Joanne Cook

Joanne Cook

Registered Member MBACP

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Therapist - Cockermouth

Cockermouth CA13
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  • Flexible hours available

About me and my therapy practice

I work relationally and integratively. Relationally means I work guided by the belief that the single most important thing that achieves change is the relationship between me and you. This isn’t blind faith, scientific study after study, across all types of therapy, and across decades has found that the single most important factor is the relationship between the two (or three in couples counselling) people in the therapy room. Integratively means that I won’t try and fit you into a fixed type of therapy, I will listen to you and collaboratively we will create the solutions that fit your unique needs. As things progress your needs might change, that’s fine, I’ll listen and we’ll adapt together.

How does a therapy relationship make change happen?

Connection, acceptance, and understanding. Somebody listening without judgement and striving to feel what it’s like in your world, from your point of view. These things create a safe space where new possibilities can open up, new ideas can be tried out. Painful experiences can be understood and their power to hurt us is defused. Difficulties can be explored. Maybe you will experience safety and security with another human for the very first time and feel how transformative that can be.

Existential ideas also influence my work. In practice this is about concepts that are familiar and important to all of us. Big ideas such as: What brings meaning to life? What causes us emotional pain? What is freedom and what restricts it? How do we cope with death and suffering and find a way to live a good life, even in difficult circumstances? For some people these ideas are directly relevant, especially if you are living with bereavement, or going through a period of change and upheaval. Other times the ideas are hidden beneath the main issue of therapy and less clearly obvious in what we talk about.

Practice description

Having a broad training and varied experience means that I am able to work competently with many different issues: such as depression, anxiety, childhood trauma and abuse of all kinds, adult trauma and abuse, difficult or dysfunctional relationships, the distress caused by major life events and periods of upheaval, all the challenges of parenthood, through to the meaning of life as we move towards death. But at the risk of repeating myself, you are unique, so you may not feel your experience fits neatly into any of these labels, don’t worry it doesn’t have to.

I am trained and experienced to provide both counselling and psychotherapy, and if you’ve never considered therapy before you might never have considered that there’s even a difference. Generally, and simply, the difference between counselling and psychotherapy is a matter of time and depth. Counselling is usually fairly short in duration (6-12 sessions for example), whereas psychotherapy is usually longer term and can often take place in weekly sessions over many months.

The depth of work is more difficult to define because the experience of what feels ‘deep’ is very personal. But, usually, there will be more space to explore deeper, older issues in psychotherapy such as patterns and beliefs learned in childhood and early relationships that continue to repeat in problematic ways in your present life. Counselling is work aimed to support you through a short period of stress or transition, or it can be used pre-emptively to address a very specific issue such as anxiety about an upcoming event.

My first session

In your first session with me you are welcome to ask as many questions as you like and I will also have questions for you about what brings you to therapy and what your goals and hopes might be for the work. You don’t need to have easy or neat answers to the questions but exploring them helps me to understand if I can offer what you need. Similarly, you should be able to get a good idea of how it feels to talk with me, although of course our relationship will also build over time.

Our initial session will last 50 minutes. Most of that time will be devoted to you telling me what brings you to therapy and what you hope to change or address. I will listen and ask questions in order to understand your point of view.

Towards the end of our 50 minutes, if I feel that I am the right person to help you and that I can do so well and safely, I will ask if you also feel happy to proceed and commit to further sessions with me. If I judge that I cannot help you I will explain why and I will do my best to offer you some alternative sources of support. It is uncommon that this is the outcome, but it is possible, and it needs to be acknowledged here. No therapist can possibly be a good fit with every single potential client. And it is most likely that if I suggest we cannot proceed it will be because I don’t feel that I have the right skills or experience that you need. It’s also possible that you don’t feel I am right for you, and I am comfortable to hear that. I wholeheartedly support your right to say you don’t want to proceed.

When we do both feel comfortable to proceed we will have a conversation about the next steps, most of which is clearly outlined in my contract. Sometimes we might agree that we need more time to assess how to proceed and we’ll agree another single assessment session. More usually at this point we will agree to meet for an initial number of sessions, regularly reviewing progress and our collaborative therapy journey begins.

What I can help with

Abuse, Anger management, Anxiety, Bereavement, Business coaching, Cancer, Career coaching, Child related issues, Depression, Development coaching, Health related issues, Life coaching, Loss, Personal development, Post-traumatic stress, Pregnancy related issues, Redundancy, Relationships, Self esteem, Self-harm, Stress, Trauma, Women's issues, Work related issues

Types of therapy

Existential, Integrative, Person centred, Relational

Clients I work with

Adults, Couples, Older adults, Trainee

How I deliver therapy

Long-term face-to-face work, Online counselling, Short-term face-to-face work, Telephone counselling, Time-limited