“You Should Go And Speak To Someone”

It’s such an easy comment to make to someone who’s struggling. But what does it mean to go and speak to someone?

How to find a counsellor

There are many ways to find a counsellor. Google searches, professional directories, personal recommendations are amongst the most common ways. Here are some things to look for with a counsellor:

  • Membership of a professional organisation (such as the BACP)
  • Recognised qualifications (if you don’t recognise it, don’t be afraid to ask)
  • Someone who speaks to you on a personal level – Think about what you like in a person and what sort of person you feel comfortable around.

If you’ve got questions, you should feel free to ask. Whether it’s via email or over the phone.

Once you’ve found a counsellor, make an initial appointment to go and see them.

And then what…?

Client’s are often unsure during first sessions. Naturally, there are a few bits of housekeeping that needs to be done during a first session, but there should be plenty of time for you to talk about what’s brought you to counselling and what you’d like to achieve (if you know that!).

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about opening up to a stranger. In order to find out whether the counsellor feels able to support you they will ask you questions. Honesty is important, but so is going at your own pace. There’s no requirement for you to open up until you’re comfortable to do so.

Counselling is different things to different people and sometimes it’s different week to week for the same person.

As a counsellor, I’m trained to listen and support you. As a person, I aim to connect with each of my clients and ensure they feel safe and heard.

If you’d like to find out more about counselling with me, you can use the contact form to send me a message.

Can Anyone Call Themselves A Therapist?

BBC News have created a video highlighting the unregulated nature of counselling (you can view the video here).

The article correctly states that currently the only regulation in the industry is voluntary. Doctors have to be registered with the GMB in order to practice. There is no equivalent requirement for counsellors.

There are calls for counselling to become regulated and the article likens the industry to the ‘wild west’ due to its lack of regulation. It can be hard for a client to know what to look for when there are no agreed standards.

The article suggests that you contact your GP to see about a referral for an NHS counsellor. Whilst this is a good suggestion, waiting lists for NHS counselling can be lengthy and some GPs are unable / unwilling to recommend specific private practitioners. The article goes on to quote the charity MIND’s list of what to look for in a counsellor:

  • Someone who is registered with an accrediting body
  • Check their professional qualifications, training and experience
  • Don’t sign up for treatment unless you’re totally happy

Accredited body

I am a member of two of professional membership bodies – the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and the National Counselling Society (NCS). In order to become a member I had to meet their training requirements. As part of my membership I agreed to abide by their Ethical Frameworks as well as committing to ongoing continued professional development (CPD) and regular supervision sessions to help me monitor my caseload. Should a client wish to make a complaint about me, they can register that complaint with either of these membership bodies both of whom have a details complaints procedure designed to support clients.

Qualifications, Training & Experience

I started training as a counsellor in 2014 and qualified in June 2018.

  • Introduction to Counselling Skills (AQA, June 2014)
  • Level 2 Counselling Skills (CPCAB, June 2015)
  • BA (Hons) in Integrative Relational Counselling (Middlesex University, June 2018)
  • 150 hours supervised practice
  • 2 years working as a voluntary counsellor at Kingston Womens Centre
  • 3 years working a voluntary counsellor for Royal Borough of Kingston (In house employee counselling service)

Counselling With Me

I offer all clients an introductory session, which is a chance to come into my counselling room and experience me as a counsellor. In this way you can judge for yourself whether or not you think I would be the right fit as a counsellor for you.

To book an introductory session, or if you have any questions for me please get in touch. You can use my contact form or send me an email lindsay@willow-tree-counselling.co.uk.

Mental Health In The Workplace

What is mental health and how it can affect the workplace

In this series, we’re going to look at Mental Health In The Workplace.  What it is, how it affects employees and how you can provide support as an employer.

In this first part, we’re going to look at what is mental health and how it can affect the workplace.

Everyone has mental health and just like physical health, it can be good or bad.  

When people are feeling physically unwell, they often recognise that they may be unfit for work or that they need to take some time away from work to rest and recover. 

However, there is a stigma and taboo around discussing mental health issues and people can often feel ashamed and unwilling to ask for help. Although attitudes are slowly changing, It is often still perceived  as ‘weak’ to take time out to work through mental issues.

It is estimated that as many as 1 in 6 employees suffer from some sort of mental health issue, such as anxiety, stress and depression (source: Mind.co.uk). 

By maintaining the physical and mental health of your workforce you are not only ensuring you retain your staff, but you are demonstrating the value you place on your employees.

There are many ways in which an individuals’ mental health can affect the workplace.  By recognising these affects you can more easily identify employees who are at risk and offer appropriate support (we will look at more ways to support your employees in later posts).

Here are three areas you can consider when assessing an individuals’ mental health:


When someone is experiencing a period of poor mental health, a very common symptom is disrupted sleep patterns. This can mean anything from issues getting to sleep, staying asleep or even sleeping too much.  When your sleep is disrupted, it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning and your general energy level can be low. Employees may struggle to make it to work on time, or have frequent periods of absence.

Performance and Productivity

Another common symptom is an inability to focus or poor attention span.  This can easily affect an individuals’ performance and productivity in the workplace.  A drop in productivity levels or an increase in mistakes can be a warning sign.


Sleep disruption and poor attention span, can result in individuals’ feeling disconnected and withdrawing from social interactions.  This, in turn, can lead to a dip in morale not just for the individual employee but it could have an impact across entire teams or departments.

Now that you know what to look for we can consider ways in which you can start the discussion around mental health and provide appropriate support for your workforce. This is the topic of the next instalment in this blog series.