Ethical Principles

Ethical Principles


Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities. Each principle is described below and is followed by examples of good practice that have been developed in response to that principle.

Ethical decisions that are strongly supported by one or more of these principles without any contradiction from others may be regarded as reasonably well founded. However, practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all the applicable principles and choosing between principles may be required. A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is contentious or other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances. A practitioner’s obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made.



This principle emphasises the importance of the client’s commitment to participating in counselling or psychotherapy, usually on a voluntary basis. Practitioners who respect their clients’ autonomy: ensure accuracy in any advertising or information given in advance of services offered; seek freely given and adequately informed consent; engage in explicit contracting in advance of any commitment by the client; protect privacy; protect confidentiality; normally make any disclosures of confidential information conditional on the consent of the person concerned; and inform the client in advance of foreseeable conflicts of interest or as soon as possible after such conflicts become apparent. The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against their will, even for beneficial social ends.

Being Trustworthy


Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical issues. Practitioners who adopt this principle: act in accordance with the trust placed in them; regard confidentiality as an obligation arising from the client’s trust; restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to furthering the purposes for which it was originally disclosed.



The principle of beneficence means acting in the best interests of the client based on professional assessment. It directs attention to working strictly within one’s limits of competence and providing services on the basis of adequate training or experience. Ensuring that the client’s best interests are achieved requires systematic monitoring of practice and outcomes by the best available means. It is considered important that research and systematic reflection inform practice. There is an obligation to use regular and on-going supervision to enhance the quality of the services provided and to commit to updating practice by continuing professional development. An obligation to act in the best interests of a client may become paramount when working with clients whose capacity for autonomy is diminished because of immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress, serious disturbance or other significant personal constraints.



The principle of justice requires being just and fair to all clients and respecting their human rights and dignity. It directs attention to considering conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations, and remaining alert to potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations. Justice in the distribution of services requires the ability to determine impartially the provision of services for clients and the allocation of services between clients. A commitment to fairness requires the ability to appreciate differences between people and to be committed to equality of opportunity, and avoiding discrimination against people or groups contrary to their legitimate personal or social characteristics. Practitioners have a duty to strive to ensure a fair provision of counselling and psychotherapy services, accessible and appropriate to the needs of potential clients.



Non-maleficence involves: avoiding sexual, financial, emotional or any other form of client exploitation; avoiding incompetence or malpractice; not providing services when unfit to do so due to illness, personal circumstances or intoxication. The practitioner has an ethical responsibility to strive to mitigate any harm caused to a client even when the harm is unavoidable or unintended. Holding appropriate insurance may assist in restitution. Practitioners have a personal responsibility to challenge, where appropriate, the incompetence or malpractice of others; and to contribute to any investigation and/or adjudication concerning professional practice which falls below that of a reasonably competent practitioner and/or risks bringing discredit upon the profession.



The principle of self-respect means that the practitioner appropriately applies all the above principles as entitlements for self. This includes seeking counselling or therapy and other opportunities for personal development as required. There is an ethical responsibility to use supervision for appropriate personal and professional support and development, and to seek training and other opportunities for continuing professional development. Guarding against financial liabilities arising from work undertaken usually requires obtaining appropriate insurance. The principle of self-respect encourages active engagement in life-enhancing activities and relationships that are independent of relationships in counselling or psychotherapy.


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In this area of my website, I have written about all the different therapies I am knowledgeable in, as well as the ethical principles of my practice that I work and abide by.  I have a duty of care to ensure I provide you with the best service, using my knowledge and skills to benefit the work we do together. Therefore, I may use a range of therapuetic models to benefit you within our sessions.

It is often difficult to talk to relatives or friends, about any worries, problems or concerns of any kind. In counselling, you are able to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions in a non-judgemental and confidential environment. I value each person as a unique individual and will support you on your life’s journey, helping you to find your own inner wisdom. 

Counselling is an important step forward, so take your time and read other websites before you find one that suits you.  You need to feel comfortable with your choice and also be able to connect with your counsellor.

A counselling session lasts 60 minutes and this will allow you to talk openly. Our first session will involve me asking a range of questions to assess your health and wellbeing.  We will also complete a contract, which can be amended and altered at any time during the process. 

In our busy lives, it can be difficult to commit to the counselling process; I will work in collaboration with you to gain the best from your counselling sessions.  

Disclaimer: Please note that none of the services I provide are a substitute for medical advice or treatment provided by a qualified doctor or other health care professional. If you are concerned about your health, please consult your GP.

Therapies I Practice

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) looks at our thoughts and behaviours and how they impact on our daily lives. It focuses on these thought patterns and behaviours and how you want to change them in the ‘here and now’ rather than looking in to our history pattern.

Some problems can be overwhelming and CBT can break this down in to smaller, more manageable parts, making it easier to understand the effects this is having in your life.

It is expected with CBT that you play an active part in the therapeutic relationship by applying any new skills and techniques you learn in therapy to make changes in how you think and what you do. This is why it may not suit everyone, because it involves planning and doing practical exercises and experiments either by carrying these out together in the therapy session or as homework in-between sessions.

CBT can help with a variety of problems such as depression, anxiety, phobias, stress, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder to name but a few. It aims to get you to a place where you are able to work out your own way of tackling your problems.

Dream Therapy

Dream therapy will help you see and understand better the symbols, imagery, metaphor and direction of your life’s narrative. To interpret your dreams alone can be awkward and by exploring the inner world of your dreams can be empowering to your emotional well-being.

Sitting with your dreams in a therapy session is a bit like looking at pictures and snapshots of recognisable scenes. Also, memories whether they are comforting or unsettling.

Sometimes your dreams do not tend to simply repeat what you already know; they draw you deeper into your inner needs and consciousness.

Dreams can also present themselves through other senses, such as smell, touch, sound or taste. Strangely, the brain still appears to show these impressions as “imagery”, even if the only thing you remember upon waking is a whiff of a scent, a whisper of a sound or a hint of texture touched and felt.

By unfolding your dream, with careful attention to detail, I can help you understand, explore and make sense of experiences in your daily life,

Existential Psychotherapy

Existential psychotherapy is non-directive and compassionate. It encourages self-understanding, self-acceptance, and above all to assume responsibility for your own choices and attitude to life. It encourages you to face your limitations, to create meaning and come to terms with the inevitable uncertainty of life. Helping you to find the answer deep in your being.

Working existentially also means that some of the issues presented in therapy cannot be resolved, as they are part of your existence and by helping you to view things with a fresh perspective it will allow you to re-evaluate and re-adjust your attitude towards life, bringing self-awareness and taking control of your life again.

For example: If you have lost your job, or your relationship, no amount of counselling can change that 'given', counselling can help you work through the feelings and reflect on your life associated with the loss, re-assess your present situation, and re-build your life, helping you to come to terms with your difficulty and making sense of your life and the challenges you face by exploring your options, which will then create a more meaningful existence.
Existential therapy is a good therapeutic alternative for people who have issues with life, death and the meaning of our existence. Many people benefit from this form of therapy who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. It is a powerful tool for healing and acceptance of life.

Family Therapy

Family Therapy plays an important role in a person’s emotional, physical and spiritual development. Each person in the family system can impact on you and may also be affected by other family members; therefore, mental health problems can change the lives and interactions within families.
Our sessions will involve an initial discussion with you and your family prior to starting our work because this will ensure that everyone understands how this type of therapy works and each other’s expectations.

Our sessions will then be spent on what are the important issues or difficulties within your family, which will involve discussing everyone’s issues and concerns and looking at what is happening now and how this can be improved for the future.
Family Therapy is solution‐focused; therefore, the main focus is on making changes that will lead to a strengthening or re‐balancing of the family system. At the completion of our sessions, a follow‐up plan will be worked out involving all the family.
Some of the benefits for the family are:

  • Looking at things differently, seeing things from the viewpoint of other family members
  • Gaining a better understanding of your own needs
  • Strengthening of your own coping abilities
  • Making changes to the way you all communicate
  • Opportunity to talk and feel listened to

Family Therapy is useful in gaining a new understanding of how your family works and how each family member’s way of doing things can influence this. It can also provide you with new ideas for doing things differently.


Gestalt Therapy addresses what is happening in the moment in the therapeutic relationship between you and I, the therapist. The Gestalt approach brings in to your awareness the present and more obvious differences between your responses and your current life situation. Gestalt therapy does not work at changing your behaviours or symptoms that are deemed undesirable because these are essential elements in the therapy process, both in individual and in group therapy.

I will work with you on: ‘Why you are resisting contact in the here and now and also why you are resisting change’.

The cure for the past is in the present. When you are dwelling on the past or fantasising about the future you are not living fully.

Once you are fully present in the here and now, you are able to take responsibility for your responses and actions, which will increase compassion, humility and respect to others and your surroundings, allowing you to be able to live life more openly.

Person Centred

This type of therapy covers a wide range of concerns. It is a gentle form of counselling based on the teachings of Carl Rogers who believed, that the client is the expert and knows best and through counselling is able to discover the way forward.

Person Centred counselling allows you to access your own wisdom, which will give you self-direction. Rogers listed six core conditions:

  • Two persons are in Psychological contact.
  • The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.
  • The second person, which we shall term the therapist is congruence or integrated in the relationship.
  • The therapist experiences, unconditional positive regard for the client.
  • The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavours to communicate this experience to the client.
  • The communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved.
  • No other conditions are necessary. If these six conditions exist and continue over a period of time, this is sufficient…(Rogers Reader p221)

These core conditions need to be in place for growth and change within our therapeutic practice, I will enable you to develop a greater awareness and a better fulfilment of your own potentials.


Psychosexual Therapy is a form of psychotherapy, which focuses on helping people overcome sexual problems and can help adults of all ages, whether heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian or gay; single people and couples who are married, cohabiting or living separately.

Sexual difficulties can make people feel very alone. Some people feel so fearful, self-conscious or ashamed that they suffer for months or even years without discussing their worries with anyone, even their partner.

Sexual difficulties are very common and can have many causes:

  • Physical, due to the effect of illness, accident, surgery, disability or medications
  • Psychological, due to anxiety, depression or other mental health problem
  • Emotional, due to unresolved grief or unhappiness due to other problems in the relationship
  • Situational, this tends to happen when living circumstances change. For example when parents or in-laws are staying in the home.


Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal psychology and seeks to contact the deepest centre of your identity, ‘The Self’ to nurture, repair and restore. It enables you to be aware that we are more than just our personality and psychosynthesis also draws on person-centred humanistic approaches, too.

Psychosynthesis brings mind, body, feelings and spirit together, working with each person as a whole. It is a more holistic and spiritual approach.

During therapy, your knowledge is revealed layer by layer, which will allow you to identify, understand and accept each level of your wisdom and through this process, you are helped to realise that your layers shift, grow and evolve, which in turn will give you an awareness and insight of who you are.

Psychosynthesis can help you learn more about how your body, mind and emotions work together. It can support you during your counselling journey and long after you stop having psychosynthesis counselling. 


Psychotherapy, like counselling, is based on a therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapy has a longer duration than counselling. Some clients participate in therapy on and off over several years.

Instead of limiting on individual problems, psychotherapy considers overall patterns, chronic issues, and recurrent feelings and in order for this to work, you need to be open and honest so you can explore your past history pattern and the impact it is having on your present day life. By doing this you can understand and resolve past experiences, laying the foundation for a more fulfilling future.

The aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the underlying issues which fuel ongoing problems from a variety of sources: the body, the unconscious, the inner child and traumatic memories to name a few.

Psychotherapy is a human relationship that provides feedback, in-depth mutual thought and reflection about you, your personality, your life issues, your development, your current situation and of course, how your childhood experiences may be still affecting you.
It is a relationship that provides special moments of understanding and listening.

Relationship Therapy

Relationship counselling, or couples counselling (these terms mean the same thing) differs from individual counselling, psychotherapy, CBT or coaching in that the sole focus of the work is on the relationship and often the patterns of communication and/or behaviours, which may be creating difficulties within the relationship.

Therapy often involves identifying and understanding your behavioural patterns and then creating new ways of doing things to improve communication and expectations, providing this is what you both want.

When your relationship is not going well you can be left with a range of feelings that include: a sense of loss, isolation, rejection, anger, confusion, upset, frustration, disappointment, and hopelessness. It can be difficult to understand why you cannot find a sense of fulfilment in your relationship, or why you keep repeating the same unsatisfying patterns.

By offering you an impartial safe space for you both to explore the causes and effects of your relationship with each other, as well the impact it may be having on you both, will allow you the opportunity to clarify what may be going on for you and what could be getting in the way of feeling satisfied. It will help you gain insight and have the chance to think about the communication patterns that have become established

Relationships are at the centre of all our lives. Whether they are with family, friends or colleagues, relationships are the main way we feel a part of the world and communicate who we are.

Sleep Therapy

Sleep is necessary to be able to live a healthy life; it is the body's way of switching off for the day and re-charging your energy levels, physically and psychologically.

A good night's sleep can help you to feel invigorated and ready for the day's events.
A bad night's sleep can have the opposite effect and can leave you feeling run down and less able to cope with the challenges ahead.

There are several things that can affect your sleeping patterns such as stress, worry, anxiety, changes in our daily routines, having children, ageing, illness, bereavement and major life events. Our nervous system is directly affected by the amount of rest and sleep we get, and this can impact in a profound way both on how you feel and on how you cope with things.

Therapy for sleep difficulties can help you to uncover underlying thoughts and worries that may be affecting your ability to be able to sleep properly. By helping you to explore your concerns and help identify anything that may be preventing you from having a good nights sleep, will help you to develop healthy sleeping patterns and understand your own approach to sleep.

I also offer relaxation exercises and other techniques and strategies that may also benefit you, so that you feel a greater sense of balance in your life.

The possible issues related to lack of sleep:

  • Feeling exhausted and worn down
  • Lack of ability to rest or to relax
  • Constant worry, anxiety or feelings of despair
  • Anger, frustration or irritability

The benefits of sleep therapy can give you:

The opportunity to make sense of the difficulties you experience

  • Explore thoughts, feelings and perceptions that contribute
  • Learn individualised relaxation techniques
  • Renewed levels of energy and interest

Sometimes sleep problems can be caused by medical conditions and it is always wise to consult with your GP first.

Solution Focussed Brief Therapy

This type of therapy works with situations and problems in the present, focussing on your skills, strengths and your hopes and goals for the future.
It focusses on how you want things to be different in your life and the process of change to achieve your goals.
It helps you translate problems in to clear, defined and achievable outcomes by exploring your past resources and strengths, which
will help you to see many positive choices you are capable of and the resources you already have available to address your current situation.
By helping you focus on the skills you already have and therefore finding these solutions, will have a positive impact on your life.
This is a very effective therapy that works quickly.

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis (TA) is primarily a talking therapy based around specific theories of personality, how your childhood has impacted on how you relate to other people. It offers some simple and very effective ideas and tools that you can take away and apply to your life.

Transactional Analysis (TA) is based on a behavioral model. It distinguishes attitudes in each of us that come from three basic roles, the three "Ego States": Parent, Adult and Child.
These Ego States express themselves in communicative situations, generating real ‘transactions’.
A ‘transaction’ is no more and no less than an exchange between two persons.
It is formatted by the parts, which are activated within each person at any given moment.
We notice that communication works well when the activated parts are complementary or sympathetic to each other.

By studying the Ego States, the behavior they spur, the games they lead to, up to the scenarios that they cause, Transactional Analysis gives us the necessary tools for self-knowledge and personal development. This process encompasses everything from the simple improvement of communication to the implementation of therapies.

I use TA as part of all my therapeutic work with clients, relationships or family therapy.