Amanda BettisonIntegrative therapist
People seek out counselling for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a question of curiosity about ourselves: who we are, and how we live our lives. Perhaps more often, the prompt might be encountering difficulties in our health, our relationships, or our work. Either way, a supportive counselling relationship can help make more sense of our lives, and find our own ways to live them more fully.
I describe myself as a pluralistic, relational counsellor, and that means I believe that human relationships are at the heart of how we develop and adapt as people. Each person, and each of our relationships, is unique; and so no one approach to psychology and mental health is going to fit for every person. Accordingly, so far as I am able, I aim to offer a flexible, tailored approach to each client.
I believe that genuineness and transparency on the part of the counsellor are essential. If you are going to talk about the hardest, scariest parts of your life, you need to sense that this counsellor is a real person who puts your welfare first. Knowing they are a professional is necessary, I would say, but not enough. For this reason, I am always keen for clients to really take time to weigh up whether they think we are a good fit, and trust their own judgment on this. I won't be offended if you decide we're not; and if you wish, I will be happy to recommend colleagues who might suit you better. Similarly, if I think I'm not the best person to help you, I will open this up for discussion.
Although I am an experienced psychological professional, I don't see my role as an expert, to diagnose you and tell you what you should do. You are the expert on you. What I offer is a provocative sounding board, to help you tease out the strands of your dilemma, work out what's best for you, and work out how to do it. I will offer ideas and suggestions if you want them and I have some; and I will challenge you if I think there are other ways you could look at things. I will invite feedback, critique, and discussion about how things are going, and what you want.
Finally, I think it's really important that you have a say in contractual matters like how often and when counselling sessions take place, and I am open to exploring what works best for you. Some people find that meeting weekly over a period of time is really supportive when they're going through something difficult, and that is usually the "default" setting for counselling. But other people find the emotional intensity of counselling such that they need to meet more often; or they need longer between sessions to process their feelings. And other people again get what they need from a one-off consultation. All these options are possible and negotiable, including temporary changes to our usual arrangement.
I began formal training as a counsellor in 2012, and started working with clients at the beginning of 2016. Before moving to Orkney in September 2021, I was a director and counsellor at Lawrence Way Community Counselling Service in Cambridge, a non-profit community-based counselling service. I previously worked as a bereavement volunteer with Cruse Bereavement Care, and as a volunteer counsellor at Cambridge charity The Cogwheel Trust. I have a particular interest in supporting clients whose concerns are focussed around grief, loss and death and complex PTSD / developmental trauma.
I originally studied German and Ancient Greek at the University of Birmingham, and worked for several years after graduation as a technical translator for the British Army in Germany. This experience gave me an appreciation of what it’s like to move between countries, and negotiate many of the cultural and communication challenges that that can involve.
I love being in close contact with the natural world, and the location of my home and practice in a rural community is a deliberate choice. I am interested too in how, as humans, we can experience and make sense of ourselves and our lives in dialogue with the other-than-human natural world.
OnlineI also provide my services online.
Issues often worked with
My fee for a 60-minute session is £60. My fees for other arrangements - including e.g. longer sessions, or meeting away from my premises - may be higher, and agreed between us, depending on location, travel time etc. I am always happy to negotiate reduced rates with people who want to access counselling, but can't afford the above rates. Please let me know if money is a concern, so that we can discuss what might be possible.
Training and qualifications
I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Counselling from The Minster Centre in London, and a Certificate in Supervision from Relational Change.
I have also trained with the following teachers and organisations:
- Awareness in Bereavement Care - with Cruse Bereavement Care
- Orphan Wisdom School - with Stephen Jenkinson in Ontario, Canada
- Foundation in Gestalt Psychotherapy - at Metanoia in London
- How the Therapist's Own Attachment Patterns Shape Therapy - with Dr David Wallin
- Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma - with Dr Janina Fisher
- Living and Working with Dissociation - with Carolyn Spring and PODS
- Embodied Support for Contact - with Dr Jim Kepner
- Mental Health First Aid - with MHFA England
- Wild Therapy - with Nick Totton
- Couples Therapy for Depression - with Tavistock Relationships