We believe that the capacity for each person to live fully and effectively, depends on his or her underlying 'sense of self'. Being connected to a positive sense of self enables one to live in the present, to feel and manage one's emotions, sustained by positive and realistic beliefs about one's self and others. When a person experiences his or her self as worthwhile and loveable, it is possible to engage with other people in flexible and adaptive ways. Relationships become meaningful and enjoyable when one is able to connect with others on this basis.
Many people find it difficult to engage with others or themselves in this way because of earlier experiences of trauma, abuse or neglect, which impact on the developing self. Those who have been wounded in this way are trapped in the past and by painful emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, hopelessness or shame. Such people hold negative and irrational beliefs about self and others and often engage in maladaptive behaviours such as overeating or substance abuse, perfectionism, feeling intimidated or withdrawing from others, or allowing themselves to engage in destructive relationships. It is these difficulties they seek to address through counselling.
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