Here at West Cornwall Women’s Aid we offer a confidential counselling service to women who are experiencing domestic abuse and or sexual violence, or those who have experienced it in the past. We understand that it’s not easy asking for help and sometimes it takes years to feel safe enough to seek help. The passage of time is no barrier to accessing our services.
Our counsellors are mostly person-centered.[TB1] This means that our counselling is not about us telling you what to do, it’s about helping you to work out your own solutions, solutions that will still be in your ‘toolbox’ long after your counselling sessions with us have ended.
Counselling will help you make sense of yourself and your life, and any abusive (including sexual) experiences you may have suffered either in childhood or in a more recent adult relationship.
These negative experiences can impact lives in many different ways. They may make it harder for you to manage your daily routines, form or maintain personal relationships with either friends or family. You may find yourself drifting back into unhealthy relationships.
Domestic and/or sexual abuse is bound to have a profound effect on your mental health. You may experience anxiety or depression; feel isolated, afraid, and overwhelmed. Almost certainly you will experience a loss of confidence and self-esteem. All of this creates a lot of pressure and counselling offers you a safe place to talk with someone who understands and can help and support you – and above all, will not judge you.
Counselling allows you the opportunity to explore your situation and to make positive choices which can lead to a happier, more successful life.
As well as our one-to-one sessions we are able to offer weekly groups. This can sound daunting, to be in a room with other women, but we find that it can be an amazingly supportive environment. The fact that the other women in the group have had similar (though obviously not identical) experiences to you, can lessen the sense of isolation and feeling part of something, a group such as this, can certainly improve your wellbeing.
As with one-to-one counselling, we try to be flexible.
Our groups, whether in person or online, offer a confidential space in which to talk about any difficulties you may be experiencing, including problem relationships or processing and understanding abusive experiences from the more recent past or childhood. The other women in the group will understand, and you will be able to share your experiences in a non-judgmental environment, this can really boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
As we’ve already mentioned, we know women can often find the idea of joining a group intimidating and scary, however, those who give it a try are often very pleased that they did! Group members develop a trust with one another over time, feeling more confident to express themselves and learn ways to move forward.
All these services are free of charge
You may be referred to us by your GP or another service but it is important to say that you can also self-refer. If you ring our helpline 01736 367539 (which is also a pretty scary thing to do, we understand that) one of our lovely volunteers will take your details and these will be passed on to our referral team.
It is important to say that there is a lot of demand for counselling but we have other services to support you in the meantime, if you have to wait for a counsellor to become available. Our Helpline workers can offer regular support calls, or you may like to meet up for coffee or a walk. You may be referred for Wellbeing Work whilst waiting for a counselling slot to become free, or feel you would like to join our various groups – yoga, craft group and a range of wellbeing groups.
It is important that you feel free to speak to us safely and anything you say is confidential within the team here at West Cornwall Women’s Aid. There are, however, a couple of exceptions. We may need to break confidentiality if we feel that you are likely to do harm to yourself or others, or to an animal, or if there are child safety issues to consider. However, we will always aim not to speak to anyone without discussing it with you first.