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About

Thank you for viewing my profile. My name is Elissa and I am a fully qualified counsellor and couple’s therapist working in the St James area of Exeter, between the city centre and the university. I help people with depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, trauma, abuse, bereavements and other kinds of losses (e.

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I love creating a safe and trusting environment where people can reveal their thoughts and feelings without censorship, and witnessing what a difference this makes if they do not have this anywhere else in their lives. Many family, work, friendship or romantic relationships have ‘conditions’ built into them, so people only feel loved, accepted or worthy if they behave in a certain way (e.g. by being helpful, strong or entertaining). These messages usually start in childhood, but are often reinforced by society and/or adult relationships. Counselling should be a place where people feel accepted for exactly who they are (as long as they are not hurting anyone else). This acceptance without conditions has profound implications for a person’s identity and self-esteem, and I feel it is an honour being able to provide this in my work.

I have been self-employed for many years because I enjoy the freedom this provides and recognise that it fits my character. I believe that counsellors need to live a life which feels ‘congruent’ to them, in order to be able to help clients do the same. In other words I do my best to walk the talk! Working for organisations which employ counsellors (e.g. the NHS, EAPs, universities) always requires some degree of compromise: for example in the ways you can work or how long you can stay with a client. Although I believe that a lot of excellent work is done through such organisations, I personally prefer to give clients what they need rather than what policies dictate. Starting my own business was by far the best way to achieve this.

I believe every person is unique and deserves a therapy which is tailored to them. There are many therapeutic approaches available (CBT, Person-centred, Psychodynamic, Gestalt etc), but I have never met a person who is neatly “fixed” by one of these methods. I am trained in each of these methods, so my approach is to listen deeply and learn as much as I can about who you are and how you got to where you are, before deciding which counselling method might work best for you. Even after selecting a method or combination of methods I would never stick ‘religiously’ to this if I felt it wasn’t working or that your needs were changing. I care deeply about my clients and this makes me work hard in every session to help you get the most from counselling. Similarly, between sessions I read extensively and undertake regular CPD (continuing professional development) to ensure I am as knowledgeable and skilled as possible to help you heal and move forward in your life. I am deeply passionate about the work I do and believe it is my vocation rather than just a job.