Liz Dean is an experienced BACP Registered person-centred counsellor and psychotherapist who works with both young people and adults. She qualified 20 years ago and discovered her passion for supporting young people whilst working at Base 51 Counselling Service for young people. She set up and ran a secondary school counselling service for 11 years and over that time, she has worked with a diverse range of client issues and supported many young people through their teenage years and their transition to adulthood. Liz has also worked with school staff and teachers, providing professional supervision, mentoring and listening skills training, as well as offering clinical supervision for school counsellors.
As a person-centred counsellor, Liz focusses on being ‘alongside’ her clients whilst they reflect upon and explore the issues that they choose to bring to the counselling space. She offers a trusting, non-judgmental relationship in which her clients can feel safe enough to explore their difficult feelings and vulnerable selves at their own pace. Liz’s approach values the unique and subjective experience of her clients as the focus of the work and by exploring this in depth, enables the client to develop a greater understanding and acceptance of themselves both emotionally and intellectually so that they might feel more secure and self-aware, better able and empowered to make choices and ultimately feel more in control of their lives.
Liz is committed to her own personal and professional development and has attended many courses on aspects of adolescent development and working therapeutically with young people. She is also a qualified and experienced supervisor.
What does a person-centred counselling session look like?
The person-centred approach is founded on the belief that the individual is the best expert on themselves and, given the right conditions, has the innate capacity to grow and flourish. The person-centred counsellor will not advise, lead or direct the client, but instead create the right therapeutic conditions to facilitate the client’s own process towards personal growth.
The counsellor will focus on listening deeply and ‘attuning’ to the client in order to understand their unique experience, to see and feel the world through their client’s eyes. This understanding then enables the counsellor to ‘reflect’ their client back to themselves as a way of furthering the client’s self-insight.
For young people, working with a person-centred counsellor can help them to understand and make sense of their complex emotional selves and to see their angry, withdrawn or anxious behaviour simply as an expression of deeper more vulnerable emotions which may be difficult to voice. Developing their emotional literacy, seeing new perspectives, and learning a different, more emotionally sophisticated, way of relating to the world can give them a stronger, more secure sense of self and control over their lives.
Working with a person-centred counsellor can be a unique experience and can feel strange or uncomfortable at first. It is a talking approach but is a very different kind of conversation which can include the client’s experience of the counselling, what is happening ‘in the moment’ and how client and counsellor are working together. The person-centred approach works well for clients who are keen to talk, have a strong urge to explore themselves and their feelings and who feel ready and willing to engage in this particular kind of therapeutic relationship.
With Liz’s help, she has gone from a child who felt very desperate, depressed, and not wanting to engage with us, her family or friends or leave the house, to a child who now feels hopeful for the future. It has been such a beautiful transformation to see. We are immensely grateful to Liz and feel so lucky to have met her. (Client’s Mother)