What Do I Do?

Introducing Dean Richardson: Portsmouth Counsellor.

Hello! My name is Dean Richardson  and I work as a professional private-practice counsellor.  I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society, and I am also a registered counsellor/psychotherapist.

How I work as a Counsellor.

Counselling is a weekly commitment

I work primarily as a psychodynamic counsellor with individuals in individual counselling … and work as an integrated systemic & psychodynamic counsellor in couple relationship counselling.

I am accredited by the National Counselling Society which is a process that annually verifies my qualifications, experience and suitability to practice. I follow the National Counselling Society’s Ethical Guides.

Counselling is a collaborative process between client and counsellor which requires both counsellor and clients to be actively involved. Counselling is not a process that is “done to you” by a therapist.  Instead, it is conversational and requires both counsellor and clients to be committed, motivated and involved for the process to be of use.

Counselling is “brief” or “open-ended”

The length of counselling that I offer can be in one of two forms: short-term/brief or open-ended ad this choice depends on the needs of the client and the client’s capacity to work in therapy. We will discuss these options during our initial sessions.

As a counsellor I do not prescribe a course of action and do not provide mechanisms nor techniques that if you follow will “cure” you.  Instead, I help you (and your partner in the case of couple relationship work) to explore your personal distresses and issues in order to help you gain insight and knowledge about what may be going on for you (and your partner).  I will support you in finding your own solution(s) to work through the presenting issues.

I will listen to your concerns and respond to you in a non-judgemental manner, respecting your values and your life choices.

Dean Richardson’s Counselling Framework.

Psychodynamic: I believe that unresolved experiences from a person’s past can continually replay in a person’s life, attempting to seek a better outcome than was previously experienced. This is why, for example, some people can end up in relationships – one after another – where they always seem to experience the same problems again and again, or a bad situation at work that seems to crop up again … and again. Using psychodynamic theories as my advanced theoretical basis for individual work and employing basic counselling skills, I will work with you at helping improve your awareness of yourself and the problems that you bring to counselling. I do this by listening to what you bring to each session. I listen not only to what you say, and to what might not be being said, too (a sort of “reading between the lines”). As I get to know you better I begin to watch for patterns in your experiences. My role is to help you increase your self-awareness and help you gain a better understanding of what drives and motivates you. I do this by offering you feedback, sometimes offering questions that make you think, checking out things with you that I’ve heard you say, sometimes challenging you about things that seem unclear to you and/or me and, basically, trying to help the both of us clearly understand what’s going on.

Couples always meet together (unless otherwise agreed)

Systemic: In systemic couple’s counselling my work is more about working with the couple’s relationship and less about counselling two individuals.  I combine both psychodynamic and systemic methodologies for couple work, meaning that I work on the belief that both individuals will have a separate past that both partners will bring into the relationship (sometimes unconsciously), will project unconscious split-off parts into their partner, and may make assumptions about their partner based upon these projections.  This can lead to relationship conflicts as one partner expects things from their partner but is left disappointed as the partner has no knowledge of what may be expected of them.  I will work with the couple in an atmosphere of curiosity, using and encouraging queries to help the couple teach each other and learn from each other what is expected and hoped for, and to discuss and reach compromises. By gaining knowledge about their differences, the couple develop a more sound relationship.  I will also assist a couple in separating if this is what they wish to do.

Brief/Focussed Psychodynamic Counselling.

Brief Counselling works with a set number of sessions (eg 6)

When a client has a specific, identifiable matter to work through in counselling, brief/focussed psychodynamic counselling may be a suitable form of therapy to work-through the problem.

The basic counselling service is the same as in open-ended work, except that we do not venture too much into other related matters (which talking from a free association perspective is aimed to do).  The counsellor (and client) will identify when the topics are venturing off the main focus.

Setting a specific number of sessions not only gives the client a known number of sessions (and costs) to attend, but the known limited amount of time can be therapeutically helpful to the therapy – concentrating the counsellor’s & client’s minds upon the subject.

Basic Boundaries.

  • Sessions are weekly: held once a week, same day, same time, same room, same counsellor.
  • Sessions start at a particular time and end after 50 minutes, even if you arrive late.
  • The session contains our work – I won’t meet with you outside of our counselling relationship.
  • You can talk about anything – I won’t express judgement but may express curiosity aimed to help you.
  • We focus upon your story (and, as couples, the story of the relationship), and subject-matter.
  • I won’t advise you or tell you what to do – instead we’ll work with you finding solutions that work for you.
  • Our work is intended to develop your insight, awareness of unconscious processes & self-awareness.
  • In couple work, awareness of the relationship system & historic influences that may be trapping you in patterns.

Starting and Ending Counselling – and Overview.

  • Initially we will meet to discuss your requirements and I will consider if my counselling service is appropriate for you.  This is an “assessment”.
    • Individuals: Assessments for individuals are usually one session, but are flexible to continue into further sessions if required.
    • Couples: Assessments for couples take four sessions:
      • Meet together in session 1
      • Meet with one partner for their views & personal history in session 2
      • Meet with other partner for their views & personal history in session 3
      • Meet together in session 4 to review what we have discussed and to set & agree the focus of the work.
  • If a referral to another counselling is appropriate, we will discuss this.
  • If we proceed into counselling, we will discuss a contractual agreement (the settings of our work, roles  & responsibilities etc).
  • Counselling proceeds weekly.
  • Sometimes the focus of the work shifts during the counselling – this is perfectly acceptable.
  • When the focus of the work has been addressed sufficiently that both client and counsellor agree the work is done, we will discuss how we bring counselling to an end.