Professional counselling & psychotherapy in Winchester, Southampton, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Romsey & Hedge End.
No-cost initial consultation available*.
Hello. Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed, lost, lonely, sad, confused, anxious or depressed? Maybe you feel stuck in a rut or a relationship you can't seem to get out of or just have a feeling you are carrying things that are unresolved and are holding you back? You might be experiencing social anxiety, low self-esteem or just feel things aren't as they should be.
If you are having difficulties in your life it can be really helpful to talk with a professional counsellor who provides a safe, confidential, entirely non-judgemental and supportive space for you to explore your life and relationships with the goal of achieving positive change.
I work with adults in areas like anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, depression, feeling hopeless or stuck, sexuality/gender, sadness, worry, stress, shame, anger, guilt, relationship issues, couples, feeling sad, family issues, panic disorder, phobias, separation and divorce, affairs and betrayals, couples/marriage, abuse, emotional abuse, child related issues, bereavement, loss, eating disorders, childhood suffering, abuse, trauma, low self-esteem, low self confidence, self-harming, poor sleep, social anxiety, searching for meaning and other concerns.
Choosing the right counsellor is very important. (Scroll down to read a recent review). Research tells us the single most important aspect of successful therapy is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. To this end I offer a no cost initial consultation so we can explore your needs and for you to be sure you feel comfortable talking with me.
I invite you to talk with me in a relaxed, informal setting. I will help you make better sense of your experiences, unfulfilling behaviours, negative thoughts and confused feelings and emotions. Together we can recognize patterns, discover meanings and explore options.
About me: I am Brian Mitchell BA (Hons) DIP P/GRAD DIP PGCE MBACP a qualified and registered psychotherapeutic counsellor providing counselling and psychotherapy in the Winchester, Eastleigh and Southampton areas. I am an approved therapist for Test Valley Borough Council employees and receive referrals from SIXMHS, a provider of mental health services to business established by former England football captain Tony Adams. After a career in public service I worked as a student and staff counsellor at Southampton University and as a bereavement counsellor at a local hospice. I am working face to face and online through video link with individuals and couples. Video working has proved very effective as a means of working and is worth trying. I offer a discount to help counselling students wherever located.
Choosing a Counsellor
Choosing the right counsellor can be a challenging and, at times, bewildering experience. Besides professional membership/accreditation and a decent amount of professional knowledge, researchers stress the fundamental importance of relationship. They tell us the single most important aspect of successful therapy is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. To this end I offer a no cost consultation* so we can explore your needs and for you to be sure you feel comfortable talking with me. Have a read of my About Counselling page for more information about what we will do. You will find a handy blog around some models of working with couples, if this interests you, which also applies to individuals given we all exist in relation to someone else.
So, lets chat in the relaxed, informal setting of my Chandler's Ford practice or online. I will help you make better sense of your experiences, unfulfilling behaviours, negative thoughts, and confused feelings and emotions. Together we can recognize patterns, discover meanings and explore options in an open, frank, non-judgemental way.
* Free consultations are by phone, video or in person to assess if I can help and to see if we are comfortable working together. This allows you to speak about your issues with no cost or obligation at this point.
Having taken some Transactional Analysis based generic counselling courses at Peter Symonds school of Adult and Higher Education in Winchester in the mid 2000s I went on to study at The Metanoia Institute, the country’s biggest provider of counsellors and psychotherapists and a leading and respected centre of learning in the field. I have worked as part of The University of Southampton counselling service providing services to students, academics and other employees. I have also counselled the bereaved as a service provided by a Hampshire hospice. I now provide private counselling and psychotherapy via psychotherapeutic counselling to individuals on a short term and longer term basis in Eastleigh, Winchester, Southampton and the wider are of Hampshire and the UK through video working. I have a particular interest in couples work. Please see my About Counselling page for more information.
How Does Therapy Work?
Goldfried distilled 40 years of research to say all effective therapy is based around 5 principles that encourage change. These are listed below with my added observations.
Promoting hope in the client that therapy will work. For most people, most of the time it's effective at
Establishing a good working relationship and setting goals and method. A GWR will include trust,
empathy, a non-judgemental position and both being congruent, honest and curious.
Helping clients see patterns and causes.
Encouraging the client to engage in "corrective experiences" – helping them connect to thoughts and
feelings they tend to avoid and encourage new ways of relating through behavioural change.
Practice ongoing reality testing - review all the above being conscious of thoughts, feelings and
behaviours and apply the learning beneficially.
These five areas contains Carl Rogers's essential requirement of the therapist to show empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.
Albert Ellis, founder of REBT, a forefather of CBT, tells us we mainly upset and discomfort ourselves by our "oughts, musts and shoulds". When we give up our demands of others (which link to the Buddhist concept of giving up wanting) he says we will feel much better.
Eric Berne, founder of TA, tells us that identifying how parental messages and feelings, held in what he calls parent and child ego states, can affect our ability to function as adults.
These approaches and integrated principles allow us to explore the here and now and the role the past has played. They help expose auto pilot and unconscious ways of doing things. We become self-aware and then able to take action which leads to change.
If you would like to contact me to explore working together you can do so on the number at the top of the page or 0750 4272724 or at email@example.com
My therapeutic approach is based on TA (transactional analysis). TA is an integrative, relational, psychodynamic therapy grounded in humanistic psychology. TA is described by the International Transactional Analysis Association as “a theory of human personality, a theory of social behaviour, and a comprehensive system of psychotherapy” . TA concepts are very accessible to everyone, meaning they are easy to explain and for you to understand and use in the work and day to day life.
Transactional Analysis was developed by Eric Berne (1910-1970), a doctor and psychiatrist who had been studying to become a psychoanalyst. Developing some of Freud's ideas he developed his innovative and accessible therapeutic approach. His 1964 book "Games People Play" sold over six million copies. Another book by one of his founding group ("I'm OK - You're OK" by Thomas Harris) sold over ten million copies. Berne was very focused in looking to see positive change in his patients. Over the years there has been a great deal of new writing and thinking about TA internationally and it has proved to be an effective basis for psychotherapy.
Central to TA is the idea of “ego states”. This says that each of us is psychologically made up of Child, Adult and Parent ego states.
In our “Parent” we have absorbed rules, regulation, injunctions and sayings heard from parents and authority figures and indeed anyone we have chosen to regard in a similar capacity. We can find ourselves seemingly controlled by these messages from the past; as someone once said, “sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out!” You can see this Parent ego state demonstrated in a person’s behaviour on occasions: wagging their finger, taking a stern tone of voice or using a particular phrase from an authority figure from the past. At times some people can be inhibited in relationships by being too parental, particularly if their approach is critical. We can also hold a legacy of negative self-image from the past programming we might have had. Some people relate to their partners or bosses as if these people are Critical Parents. This can inhibit individuals in their relationships and progression. It can also lead to unnecessary anxiety. TA can help identify these messages and assist in assessing if they were ever appropriate and whether they are appropriate in the here and now. Many of us have received messages like "don't get close, don't exist, don't make it, don't be well, don't grow up" and these can shape our self image and affect how we relate to others. Many of us compensate by having "drivers" to please others, try hard, be strong or be perfect. All of these can take their toll: e.g. perfectionism is draining and leaves no room for being imperfectly human.
Similarly the Child ego state is the location of feelings from birth. Often feelings from the past can emerge in the present and interfere in our day to day functioning. Using Child strategies to navigate our relationships can often be counterproductive. Sometimes we feel stuck. This can be due to our inner Child and inner Parent conflicting, causing an impasse. Psychotherapists can help to unblock these impasses, freeing us up to feel better about ourselves.
Our Adult ego state is rational and decision making. It draws from the other two (otherwise we’d be computers on legs) but should do so in an appropriate manner to the here and now: where the Child or Parent ego state predominates we call this a contamination. A lot of TA work looks at strengthening the Adult by decontaminating it through exploring Parent and Child ego state feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
There are lots of books and resources around this concept. Given it is so powerful in liberating our self-identity it is used extensively in the counselling work.
The client - therapist relationship
If you are interested in reading about what the client - psychotherapist relationship is really like and what it can achieve please click on the book reviews tab at the top of the page. This will take you to a couple of really good examples of writing on this topic that looks at working with anxiety, depression, stress, anger, trauma, self harm, relationship issues etc. You will also find other resources from the BBC and articles that help explain key TA concepts of Ego States and Contracts. There is also a handy NHS resource, kindly provided through the University of Southampton linking to leaflets on abuse, alcohol, anxiety, bereavement, anger, depression and low mood, domestic violence, eating disorders, hearing voices and disturbing beliefs, obsessions and compulsions, and panic.
Here is a recent email from a client
*Overcoming Addiction & Depression* (03/05/22)
After a long time relationship ended, I found my alcohol and drug addiction spiralling out of control as well as feeling extremely low and depressed.
Asking for help was not an easy decision for me, as I had buried my feelings and kept my addictions a secret for a number of years.
I found Brian to be extremely helpful, welcoming and compassionate. Having the space to open up about my feelings and experiences lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, and the knowledge and insight Brian offered really helped me to understand myself in a clearer way.
The direction Brian offered in the sessions made a great deal of difference in how I reflect on my past, and I have a much better outlook on the future thanks to his guidance and expertise.
Life is a long journey, and I would not hesitate in asking Brian for help in the future should I ever need it. My only regret is that I did not ask for help sooner!
Thank you for reading. If you think I can help get in touch, it's confidential and free.
Update: I've added a blog on Couples Theory that will be of interest to clients who want to know more and students especially those pursuing TA.
I'm currently only doing couples work online.
Contact: call or text 0750 4272724 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Counselling Eastleigh - psychotherapy Winchester - counsellor Southampton - based Chandlers Ford. Counselling Eastleigh - psychotherapy Winchester - counsellor Southampton - based Chandlers Ford. Counselling Eastleigh - psychotherapy Winchester - counsellor Southampton - based Chandlers Ford.