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Mike Swift

Counselling

MBACP DIPHIC BA

Hello, and welcome to my site. I offer one-to-one counselling with adults, online and in-person in Bristol or Bath.

I imagine you’ve arrived here because your life is feeling hard in some way right now and you need some help to get back on track.

We all experience times in our lives that are difficult and often painful. We might approach family or friends for help, but sometimes that may not feel enough, or we may not feel able to talk to those around us about what's really going on.

Maybe you want to explore a specific problem, or the time and space to look at your life in depth. Either way, counselling can offer you the support to talk things through to try and make some sense of it all. 

It can feel hard to reach out for help, the idea of it can be daunting. I remember it well myself. If we work together, my aim will be to support you throughout the process in a way that works for you.

I welcome people from all walks of life including LGBTQ+. I champion and celebrate the uniqueness of every person. If I had my way, counselling would be available to everyone; there would be no stigma around seeing a therapist in the same way there's no stigma around seeing an Osteopath if you have a bad back.

Common reasons people have counselling are: anxiety, depression, relationship issues, issues in friendship groups, low confidence, low self-worth, self-criticism, stress, work-stress, abuse (past or present), anger, self-harm, eating disorders, identity/gender issues, sexual problems, drug use, addiction, bereavement, loss. I have a specialist interest in working with behaviours that we know are bad for us but we struggle to change.

I also want to acknowledge the toll that Covid-19 has taken on people's mental health. The last two years have been disorienting and distressing, especially for those who have been directly affected by the virus: personal illness, the illness and death of loved ones, job loss and the key workers who have kept going through awful conditions. Perhaps you're experiencing issues around this, or existing issues have been exacerbated through the pandemic.

 

Whatever challenges you are facing, my hope is that I can help.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mike

1

Contact me using the form below. You can include some detail about why you're looking for counselling, but it's not necessary. Please do include the location you're looking for - either online, or face to face in Bristol or Bath.

2

I will respond (usually the same day) with my availability. I'm happy to answer questions on email, call you back, or set up a short online meeting for a chat about working together. There is no charge for this.

3

If we can find a slot that works for us both, I'll invite you to an initial 50 minute intro session. This costs £45 and can be paid for by bank transfer if online, or contactless if in-person.

4

After the initial session, if you decide you would like to work with me, we will agree a regular slot that will be yours for the duration of our work.

The process of getting counselling with me

I try to make things as straight forward and clear as possible

What to expect in the intro session / assessment

People often ask me about this, so I've added this section. The intro session is a chance to meet and see what it might be like to work together. I will ask you to tell me what has brought you to counselling and you are welcome to ask me any questions about the process of counselling, the style of the counselling I offer, my professional qualifications and experience. We can talk about how counselling might help. 

Often, people are carrying a great deal as they enter into counselling. Although there are some things I will need to ask in the intro session, it is still very much your time and many people find even the first hour of counselling helpful. 

I will ask you what you would like to get from counselling eg, to feel less anxious, to feel happier within yourself, to be less self-critical, to be more confident, to move on from a break-up, to process a bereavement. If you don't know what you would like to get from counselling, that's fine too and completely normal. Defining what the problem is might be part of the work we do.

Perhaps you are aware of how things that have happened in the past are affecting you now? In the intro session I might also invite you to tell me a little of your personal history. Essentially, I will just want to start to get to know you.

Near the end of the intro session we will discuss how you have found talking with me and whether you would like to continue. If you are unsure you are welcome to take a few days to think about it and let me know. Finding the right therapist is crucial.

About me

I'm sure you'll want to know who I am to help decide if you would like to get in touch. I would if I were you. 

I trained at Bath Centre for Psychotherapy & Counselling and hold an advanced level 6 diploma in Humanistic and Integrative Counselling. I'm fully qualified and insured. I am a registered member of BACP and follow their official guidelines for ethical practice. My work is overseen by a qualified and registered supervisor.

I have been working as a counsellor since 2018 and gained three years' experience at The Swan Project in Bristol, a long-term, low-cost service for alcoholics. I have a special interest in self-harming behaviours and how, with the right help, we can move away from self-damaging behaviours towards self-care. I wrote my thesis on this topic.

Prior to my training, I had a career in the creative sector working in the world of graphic design and brand strategy. I studied Philosophy as an undergrad. My non-therapy passions are music production, cooking, reading, travel (I've lived in Australia and Canada previously), film and bad TV.

I've mostly been in Bristol for the last 20 years, but originally I'm from rural Lincolnshire, where I grew up outdoors amongst the crop fields and Fenland drains.

For more info about me, please see the 'about me' page. 

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About the counselling I offer

Counselling is essentially talking to someone who will listen and empathise with whatever you share without judgement, who will help you try to get to the bottom of things, who will not judge you but rather treat you with humanity, compassion and care.

 

I will always be keen to understand what it is you would like to change, so I can make sure I'm doing my best to help you get there. This might be something we try to define together. 

 

I work within a theoretical framework of how we are shaped by our past experience, particularly our early experience and relationships with caregivers. Neuroscience now confirms that our early experience literally shapes our brain and its neural pathways, encoding responses and patterns of behaviour that can re-occur throughout life.

 

But the amazing thing about us humans (and our brains) is our ability to adapt and change throughout life. In this sense, the counselling I offer might be a place for you to explore your own patterns of behaviour and how these patterns may have come to be. Insight puts us in a better position to step outside our patterns and choose different, more fulfilling ways of being.

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Get in touch

Your message has been sent. Please keep an eye on your junk folder as my replies sometimes end up there. 

I'll try to reply within 24 hours.

All correspondence is strictly confidential.

"Mike created a space where I have been able to experience a healthy, supportive and safe relationship with a man for the first time in my life. This is now beginning to translate into my relationships with others in the world. He has helped me discover the diamonds in the coal mine of life. I will be forever grateful."

"I approached Mike for sessions relating to specific relationship issues/stressors. He really helped me to reframe some of the issues and my behaviour patterns around them. This has really helped me understand the actual emotions I am feeling and allows me to work with/through them. I felt very comfortable talking to Mike about a range of other topics and areas of life. After every session I came away with interesting insight into myself and have been able to build and learn from these things. If I choose to go back to therapy I would be contacting Mike first." 

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Client feedback 2021