These small snippets will give you a taster of some areas of therapy and mental health issues and here I share letters N – S.

Simply put, the definition of non-judgmental is ‘avoiding judgments based on one’s personal and especially moral standards’ Unconditional positive regard (UPR) is a term credited to humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers and is used in client-centred therapy. Practicing unconditional positive regard means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation

According to Rogers, unconditional positive regard involves showing complete support and acceptance of a person no matter what that person says or does. The therapist accepts and supports the client, no matter what they say or do, placing no conditions on this acceptance. That means the therapist supports the client, whether they are expressing “good” behaviours and emotions or “bad” ones.

By staying non-judgemental, the client is more likely to feel comfortable about discussing their issues and to continue the conversation. They are also more likely to come back again when they are struggling, which means the therapist has more opportunities to be able to help them.

In my practice my aim is at building a strong and respectful relationship with my clients, in a comfortable and safe place, without fear of being judged and if you would like to find out more please contact me.

So, you’ve made the decision to come into therapy. You may have a problem that keeps tripping you up, a dilemma you need to come to a decision about, or perhaps there’s an ongoing issue in life that’s preventing you from being your best self.

Whatever your reasons for seeking counselling, there’s a question that you’re likely to ask your therapist: how many sessions will I need?

There is no straightforward answer to this. That decision will depend on the issue you’re bringing, how severe that issue is, and how deeply you want to go into yourself and your inner processes. That can all feel rather daunting if you’re entering therapy for the first time, as you may not know what to expect.

Working together with your counsellor, in the first session they will take you through an assessment and talk you through your options. They can also help you create some goals that you’d like to achieve by the end of your work together.

Open ended counselling means that counselling sessions are open to you and ongoing for as long as you feel you need them. Your counsellor will be available to work with you on a weekly basis, on a day and at a time agreed with you at the outset.

You’re likely to need open-ended therapy if…

  • The issues you’re bringing to therapy have been around for a long time.
  • You have several issues you’d like to work on.
  • You recognise patterns in yourself that are deeply ingrained and you’re struggling to change.
  • The same things keep happening to you in relationships and you want to make sense of your part in that.
  • You want to explore the roots of why you are the way you are and gain a deeper understanding and insight into the effect your childhood has had on you, to leave you freer to embrace your future.

I offer short term and open ended counselling for most difficulties but really enjoy working with all types of anxiety disorders such as General Anxiety Disorder, phobias, health anxiety and OCD

The NHS defines a phobia as an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object and If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.

Many of us have fears about particular objects or situations, and this is perfectly normal. A fear becomes a phobia and should be treated if:

  • the fear is out of proportion to the danger
  • it lasts for more than six months
  • it has a significant impact on how you live your day-to-day life

There are a few options you have when seeking treatment for a phobia. As many of them exist in our subconscious and are learned responses they are particularly vulnerable to hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help you unlearn the fear response, build up your exposure to the phobia and in time ease the associated anxiety. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aims to identify connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and to help develop practical skills to manage any patterns that might be causing you problems and counselling can give you a non-judgemental safe space to explore your fears and feelings with a trained professional.

Whichever treatment method you decide to go with, make sure you find the right therapist for you and ask as many questions as you can about their experience and knowledge of this particular anxiety disorder.

What kind of questions should you ask a counsellor if you are interested in their services? For some people, approaching a counsellor is quite a daunting task so being armed with some questions might help you to take the first step.

When you make contact with a counsellor, make sure you ask about their qualifications and professional membership body so you know you are getting expert help.

My Qualifications are:

Level 4 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Chrysalis Diploma in Hypnotherapy & Counselling Skills

I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society and a registrant member of the National Hypnotherapy Society

I am required by my registration body to complete 30 hours per year of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which I complete each year to make sure my clients are getting the best help and support from me as possible.

The cost of counselling can often be the reason why people don’t take the step they feel they need to. Yet by the end of their counselling and time with me, most of my clients agree it was well worth the investment. Counselling isn’t just an investment for now, but for the rest of your life and a small outlay now will have ongoing benefits for you.

Counselling is so much more than a financial investment and will change your life forever. It’s the best form of self-care, it can be a way to help yourself when things get rough and prevent you from reaching rock bottom and needing time off work or help from your GP.

If you want to feel better and have a better future why wouldn’t you come to counselling?

Contact me for more details, my fees and payment options

What kind of problems can counselling help me with? If you have something specific you want to work on its good to know if they have training, experience and success in working with clients like you. Some problems such as eating disorders, addiction, trauma etc can be complex to work with and so finding a counsellor with the right training and experience will improve the outcomes you can achieve.

I specialise in working with Anxiety, I am an approved Anxiety UK therapist.

By asking the right questions you will ensure you are working with a qualified and registered counsellor who is best placed to help you with the problem you want to work on. Having a good relationship with your counsellor, and finding someone you feel comfortable with, will make a big difference to the results you will get.

Discussing relationships in counselling isn’t just for couples, and relationships are regularly discussed in individual counselling sessions.

We have many types of relationships in life. Relationships with your work colleagues, family members, loved ones and friends. We also need to build relationships with new acquaintances when starting a new job for instance. The impact those relationships can have on our life if they are difficult can affect our happiness and mental health.

Having a space to discuss these relationship difficulties with someone who does not know these other people and can listen without judgement can help you make decisions on how you would like to manage them.

If you are struggling with a particular relationship in life and would like some help processing what it means for you and how you might be able to change any negative effect it has on you, then counselling can help.

Stress is a normal part of life. It warns you that you’re encountering problematic situations, and is designed to motivate you to take action in order to reduce that stress and make your life better. Without stress, you wouldn’t feel any motivation to make your life better. You would take risks without regard for the consequences and make decisions that affect the course of your life without any critical thinking to ensure it’s what’s best for you.

Some common causes of stress include:

  • getting married
  • moving house
  • having a baby
  • serious illness
  • bereavement
  • divorce

As well as events like these, stress can also be caused by long-term circumstances, such as:

  • being unemployed
  • having financial issues
  • relationship difficulties
  • caring for a disabled family member/friend
  • problems at work

Stress is experienced individually, however there are certain symptoms that are commonly associated with stress. These can affect us both emotionally and physically.

Emotional stress symptoms can include:

  • Feeling agitated, frustrated or quick to anger.
  • Feeling overwhelmed and teary.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Having a low sense of self-esteem & avoiding other people and social situations.

Physical stress symptoms can include:

  • Using alcohol/drugs/food to seek comfort.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Digestive problems and upset stomach.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Sweating excessively.
  • Experiencing chest pains or palpitations.

Recognising the negative effect stress is having on your life, and understanding that this is not OK is an important first step. Once you have admitted to yourself that you need support, you can look into the various treatments available. Counselling is an effective way to help with stress. Talking with a professional about the difficulties you’re experiencing can help you understand any underlying issues that may be causing your stress – for example, low self-esteem. Working with your counsellor, you will then be able to identify your personal stress triggers and discuss ways of coping with them.

Look out for my next instalment soon and if you want to continue to learn more about counselling, hypnotherapy and how I can help you please follow me on Facebook at

Alison Isaacs is an NCS accredited counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist working from her therapy room in Basingstoke.

At Alison Isaacs Therapy I offer short term and open ended counselling for most difficulties but really enjoy working with anxiety, stress, depression and low self-esteem.