Ive seen the typical therapists who work in fancy pants clinics, have receptionists and somebody to take their calls. They work in minimalist surroundings with carefully selected artwork, its all very nice, unless they are in the NHS then its all a bit clinical.
Me, I work from home in a small house I am surgically attached too, having been here forever, and the dog answers the door. There is carefully selected art which is a mix and match of colourful pieces I have collected, over a period of time, a very long time (remember I have lived here forever, well almost).
Once you are in, you might have to fight your way up the stairs as there is an excited sausage racing you to the top, and she always wins even though her legs are only half an inch. Congratulations you have been beaten by a sausage dog named River. I will also probably remind you to lower your head as I have a low ceiling, but if not, you might get concussion. It's a risk you take but nobody's died yet!
Typical therapists sit there, nod and don't tell you what they think because that's for you to do and when your floundering they may just let you flounder some more. If they are really good, they leave you until your really uncomfortable in the silence because then you leave and they don't have to see you again.
Me – if you want to know what I think I may just tell you but will remind you it's your decisions and your life. I may also tell you what I think even if you have not asked me because I am passionate and I don't really hide my feelings, half the time clients are thinking it anyway but don't want to say, politeness only gets us so far. I am not rude or opinionated. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I am just me, I don't really have a therapist hat.
Typical therapists wear shoes and nice clothes and probably don't swear too much and there are never any interruptions in their professionally managed therapy rooms. It's quiet and calm and you can hear a pin drop.
Me – sometimes I have no shoes on and once I forgot to take my slippers off and was mortified, I was forgiven by the amused client. These days I am less worried about what's on my feet if anything at all. Sometimes I am in jeans and sometimes I am doing the dress thing.
Here the door bell might go, that'll be the post man with an amazon parcel that won't fit through the letter box or someone who wants to cut the trees down even though I never asked. Sadly they don't tell me when they are coming, the window cleaner is the worst. When there is silence it's punctuated by a snoring sausage dog. This week there maybe interruptions because the puppy is chewing your shoe laces, that's because I was too soft and said yes to puppy sitting without thinking it through.
Oh the swearing. I am rather good at that one, sorry, but I am likely to say gosh do you ever feel like telling them to F**K off or that's really S***T isn't it. I don't really mind my Ps and Q's so much. Like most of my faux pas they happen and I apologise after, to be fair I am usually allowed to be myself by my clients.
So if you come here for support you take your life in your own hands, you risk hearing the doorbell mid session or the snoring sausage dog. My swearing might also make an appearance. If you ask a question you don't get a stony silence or an "I wonder why its important for you to know what I think" type answers.
I just answer as its so much easier than trying to find a typical therapists answer that's all mysterious and you will never need to wonder if I am still awake.
If you ask you get an answer, plain and simple because you asked for one. Oh you also risk me interrupting you because my brain works incredibly fast and I need to say what I wanted to say before I forget it. I often realise what I have done and apologise but I am probably likely to do it again at another session. But trust me, my clients do get a word in edgeways.
I am prone to going too quick as well, the more passionate I get the faster I go, so I will check that I haven't left you and raced off without you. I also have the ability to put on the breaks and go as slow as you need, and I will check how we are doing for pace.
The typical therapists won't check out how they are doing because they will just assume they're doing fine and carry on and many won't even pick up when you're pissed off and about to not return. Me, I invite you to tell me if I got it wrong so I can try and put it right. I am open to feedback regardless of what it is. If I lost you somewhere you can tell me, so I can find you again and repair the rupture if we can.
So if you want a typical therapist I suggest that this is not the place for you, but if you want someone who cares, doesn't try to be perfect is just herself and is comfortable with that and accepts you for just being you, then I might just be the therapist for you.
There is no game playing here just honesty, understanding, care, compassion, acceptance, and empathy from one very down to earth therapist.
I have also been known to share recipe's, talk about books and anything else that's not really therapy to the typical therapist. But hey this is a relationship and conversations are allowed.
I am here if you want to book an appointment, you get me or the voicemail, there is no fancy pants receptionist to take your call.
(Published with kind permission of Michael)
“Where to begin?
I suppose with my own preconceptions of anybody whose profession begins with “Psych”. The image of a 60 year old male, straight laced, two foot grey beard, black couch and dowdy, badly lit office is probably shared by many but is, fortunately, very wide of the truth.
At M J Counselling Mel is a passionate, sympathetic listener and advocate of self forgiveness.She also has the assistance of her “Pawsome Team”, Max, the GSD and River, the Miniature Dachshund; two gems whose personalities add their own magic. The environment is light and colourful with comfortable seats making it easy to feel welcomed, settled and comfortable. Not a couch in sight (unless you want it).
It took me long time to realise that I had problems and probably longer to do something about it because “I'm not the kind of person who goes to people like that, I will pull myself together”. My head and my life were a mess.
That first phone call to Mel was possibly one of the hardest things I have ever done; the first visit was harder. But, that human approach kept me coming back. I am now in a far better place and my life's path no longer heads straight into a brick wall. I am going somewhere.
To anybody reading this my hope is that you are reassured enough to make the next move, to make that phone call. Just remember - everybody deserves to be listened to.”