Life can be bumpy at times. Often we manage to negotiate the bumps alone. Or we talk to family or friends...
But occasionally, for whatever reason, those bumps feel bigger, too difficult, stressful or even frightening to negotiate. Reaching out to loved ones can feel too hard. We find ourselves needing the support of someone separate, someone who we can be really honest with, confide in without feeling judged.
That's when seeing a counsellor can be really helpful.
I offer a relaxed, informal and totally confidential space in which to talk, be heard, understood and in which you can really explore what's troubling you, at your own pace, with no judgement.
My name is Alison Palmer. I'm a fully qualified integrative counsellor (Dip Couns, MBACP) practising privately from a tranquil, light-filled room overlooking countryside, situated between Ely and Newmarket. I also work for a counselling service in the charity sector. I am a registered member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and offer both long and short term private therapy to adolescents (16+) and adults. I work face-to-face as well as online and via telephone with clients in the UK and overseas. I also offer walking therapy for those who think better in the fresh air and for whom sitting in a room might feel too much (contact me to find out more).
In addition to my work as a therapist I offer voluntary hours to a national listening service for people in crisis. And I'm a writer. I've written extensively on men's and women's physical/emotional/mental health, infertility, pregnancy and childbirth, parenting, family dynamics, sex and relationships, sexuality, grief and trauma. I've contributed to national newspapers and magazines, radio and books.
Counselling may feel nerve-wracking and you might be worried or shy but my role is to allay those fears and form a relationship with you built on trust. I’m warm, empathic and calm with a sense of humour and a wealth of life experience. I will support and work with you to make sense of your feelings and reactions to situations. I can help you untangle, piece together and reconfigure things that feel tough so they’re manageable now and in the future. The number of sessions you have will depend on you and your needs and what you're comfortable with.
The relationship between counsellor and client is vital to its success. I see my clients for who they are and work with them authentically and truthfully with the total belief that they have it in themselves to change and grow. And I believe it's a collaboration. I'm not a blank wall. We work together. Because I’m integratively trained I draw from the humanistic, person-centred, psychoanalytical, cognitive and transpersonal perspectives and approaches which means I tailor the work to each client’s needs and circumstances rather than offering a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
I work with all sorts of issues (see below). Or maybe there's no specific crisis or crossroads; you simply feel now's the time to deal with a situation you feel stuck in or with thought/behaviour patterns you know don’t help you. It's time to make positive changes and you want someone to help you figure them out and offer the support and encouragement you need to see them through.
Talking doesn't always feel easy, whoever you are. But according to Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions and only 55% of chaps who've experienced depression will ever tell anyone about it. I have experience in working with men from their late teens to their late seventies about all manner of subjects including anger, sadness, depression, work stress, relationship problems, fidelity and impotence. I'm listening.
People come to me for help a wide range of issues. Here are a few of the more common difficulties that can be supported through counselling:
I practice from a peaceful, restorative and private space overlooking farmland in Soham, Cambridgeshire. I see clients from Ely, Newmarket, Mildenhall and the surrounding villages across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk for face-to-face sessions. People from Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds also come to me.
The space in which I work is totally confidential, has its own entrance and is wheelchair friendly. There’s access to a bathroom and there’s plenty of off-road parking in a large private driveway. I work within COVID guidelines and am enhanced DBS checked.
Alternatively, in these challenging times or because it may simply be easier for you, I offer online or telephone sessions and have had extensive additional training in both mediums. This can be particularly helpful for those who suffer ill health or disability and find it difficult to travel, those who move about for work or university but want to maintain their therapy or for those who live overseas.
As my practice is located in the middle of open countryside, I also offer walking therapy. Strolling side-by-side and talking rather than sitting face-to-face can feel particularly helpful to those who find the thought of being in a room too intimidating. If you’re interested in this then please contact me to find out more.
A counsellor and client relationship is key so it’s important you find the right therapist for you. For that reason I’m happy to have a telephone or email conversation with you first so you can find out a little more about me and how I work before you decide to make an appointment.
If you decide to meet me (in person, online or on the phone) the first session lasts a little longer than usual – 1 hour 20 mins. The first half-an-hour is free of charge and gives us time for you to tell me what brings you to counselling and what you’re hoping it can do for you and to ask me any questions. You can see if you feel comfortable with me and I can tell you if I think I can help you.
After that I will ask if you would like to continue. Should you decide you want to do so then we go into the session proper which lasts 50 minutes. This will be charged at the usual rate of £50. Subsequent sessions last 50 minutes and are charged at £50.
I offer some low cost sessions and have daytime and some evening slots available.
"Ali really helped me process what happened to me and move forward with my life."
"Patience, support, just really listening. Alison you did all that. Thank you so much."
"I felt so comfortable with Ali. I didn't think it was possible to trust someone so much that I could talk about the things I have."
©2021 Alison Palmer
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