Professional, Genuine, Grounded.

About Me

My name is Susan, Counsellor, Mental Health First Aid Trainer and qualified by the British Mindfulness Academy to incorporate mindfulness and breathwork into my practice, where appropriate.

I am a member of the BACP and adhere to their Ethical framework and code of practice. My core approach is integrative and person centred. I am insured, ICO registered for data protection and DBS checked. Professional, genuine and grounded, I continuously update my professional development to ensure I offer you the best service that I can, combined with my experience and training as a Counsellor and Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

Counselling offers a neutral space to tell your story, your experience, in your own words, to be listened to without judgement, a time to talk, a time to think, a time to process how you feel.

It is so easy to run down our reserves in the pursuit of 'doing' as opposed to 'being'. We are human beings, not human doings. We want something better, maybe a sense of peace, safety, harmony, clarity, warmth, joy, fun, positivity, triumph, curiosity and happiness.

I will walk alongside you, not to advise or tell you what you 'should' or 'ought' to do, but together in a relationship of mutual trust, respect and curiosity for the issues you are finding difficult in your present or from your past.

Headshot of Susan
pathway in botanical garden

Qualifications

L4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

L3 Award in Education and Training (RQF)

L3 Award in Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

L 3 Award in Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace Trainer

L2 Certificate in Understanding Autism

Certificate in Mindfulness for Professionals

BACP Logo

Experience

My experience includes 25 years lived experience of autism within the family, Counsellor for RABI Farming Community Scheme as well as delivering Mental Health Training into the farming community and organisations such as JLR. Voluntary experience of bereavement support, work experience within the Care sector, contributor to research by Lincoln University/NAS/Dogs for Good Charity investigating the impact dogs have on autistic children and their families.

My counselling experience is working alongside adult clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, bereavement, autism, low self esteem, trauma, abuse, those who are caring for another family member, change, transition, loss including issues relating to the menopause, attachment and social anxiety.


Issues I can help with:

I offer counselling to adult clients who are

anxious

depressed

bereaved

autistic

have a history of adverse childhood experiences

low self-esteem

lack a sense of well-being

abused or history of abuse

menopause


Make choices

Make choices for yourself that are based on self-compassion, not self-survival. Counselling can help to shine a light of understanding and insight into the past and present, to help inform and guide a pathway into the possibility of future self-enhancement, self-worth and self-care


Take the step

At some point in our lives most of us experience times of challenge, adjustment, loss, uncertainty. Reaching out can be a hard step, maybe a courageous step. The bravest thing you can be is yourself. With my training, experience and life journey I am here to support and connect with you when you feel ready to do so.

''Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.''

RUMI


Grief

There are aspects of grief that most people go through, but there can be no method that meets the the unique needs of your grief; in my bereavement work every person I meet I work with in a different way. My core approach is empathy, acceptance and unconditional positive regard, to gently go at the pace that suits you, in a way that suits you. Your grief may be because someone close to you has died or because you are going through other losses. Loss of a job, relationship, health, friendship or pet, some people grieve the loss of a pet, just as they would a human friend.

Depression & Anxiety

Everyone's experience will vary, common signs of depression can include feeling down, upset or tearful, empty and numb or you may be feeling isolated and unable to relate to other people. Signs of anxiety can include feeling restless, difficulty in concentrating or struggling to sleep. Some people have both depression and anxiety. Counselling gives you space and opportunity to talk about how you are feeling and explore where these feelings may originate from.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences are highly stressful and potentially traumatic events or situations that occur during childhood or adolescence. It can be a single event or prolonged threats and breaches 'safety, security, trust or bodily integrity' (Young Minds 2018). Just like attachment it has an impact into our adult lives and can increase certain health conditions, both physical and mental. 1 in 3 diagnosed mental health conditions in adulthood relate to ACE'S. The longer or greater the number experienced, the bigger the impact.

ACE'S can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse, loss of a parent through death, divorce or abandonment, exposure to domestic violence or a parent abusing alcohol or drugs. All these things can have a negative impact on our well being, our self - esteem and how we value and see ourselves in the world as adults and can affect our relationships with our partner, our children, family, friends or work colleagues.

Abuse is when someone causes us harm or distress. It can take many forms from disrespect, control to physical or mental pain, it can happen to any one, through no fault of your own, it could be current or historical and can lead to lack of self - worth and confidence.

Counselling & Mindfulness

I offer Counselling and Mindfulness, these sessions work within the ethical framework of counselling, but with part of the session directed through mindfulness and breath work. It offers a space for you to offload your current life situation and stresses alongside a tailormade mindfulness practice to help guide you to a place of being present with your thoughts, feelings and emotions, of reconnecting to life.

By observing the breath, to learn to attune to it and nurture a gently rising and falling breath, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and soothing hormones flow through the body, these can help calm negative thoughts, feelings and emotions, so you begin to breath a little more deeply, relax and make a difference to how you feel. These sessions are one to one, not a group 'one size fits all', held within the same confidentiality framework as regular counselling and work with your own individual needs.

Autism Mentoring

I offer Counselling and Mentoring for Autistic adults, everyone has the right to live the life that is fulfilling to them, but the expectations of the 'neuro typical' world often leads to pressure on the individual to be someone they are not, which leads to feelings of worthlessness and sometimes a loss of meaning and purpose.

Staying mentally well within the framework of a life lived within autism can be challenging. Anxiety, depression, even suicidal thoughts are not uncommon in adults with autism. Add on differences with sensory perception, motor skill issues and masking - a form of camouflaging which in autism means using strategies to hide autistic traits to try and fit in with others - can be exhausting.

Everyone is different as each person has a unique experience that should be recognised, celebrated and supported. I have over 25 years experience of autism, alongside my counselling training, I aim to bring a different lens in which we can explore how life is for you, how you can find meaning and purpose and how you can live the life that is right for you.

I offer counselling only sessions or autism mentoring which blends in counselling and life skills in which we access the town centre resources.


My Location

My practice is based at Suite 6, 30 Boutport Street, Barnstaple, EX31 1RP, which is easily accessible from the surrounding areas such as Bideford, Braunton, South Molton. It is situated on the 2nd floor directly above Stags Estate Agents, easy to find and convenient for local car parks.

Boutport Street is on regular bus routes and Barnstaple bus station is only a few minutes walk away and the train station less than 15 minutes walk with hourly services to Exeter. The stairs are wide and shallow, however there are no lift facilities. The toilets are located on the 2nd floor.

Fees & availability

I offer Counselling £50 per hour session, this can be face to face, zoom or telephone. Counselling and Mindfulness £30 per half hour session, face to face only. Counselling and Autism Mentoring £50 per hour session or £87.50 per two hour session, face to face only.

The initial session is free of charge, this gives us opportunity to meet, I explain how I work, take some administration details and for you to give a brief outline of what you are looking for and for us to decide if I am the counsellor who can best meet your needs. It is without obligation, please allow up to one hour for this session.


My normal hours of work are:

Wednesday to Friday 10am-8pm

Please note, I am currently not taking on any new clients until November 2024, but I am happy to add you to my waiting list if you wish to do so.



Get in touch


Please contact me via email, text or phone. I will always endeavour to respond within 48 hours


©Susan Aston Counselling

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