Andrew believes counselling to be a powerful and distinctive method of skilled helping. Counselling combines the life experience, skills and abilities of the client or service recipient with the guiding expertise and professional experience of the counsellor to help move the client toward solving the problems they bring or achieving the life changing objectives they may hold.
Hi, I’m Andrew. My early training was as a social worker in the UK in the 1980s which lead to a diverse career in statutory and NGO settings in that country, working with juvenile and adult offenders, and supporting children and families.
In Australia I entered counselling practice in the early 2000s. I had extensive periods of employment with Relationships Australia and then Lifeline and developed a way of working with people which incorporates a range of methods and techniques obtained from my professional development in specific models of counselling work: cognitive and behavioural psychology (and with its foundational links to classical Stoic philosophy); Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Narrative Therapy; Art Therapy; and Positive Psychology and other strengths-based models.
My basic approach in working with clients is to help them talk about their personal story which links to the problems, challenges or distress they bring to counselling. I then work with the client to help uncover and explore what they believe has or has not worked for them in addressing such issues in the past, and help them develop a further personal story and vision for future change in their life which best fits with their personal values and strengths; and which helps clients generate new supportive resources or better draw upon existing ones.
In a nutshell, I work within a framework that keeps sight of the notion that the client is the person ultimately best placed to understand their own issues and the best solutions to deal with them. I see the multidimensional role of the counsellor as being governed directly by the needs of the client. At any one time the counsellor may be acting as a sounding board, a change agent, an educator, facilitator or mentor.
If you come into counselling work with me I will respond with unconditional acceptance and warmth to the unique individual that you are. As part of early work, I will aim to help you develop a mutually agreed understanding of the concerns, problems or objectives you bring, and, if you then see it as useful, move on to develop a strategy or plan of action to address those concerns – one which you feel is authentic and realistic for yourself. I will also encourage you to be an active participant throughout any work you undertake. For example, by asking you to provide feedback on how you think the work is progressing and for any of your own ideas on how it can be made maximally effective for you.
Whilst I know there are no absolute guarantees that counselling work will provide the solutions and answers for every client problem and challenge, I am convinced that it is a powerful method for helping people. I have seen many individuals across my career benefit from the support and strategies that a period of counselling can provide.
My free time is spent enjoying family connections, being in nature and helping in its conservation, and an occasional play along session on my electronic drum kit.