Person Centred Counselling

This page tells you a bit about me, my approach, professional responsibilities, experience, training and qualifications. And what I did before I became a counsellor.

Who am I?

A photograph of Sally

I'm someone who believes in counselling and the difference it can make. I believe - when you're struggling with something - it can really help to have a place where you can talk freely about what's going on for you. Where you can think about your own needs instead of always putting others first. And where you can be welcomed for who you really are.

I'm someone who realises that coming for counselling isn’t an easy option – it takes courage, determination, and a willingness to acknowledge what hurts in the search for something better. Your need for counselling isn’t all that you are, it doesn’t define you. It is something you are doing to look after your wellbeing.

My Professional Memberships & Accreditation

I'm a registered and senior accredited member (number 82480) of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Logo of the BACP

I'm also a member of the The Focusing Institute; I've been cleared by Disclosure Scotland to counsel adults; and I'm registered with the Information Commissioner's Ofice in relation to data protection responsibilities.

My Approach

My counselling is a mix of three approaches, with you and how you really feel at the heart of each.

Please click on the links below to get more information about what each approach is and how it might be able to help you.

Person-centred counselling

When you don’t have to justify or defend what you think and feel, you’re free to say what’s really going on for you, and to choose what you share (or don’t). I won’t judge, direct or delve. But I will work with you to untangle the threads of your struggle. My counselling is about giving you time and space where you can say difficult things. And where you can have and explore conflicting emotions. All of this can help clarify what’s going on for you, what matters most and how you want to be or deal with things in future.

Inner relationship focusing

Focusing is a way of working with something you feel or experience but don't understand, or usually dismiss or push away. Maybe you’ve felt a tightness in your chest, a weight in your stomach, tingly sensations in your arms or teeth, flames in your legs? Or you might sense your challenges and emotions in images or metaphors? These are examples of how something in you might be trying to express itself. Focusing also offers a way to work with lots of different emotions which might otherwise overwhelm you. It helps make them more manageable while still leaving room for them all. That can bring relief, understanding, insight and change. And having a better relationship with yourself can help improve your relationships with others.

Understanding your ‘operating system’

Just as important as the issues you face and the feelings they lead to, is who you are. How you make sense of the world, what matters to you and what helps you in life or makes things more difficult. I think of this as your ‘operating system’. It's often invisible to others, and so isn’t acknowledged or discussed. Or you and others might think it’s 'weird', so they don’t welcome it and you learn to keep it hidden. That can leave you feeling different, isolated and at odds with your surroundings. But your ‘system’ is a core part of you. Suppressing it usually leads to inner conflict and another battle for you to deal with, on top of everything else. I believe that identifying your ‘system’, talking about it and exploring its needs and impacts unlocks something very important – the freedom to be yourself. I have worked with people with a range of 'operating systems' - including being highly sensitive, struggling with noise and/or auditory processing, having synaesthesia, being dyslexic or dyspraxic. Through my work, I have discovered how important these 'systems' are, what impacts they have and what a difference exploring them in counselling can make.

My Counselling Experience

In addition to my private work, I've previously worked with community projects in Craigmillar and Musselburgh; with survivors of childhood sexual abuse; as a student counsellor; with family carers; with people bereaved by murder, suicide and drug deaths; and for Employee Assistance Programmes.

Issues

I have experience of working with a range of issues including:-

  • Abuse – domestic, emotional, neglect, physical, sexual
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement
  • Birth-related issues – abortion, adoption, infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth
  • Bullying
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Childhood and family-related difficulties
  • Divorce and separation
  • End of life issues - such as regrets, unfulfilled hopes and dreams, unresolved disputes, fear of death
  • Grief - which may be known to others or hidden from them
  • Hidden struggles - around, for example belonging, identity, medical conditions and sexuality
  • Loss – around things like employment, health, identity, purpose, relationships, sense of self and status
  • Low mood, confidence or self-esteem
  • Perfectionism
  • Pet loss
  • Relationships – past as well as present
  • Traumatic deaths – child death, murder, road deaths, suicide

Difficult Feelings

Just as important as the challenges you face are the feelings they lead to. These often go unspoken and lurk beneath the surface. They may hold you back and recur throughout your life. Some of the most important work I do is with clients who are wrestling with feelings such as:

  • Anger
  • Betrayal
  • Disappointment
  • Envy
  • Guilt
  • Heartbreak
  • Hurt
  • Longing
  • Rejection
  • Resentment
  • Shame
  • Sorrow

My Counselling Qualifications

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy (Persona/Stirling University, 2013)
  • Specialist Module in Bereavement and Loss (Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, 2012)
  • Certificate in Inner Relationship Focusing (Focusing Resources, California, 2015)
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills (Stevenson College/Napier University, 2007)

Ongoing Learning

I'm committed to being as good a counsellor as I can be. For me, part of that is about continuing to learn - about people, about my work and about myself.

Examples of some of my recent continuous professional development activities include:

  • Being highly sensitive
  • Dealing with grief and loss
  • Living with chronic shame
  • How trauma affects us
  • The impact of adverse childhood experiences
  • Counselling for older people

Other Work Experience

I'm a qualified independent funeral celebrant (though I only do this work on request now). And I have delivered a number of training courses about dealing with loss and grief. I was a civil servant for 26 years: this included 10 years working to improve information and support for victims of crime, witnesses and families bereaved by murder, culpable homicide or a road death; and 10 years as a personnel manager. I've also been a volunteer with Samaritans, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

Other Qualifications

I have an MA (Honours) in Political Studies (Aberdeen University), a Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel and Development (Napier University), and a Paralegal Certificate in Criminal Law (Strathclyde University).

Contact: 07814 847059 | counselling@sallypendreigh.com