St. Barnabas Couselling Centre, Derby St., Norwich NR2 4PU

What Clients Say

What people are saying about their counselling with us.

Published with clients' permission.

"My counsellor can only be described by me as empathic, challenging (in an absolutely positive way), supportive, person focused, caring, professional and a credit to St. Barnabas.

I have been able to move forwards in a supportive environment that was focused upon me and my issues.

This has enabled me to move from a confused, anxiety ridden person with little confidence to a place that is far more "me". I now feel optimistic, more confident and able to deal with problems, issues and my demons."

"Before I started counselling I was feeling down, stressed and would always let things get to me. I found it hard to discuss my issues with family members as they were directly involved with what happened.

Going to counselling I felt free to discuss this as my counsellor had no involvement. Having my sessions made it easier to talk to family and approach them about topics I normally wouldn’t talk to them about.

During my sessions we tried thinking of a way I could finally say bye to the past. I decided to write a letter to my dad but burnt it rather than send it. Doing this made me feel like I was a lot stronger and could finally let go. I feel more confident and able to succeed."

"My Story: When I first came into St. Barnabas, I was sceptical. I had always thought counselling was a little self-indulgent and believed I could sort out my problems on my own. This wasn't a misplaced arrogance; I just couldn't believe I needed help.

However, half an hour into my introductory session, I realised how wrong I was. I was stumbling around blindly, and not really understanding why I was so unhappy. The relief of finally being able to talk openly and honestly about my problems was so huge, the floodgates opened. I think I went through a box of Kleenex that first hour.

I understood each session was to be taken slowly; I was sensible enough to realise I wasn't going to find answers after just a couple of hours. However, thanks to the reassuring nature of my counsellor, I understood my problems weren't abnormal and the way I was feeling was a completely natural reaction to what I had been through.

As the months went by, the capacity to finally accept and understand why I was so down became easier.

There were a couple of real 'lightbulb' moments, but what I was able to take away from my sessions was the ability to put coping mechanisms into practice to cope with my unhappiness. As I began to heal, I noticed so many improvements in my life, which I fully believe was a direct result from counselling. It really was like a weight had been lifted, and I had really achieved something special - my happiness.

There are still days where I have some down-time. But I now have the ability to understand why, and work through these feelings to create a solution for myself.

What I learned is counselling isn't for the weak. I was strong in realising I needed help, and accepting that fact was one step closer to getting better. 

It's difficult to really put into words how much St. Barnabas has helped me to heal and move forward. The compassion, warmth and understanding I was afforded during my sessions has been some of the most valued of my life and I will always be appreciative.

I would say to anyone who views counselling as I once did, with so much hesitancy, to not see it as something to procure as a last resort. I won't say I wish I had had counselling earlier, because everyone has to be ready at their own time to find help. Sometimes, being strong means being able to accept we are only human and individually, we don't have all the answers.

I learnt one of the most important lessons I feel I will ever learn: the only person who can ultimately help yourself, is you. But St. Barnabas will show you how that can be achieved."

"I have had a revolution in terms of my attitude towards counselling.

I used to think it was ok for people who were into that sort of thing, but really, it was for people who were weak, who couldn’t cope; for people who weren’t able to just get over it.

Me, I’m a coper, I’m strong. I don’t need to pay someone to listen to me whine.

My childhood was what is often described as ‘chaotic’. When I was eight years old, my mum moved a boyfriend in. The world changed.

He was violent. He was an alcoholic.He was a sexual abuser of children.

I lived in an unpredictable world. This world was dominated by fear,

immense anxiety,a desperate necessity not to draw attention to myself.

I had secrets to keep.

I had a mum I loved but who could not, would not protect me.

I had a younger brother that I desperately needed to protect, but couldn’t.

This man lived with my mum for over twenty years.

I was a timid child. I became a timid teenager who disguised her fearfulness with

aggression and bravado.

I was thrown out of the house at seventeen. Somehow, by what seems to be more and

more of a miracle, I got myself to university.

I left Norwich. I could be a new person now. No-one need know what I had come from.

I was good at secrets. And anyway, it wasn’t so bad. I was a coper.

I went through university feeling like an alien, carefully disguised. I graduated. I lived a life. I worked in London, maintained a thirteen-year relationship,had a daughter, good friendships.

Through my twenties, it was relatively easy not to look back. I felt newly escaped. I

believed I had cut myself free from childhood.

As I moved into my thirties it became trickier. Morbid thoughts impinged. Nightmares.

From the corner of my eye I saw my world shrinking.

Still, I averted my eyes. I was ok. I was ok.

By the time I was approaching forty I was living alone with my daughter. I was suffering with insomnia. I had an eating disorder. I had increasingly frequent panic attacks. I was unable to read or watch anything involving children.

Eventually it became so that I was nervous about walking down the street because I

couldn’t handle hearing a child cry. Even so, I felt I was alright…!

I didn’t talk about these problems with anyone, not even my closest friends. I didn’t acknowledge they were problems. I was unable to. I was unable to admit I wasn’t coping.

It was worry for my daughter that prompted me to take a step towards help. My eating

disorder was escalating. My daughter was approaching teenagehood. I was terrified of handing on my food problems to her. I went to the E.D.A. I expected them to give me a list of rules I could follow, which would sort it out. I was all over the bloody place.

They listened to me, looked at me kindly, and suggested counselling. I was disgusted. I went to my G.P. She listened, looked at me kindly, and suggested counselling.

Full of shame, I started counselling.

I went, hugely defensive. I entered the room prepared to talk matter-of-factly about how to get this food issue sorted. Instead, I sat in the chair in the little room and sobbed.

And she let me.

She didn’t tell me to stop.

She didn’t jolly me along.

She didn’t tell me a joke.

She didn’t tell me to stop being silly.

She didn’t get upset.

She didn’t get anxious.

She didn’t ask me why.

She simply sat there, letting me know it was ok.

Letting me know I was ok.

This is the moment that has led me here.

For several months I talked, but mainly I cried. I asked her to tell me when it was ten minutes from the end of the session so I could pull myself together in preparation for the outside world.

Eventually, bit by bit, I was able to let the hurt, vulnerable person I was in that room leave the room with me.

I have been seeing my counsellor for two and a half years. We are moving towards the end now, pulling in loose ends. The relationship I have had with her has enabled me to acknowledge and begin to cherish the hurt little child I was, the hurt teenager I was, the fearful adult I have been.

I have brought my vulnerable self out of that room. I no longer have a secret self. It is amazing."