Helen Smith Harrogate counsellor councillor counselling

Why choose counselling?

One in three people in the UK have now had some form of talking therapy such as counselling; with 65% of people reporting noticeable improvements in the quality of their lives after just seven sessions. 

Sometimes there are times in our lives when events and situations cause pain, suffering, or a sense of being stuck. Things can seem very overwhelming or feel too much to cope with. Counselling or 'talking therapy', with a trained professional, can help improve the quality of your life by providing a supportive and confidential space to explore areas of difficulty and really pinpoint the changes you would like to make. 

Heart of Harrogate Counselling will listen attentively and compassionately to your concerns, without any judgement, so that you can talk freely about whatever is on your mind. We will explore things from your point of view, and will gently challenge blindspots, which will help you to see things very clearly.     Different perspectives may also be offered in your counselling sessions. 

Heart of Harrogate Counselling will help you to gain insight by looking at the ways you respond to situations or how you relate to others around you. You will be supported in exploring different ways of being, which, at first, might feel quite different to your normal way of navigating through life but, rest assured, this will be done in an experienced, safe and sensitive way and, always, at your pace. 

You don't have to just 'get on with it' or put on a brave front any more. Counselling can help you.

What can counselling can help you with?

Counselling can help you with significant life events such as a bereavement, unemployment, divorce or relationship difficulties and other traumatic life events . It can help improve medical conditions such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder, and it may also help improve physical problems such as troubled sleep, high blood pressure or panic attacks. 

It could also be that you are here and you don't fully know what the issue is, but have a sense that things feel wrong. That is ok. Whatever your reasons for attending counselling, please be assured that you don't have to try cope with things on your own any more. 

Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, which can range from mild to severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point, as it is the body's natural response to stress but you may find that your anxiety is excessive and that it is having a big impact on your life.  It could be that your anxiety manifests itself through a host of physical and mental symptoms. Persistent anxiety can lead to sadness, unhappiness and depression. In counselling, we will work on identifying the underlying factors that cause you to feel anxiety and/or depression and then address them.

Loss & Bereavement

 Bereavement & other loss  

As well as bereavement, there are other types of loss such as the end of a relationship or losing a job or home. Grief and loss is unbelievably hard and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Most people experience grief when they lose something or someone important to them.  Grief can cause a range of symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, loss of purpose or guilt, to name a few.  In counselling for bereavement, we will work on normalising these feelings and look at your ways of coping. Beyond this, we will try to find meaning in life and work on being able to move forward in a continuing symbolic relationship with your loved one. 


Family Issues

Family issues

Every family is different but many families face similar struggles such as:

*Difficulties in childhood

* Familial estrangement

* Arguments    *Parental guilt

*Challenging behaviours    *Risk taking behaviours

*Bonding & attachment    *Anxiety & low mood

*Divorce   *School and work life stress

*Step-families     *Bullying

* Friendships issues, isolation and loneliness

* Marital difficulties

If you are, then the likelihood is that difficulties within the family unit will be impacting on you, emotionally, psychologically and even physically. Making sure you have the support you need is important and could possibly be the best way that you can help you and your family long-term.  

Low self-esteem & confidence

Low self-esteem & confidence

Self esteem is how people value themselves. You may feel positive and confident in your own abilities and your life, or feel negative and highly critical of yourself. Low self-esteem can influence many aspects of your life, including work and relationships with family and friends.

You may spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others; thinking that you don't measure up to them or that you are worthless, which, in turn, affects your confidence.

Counselling can help you explore the way you feel and change your view of yourself and others by helping you to recognise and address the negative messages are that contributing to low self esteem and confidence.

Gender, sexual  & relationship diversity

Gender, sexual
 & relationship

Sadly, LGBTQI individuals are still often judged through a heteronormative lens of what is and isn’t ‘normal' and can find that living with the stigma and oppression that often comes with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, or non-binary gender, can generate immense psychological pressures.

If you have a diverse relationship, gender and/or  sexual identity, or are making steps towards this, you may wish to work through any difficulties you are experiencing. 

 Counselling can support you, or a loved one, in accepting your identity and finding ways to deal with any prejudices and unfairness you may encounter in society. However you identify, you will be honoured and respected by me and I will have some understanding of the social context in which you live your life.

Stress & burn out

Stress & burn out

Stress is usually a reaction to mental or emotional pressure. It can begin as pressure from ourselves or others and if you find you are no longer able to cope with this pressure; you start to feel stressed. It's often related to feeling like you're losing control over something, but sometimes there's no obvious cause. You might feel like you want to escape a situation.

Many things can cause stress such as relationships, illness, work or family issues. When someone has long-term (chronic) stress, the continued activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body, which leads to physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms developing. You may find you have started using unhealthy coping mechanisms to manage your stress such as drinking, smoking or perhaps your eating habits have changed.

Burnout is a reaction to prolonged job stress and is characterised by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability.

This is not an exhaustive or exclusive set of difficulties and there are many other issues where counselling may help. 

Reach out to me and we can discuss your individual needs.

Are you in crisis?

If you need immediate help or to talk right now...

In an emergency (immediate danger):

  • Call 999
  • Go to your local A&E department

If you're in crisis and need to speak to someone:

  • Call NHS 111 (for when you need help but are not in immediate danger)
  • Contact your GP and ask for an emergency appointment
  • Contact the Samaritans (details below)
  • Use the 'Shout' crisis text line - text SHOUT to 85258



Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.



PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They support young people under 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as people concerned about someone else.

Their HopelineUK service is open 9am - midnight every day of the year (including weekends and bank holidays).



  • www.youngminds.org.uk
  • Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm, excluding bank holidays)
  • YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258 (available 24/7)


Contact us for a free initial consultation


07960 081 168

 Ashgarth Court, Harrogate, HG2 9LE.

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