About James Banyard Counsellor in Exeter

Counselling in Exeter


I’ve been told by someone I trust that I should come for counselling. I am interested, but not sure what they mean, or what counselling involves.

A counsellor is someone who has been trained to listen to people carefully. They provide a space where people can talk about things that are troubling them. Counselling can help you explore issues of concern in a confidential and trusting environment. Perhaps the people around you have ‘heard it all before’, or worse, you don’t feel able to share your troubles with them. Perhaps you are worried about frightening people if they really found out how you feel about things. If this is the case, talking to a counsellor may help.


How is “just talking” to a counsellor supposed to help me?

In a straightforward way, counselling can begin a process of naming and understanding your emotions and actions.  You can do this on your own to some degree, but it requires a fair bit of self-discipline. Keeping a journal or diary can replicate some of the counselling process. Diaries can be a little one sided though. Beginning this process of naming things with another person can be empowering and help you develop your own solutions to problems. It should ultimately make you more self sufficient and resilient to life’s knocks. If counselling works for you, you shouldn’t need your counsellor any more.

Beyond this “naming and understanding” business, you may find over time that the way in which you relate to me as a counsellor (and how I relate to you) might hold some clues about the way you were brought up by your parents, and how other significant relationships in your life have turned out. These kinds of discoveries in general take longer to emerge, (or may not be obvious at first) which is why some people have counselling for months or even years sometimes.


Counselling for months or years? Sounds pricey. Surely it’s not worth it?

Effective counselling work can be done in as little as 4-6 weekly sessions. In that time you may get to a point where you can see what your issues are and be in a better frame of mind to decide whether to take them further. You might decide that you know enough.  Sometimes people take longer to get to this kind of self-discovery. Counselling is a long-term investment in yourself that may pay off for you in the long run.


Well OK, so what are you like as a counsellor?

Your counsellor is responsible for creating a confidential and trusting environment. A good counsellor should be careful, positive, relaxed, warm, competent and flexible. You should feel, most importantly able to talk to them openly and that they are taking you seriously. All these things are a matter of personal judgement, so really it’s up to you to see how far I match up with these ideal criteria when we meet.


Why is your site called “existential counselling”?

Please don’t worry about it.  It refers to the way I was first trained, many years ago. There are lots of different ways of training as a counsellor and I trained as a person-centred and existential one. All counsellors should share the features of the ideal one sketched above.

I often work with counselling students who are training to become counsellors. For some of them it is important to know about the way I trained. They might specifically seek out a person-centred and existential counsellor for example.


OK then, what happens on a first counselling session with you?

First, you’d make contact with me, either by calling my number, or filling out my contact form. We’d chat over the phone to get a rough idea of what you’re looking for. I’d suggest some times when I am free to see you and you’d come and see me in my consulting room for an hour. I’m based at Holmedale Health in Exeter where I have a private and confidential space I use to see clients and supervisees.

In our first session, I’d encourage you to tell me about some of the things you’d like to talk about if we started working together. You get the chance to see if you feel comfortable talking to me. I would usually encourage you to go away and think about whether you would like to work with me.  At this point we would discuss fees, suitable times for appointments and some other business related matters.

Hopefully you will find that I am straightforward and down to earth, attentive and interested in you and your life and positive about the changes you would like to see for yourself.


I’m nearly convinced about counselling, but what happens if you turn out to be rubbish counsellor?

I am an accredited member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). This means I have accumulated enough years experience and they have examined the way I practice and say it is good enough for me to be called an Accredited Counsellor. If I do things in our sessions which you feel damaged by and which you believe are unethical, then you can complain to the BACP and they will investigate for you. Unfortunately some counsellors do dodgy things with clients and some of them are sanctioned in public by the BACP, so be assured that the complaints procedure has teeth.


So, how can I make an appointment to see you for counselling?

Just call me (and leave a message if I am busy) or send an email and I will be very happy to call you back.

James Banyard Counsellor and Supervisor 2015 Counselling and Supervision for Exeter and Devon