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Specialist Counselling Information

                   Assertiveness Counselling                        




Assertiveness is an attitude and a way of relating to the outside world backed up by a set of skills for effective communication. When you are truly assertive, you see yourself as a person of worth and having a right to enjoy life and get your needs met without violating the needs of others. At the same time, you value others equally, respecting their rights. Assertiveness satisfies the needs and wants of both/all parties concerned.

When we are able to be assertive it can create a win-win situation. Time and energy will be saved and mistakes are less likely. To be assertive is to be confident. If you are confident you will be able to be assertive.

When we are not assertive we tend to submit to the needs of others, possibly to avoid conflict. The more you are submissive the easier it is to be so and to be seen in this way which compounds the problem.

Rather than communicating honestly, directly and openly with other people we may be either passive or aggressive.

Passive: using sarcasm, giving in resentfully or staying silent.
Aggressive: bottling up feelings which eventually explode, not giving space for discussion, or allowing others choice. Where assertiveness tries to find a win-win solution, aggressiveness strives for a win-lose solution: I’ll be the winner; you’ll be the loser.


Possible short-term gains of non-assertion:

  • Avoids conflict

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Escape from feelings of guilt

  • You can enjoy self-pity – the role of being the martyr

  • Pride in taking on too much work although this will lead to decreased performance over time.

  • Being seen to please


Possible long Term effects of non-assertion:

  • Loss of self-esteem and confidence

  • Increased anger

  • Self-pity

  • Feelings of victimisation

  • Powerlessness

  • Loss of respect from others


Assertiveness training works with you to understand your own rights and needs and how to express them in a healthy way.


If you would like to be more assertive please email:



Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) Counselling


OCD affects people differently, but usually causes a particular pattern of thoughts and behaviours.

This pattern has four main steps:

  1. Obsession – where an unwanted, intrusive and often distressing thought, image or urge repeatedly enters your mind.

  2. Anxiety – the obsession provokes a feeling of intense anxiety or distress.

  3. Compulsion – repetitive behaviours or mental acts that you feel driven to perform as a result of the anxiety and distress caused by the obsession.

  4. Temporary relief – the compulsive behaviour temporarily relieves the anxiety, but the obsession and anxiety soon return causing the cycle to begin again.

It's possible to just have obsessive thoughts or just have compulsions, but most people with OCD will experience both.


Obsessive thoughts

Almost everyone has unpleasant or unwanted thoughts at some point, such as thinking they may have forgotten to lock the door of the house, or even sudden unwelcome violent or offensive mental images.

But if you have a persistent, unpleasant thought that dominates your thinking to the extent it interrupts other thoughts, you may have an obsession.


Some common obsessions that affect people with OCD include:

  • fear of deliberately harming yourself or others – for example, fear you may attack someone else, such as your children

  • fear of harming yourself or others by mistake – for example, fear you may set the house on fire by leaving the cooker on

  • fear of contamination by disease, infection or an unpleasant substance

  • a need for symmetry or orderliness – for example, you may feel the need to ensure all the labels on the tins in your cupboard face the same way


You may have obsessive thoughts of a violent or sexual nature that you find repulsive or frightening. But they're just thoughts and having them doesn't mean you'll act on them.

Compulsive behaviour

Compulsions arise as a way of trying to reduce or prevent anxiety caused by the obsessive thought, although in reality, this behaviour is either excessive or not realistically connected.

For example, a person who fears contamination with germs may wash their hands repeatedly, or someone with a fear of harming their family may have the urge to repeat an action multiple times to "neutralise" the thought.


Most people with OCD realise that such compulsive behaviour is irrational and makes no logical sense, but they can't stop acting on it and feel they need to do it "just in case".


Common types of compulsive behaviour in people with OCD include:

  • cleaning and hand washing

  • checking – such as checking doors are locked or that the gas is off

  • counting and repetitive behaviours

  • ordering and arranging

  • hoarding

  • asking for reassurance

  • repeating words in their head

  • thinking "neutralising" thoughts to counter the obsessive thoughts

  • avoiding places and situations that could trigger obsessive thoughts


Not all compulsive behaviours will be obvious to other people.

Getting help

It's important to get help if you think you have OCD and it's having a significant impact on your life.


If you think a friend or family member may have OCD, try talking to them about your concerns and suggest they seek help.

Related problems

Some people with OCD may also have or develop other serious mental health problems, including:

  • depression – a condition that typically causes lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, or a loss of interest in the things you used to enjoy

  • eating disorders – conditions characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes you to change your eating habits and behaviour

  • generalised anxiety disorder – a condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event

  • hoarding disorder – a condition that involves excessively acquiring items and not being able to throw them away, resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter


People with OCD and severe depression may also have suicidal feelings.  


OCD is unlikely to get better on its own, but treatment and support are available to help you manage your symptoms and have a better quality of life.


For help with OCD symptoms please email me on

White Rocks


If you want to discuss your individual needs and arrange a session please follow the contact link below

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