a very long way from the tearful person you first met and I now feel able to deal with many things in life which would have floored me a few months ago.
Thanks so much for being such a good influence on me this year. I appreciate it a lot! The most precious gift you can give someone is your time - so thanks for your time, Sarah! I must say I think you're a really lovely, warm & strong lady and I'm glad we met!
I wanted to say thank you for your encouragement and support in the last months. Most of all, thank you for listening to me! I have found our sessions invaluable.
I wanted to let you know how I experienced the three equine counselling sessions I have had with you and your two lovely horses, Tia and Jazz. It was a truly positive and uplifting experience and each session allowed me to take home quite profound self knowledge too. I learnt so much about myself and how I relate to others! This was achieved by initially being with the horses and seeing how they perceived my presence (and vice versa) and then by you elaborating on what the experience might mean to me in relation to other people.
The therapy is working, I feel better already!
These case studies use fictional names and are illustrations of the kind of work I do, as composite amalgamations so that particular clients are not identifiable.
This couple came to marriage counselling after 17 years together, since they met at college. Leon had reached a position where he felt so criticised and unappreciated in the marriage that he was contemplating leaving, but held back because of their three children at primary school. They came for counselling sessions once or twice a month, because of his job working away from home at times. Through a slow and careful process, they came to realise that they each felt under-valued and unappreciated in the marriage. Marta liked to plan ahead and get things done. By comparison, Leon’s character was more relaxed and spontaneous, particularly at the weekend with the children around. After 13 sessions, they paused the therapy because they felt they had gained some communication tools to air their grievances without arguing. With tears and some pain, each realised that they would rather stay together and try to rebuild a happy home for their family. They return to therapy for a top-up every few months if they start to argue again or face an obstacle they want to discuss with the counsellor present.
Louisa is a student in her first year of university who developed severe anxiety in the first term. The initial step was a counselling session to stabilise the anxiety so that she deteriorated no further. Then she returned to uni for the second term and held weekly Skype sessions to tackle her anxious feelings. She began to understand the reasons why she could be overwhelmed by anxiety. Steps included returning to lectures; creating a study plan to deliver her assignments on time; ensuring she had some sport and social time built into her routine. After 8 sessions she felt much better, holding a review session to write down everything she’d learned about how to manage her emotions and set herself up for success at uni. Later on, she emailed to say she was doing fine and looking into a placement for her summer vacation.
A female couple in their 40s who came to counselling because of conflict in their relationship. Lily was in recovery from alcohol addiction and had become sober during the first years of the relationship. Both had a strong religious upbringing, which impacted on their wellbeing, especially after coming out. The couple counselling helped each of them recognise the differences in their personalities: Gwen was a strong extravert, whilst Lily was highly introverted. The counselling explored the relationship patterns, communication styles, power dynamics around money, so that they could better understand each other. They both wanted a secure, supportive relationship – which was enhanced by the counselling. They left therapy after a few months, much better equipped to communicate and enjoy life with each other.
Adrian came to counselling many years after his divorce from Trudi, while in his 40s. Although he had maintained a new relationship of over 10 years with Jean, he was still troubled by events from his first marriage to Trudi. Slowly he came to realise that her behaviour had been extremely manipulative and damaging. From researching online, he developed the belief that she had severe narcissistic traits that had a destructive impact on his self-esteem. By carefully tracking the impact of the parenting he received, which predisposed him to being attracted to Trudi in his 20s, he began to have more compassion for himself and for the traumatic life events that he had suffered. Adrian began to dare to live more bravely by tapping into his considerable creative and artistic talents.
Mary suggested that they come for counselling after 15 years together, 8 of which as a married couple. Alan was angry and confused that she had become so distant and dissatisfied – they hadn’t had sex for nearly 3 years. Mary said she was frustrated that he worked away all week then was tired at the weekends, when there was a lot to do around the home and she wanted the chance to go out and enjoy life. After a few sessions, Mary decided she wouldn’t come for counselling any more. Soon after, Alan checked her phone records and FaceBook to find that she was dating an ex-boyfriend. At first she denied the affair, then subsequently he moved out. Since the couple had separated, Alan continued the counselling individually, to help him process the end of his marriage and how to rebuild his life through and past the divorce. He left counselling still feeling very hurt, but recognising that he’d weathered the worst of the storm. He was able to rebuild his life and spend time with his kids more happily.
If you are interested in talking to me about working together, then please do get in touch. We can have a brief chat on the phone to discuss your interest in starting counselling or in the equine-facilitated approach, with a view to arranging an initial appointment for you.
Ashlar Evolution Limited