Counselling for individuals and couples in West Yorkshire: Huddersfield, Marsden and Halifax
An Important message: I am now offering in-person appointments at my counselling room in Marsden, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I am triple vaccinated and will be taking twice weekly Covid tests. I am able to offer social distancing and good ventilation in my room and I will provide you with hand sanitiser on arrival. Please feel free to discuss any concerns prior to your appointment.
My name is Deb Whittle (she/her) and I am a BACP accredited counsellor based in Marsden. I have 25 years counselling experience, working with individuals, couples and young people in the Huddersfield, Halifax and Marsden areas. During this time I have also worked for MIND- the leading mental health charity, in Dewsbury for 10 years where I worked with people with a range of enduring mental health problems and also for Tameside Youth Offending Team, where I worked mainly with 11-18 year olds and their families. I have been accredited with the BACP since 2003 and work to their ethical framework. In addition I am also a qualified supervisor, offering counselling supervision and personal therapy to counsellors in training (discount available) and qualified counsellors. I also work as a counsellor with the Retail Trust EAP.
My main theoretical approach is person-centered, which means that the therapy is non-directive, using respect and empathy to build a therapeutic relationship within which my clients can safely explore difficult areas of their lives either past or present, in a confidential and non-judgemental environment. My approach is also informed by Transactional Analysis and Gestalt theories depending on individual client need, or the needs of a couple.
Counselling in the Huddersfield and Halifax areas
Everyone experiences times when life seems to lose its meaning. Memories from the past, painful and difficult events in the present and worries about the future can all make it hard to cope with everyday life, often impacting on relationships.
The past two years have been extremely difficult for many people, struggling with bereavement, long-Covid, increased anxiety, depression and loneliness and speaking with a counsellor may help to process and alleviate some of these feelings and lessen the sense of isolation. The recent lockdowns have also put couples relationships under tremendous strain and deciding to embark on some couples counselling can help to identify issues and work through them in a safe, neutral environment.
If you are struggling with issues, then this will impact on your health and well - being and there may be times when appropriate support cannot be found from family, friends or colleagues. Talking over the issues with a professional counsellor can often help, taking away some of the weight you carry. I can offer you counselling on a wide range of issues including;
How I can help
If you're dealing with feelings of depression and anxiety or are struggling to cope following a bereavement or experiencing problems within your relationship, please do give me a ring today to make an appointment or contact me using the confidential enquiry form on this website and I can support you through this time by offering a safe space to explore these difficulties.
I work as a counsellor from a purpose-built, comfortable building based in Marsden with good transport links to Huddersfield, Oldham and Halifax. There is off-road parking and I can offer either short or long-term counselling dependent on your need. So whether you live locally in West Yorkshire in the Huddersfield or Halifax areas or further afield please contact me either by phone or email to arrange an appointment.
Focus on Divorce and Separation - How to tell the Children
Parents separating and going through a divorce is a highly stressful time for a family and can have long-term repercussions on children, lasting into their adult lives and affecting relationship choices. If handled well, damage can be minimised and children can learn how to cope with difficult feelings and situations. Below are some guidelines on what and how to tell children during this time.
Inevitably, there will be a period before the break-up when children will notice that things aren't right between their parents and this can be a trigger for aggressive behaviour. Sometimes due to their anxiety they can regress with for example bed-wetting or being clingy. They can be 'difficult' or 'attention-seeking' and it is important that parents connect this behaviour to what is happening in the family and focus on the child's needs.
Before telling the children, it is crucial that both parents decide what they are going to say and work out a child-care timetable that can be clearly explained- children need routine and consistency and keeping to set days and times is important. Also discuss with each other first about ground rules and discipline, both parents need to put in boundaries about behaviour, bedtimes, homework etc. Sometimes it is easy for the non-resident parent to over-compensate with gifts and treats and not to discipline and this can then set up the resident parent to be the 'bad' parent who is 'mean' and 'strict'.
When sitting down to tell children, explain it in language that they can understand and try to avoid emotive words like 'leaving' and 'separating'. Don't say "Mummy and Daddy don't love each other any more" as they might believe you could stop loving them too.
Give them plenty of reassurance that the situation is not their fault and that they have done nothing wrong- children often use magical thinking in difficult situations and believe that ' if only they had been good then this would never have happened'.
Try and keep blame out of the explanation and try not to talk about the other parent in a negative way- children don't want to hear negatives about their parents, as their parent is a part of them and if you criticise the parent, then you're criticising them. The relationship the child has with the parent is separate from the adult's relationship and will be very different and it is important for parents to remember this.
Children will react to the news in a variety of ways, some may become distressed, others might withdraw, become angry and not want to listen. They will need to grieve and helping them to deal with their feelings will be crucial. It is useful to have a third-party involved- an aunt or uncle or close family friend that they can talk to and ask questions. Teachers will need to know about the situation so that they can support the child within school.
Sometimes children share their feelings more readily while doing other things, for example car journeys reading at bedtime, walking or playing a game and it might be easier to have regular short check-ins rather than sitting down for a more intense discussion.
If a child has a problem with the absent parent, encourage them to talk to the parent in question and sort things out while they are there with them. If both parents can adopt this approach it will help the child to deal with problems as they arise and not to play one parent off the other.
The above guidelines assume that both parents are working together for the best interests of the children and require good communication and willingness to compromise. Sadly many couples find themselves in very difficult and trying situations when separating and issues around custody etc become extremely heated and emotionally charged.
If this is the case it is important for parents to seek the help they need. Individual counselling can help contain powerful feelings safely and provide an outlet for hurt and anger. Mediation sessions might be necessary to work out custody and financial arrangements and encourage parents to focus on the interests of the children.
National Family Mediation: 03004000636
Family Lives: free helpline 08088002222
'Putting Children First': A handbook for separated parents, Karen and Nick Woodall
'It's not your fault Koko Bear' A read together book for parents and young children(3-7 years)Vicky Lanski
Co-parenting apps for separated parents: AppClose- free app
2 houses- monthly fee