Sally Ann Beale

Medway Counselling – with Sally Ann Beale

My name is Sally Ann Beale and I provide counselling in Medway and Rochester. I have been a counsellor for 3 decades – I started my training when I had 3 small children because I found myself constantly in discussion with people about the difficulties of living.

In his well-known book The Road Less Travelled, Scott Peck starts with the words “life is difficult” and he goes on to describe the many ways in which people experience this difficult life.

This was true for myself and for the many people who would come and talk with me in my kitchen. I knew that it was important to become trained at talking and understanding people. I was sure that I didn’t want to just give advice as a counsellor in Rochester, but be able to bring understanding and knowledge to those in distress and need.

I started my training at the University of Kent and Canterbury’s Rutherford college with my trainer Susan Hardacre. I encountered Carl Rogers, the Person Centred model of psychotherapy and counselling. In my reading and studying of Carl Rogers I found a model that would explain the style and way of being that I was encountering and already using with those coming to speak to me.

Carl Rogers himself says this of the core conditions for therapy:

“I am inclined to think that in my writing I have stressed too much the three basic conditions (congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding) perhaps it is something around the edges of those conditions that is really the most important element of therapy – when myself is very clearly, obviously present” [Baldwin 2000].

It is my experience over these many years that my complete and total presence to those who sit in front of me is what enables them to speak of the difficult, painful and sometimes traumatic aspects of life. Each person I work with is an encounter with a unique individual who has their own experience of the world. To be able to bring understanding, knowledge and therapeutic relationship to clients in Rochester. They need to feel connected, seen and understood in the distress that they are in. I have to be open to who they are, to find “as if I was in their shoes” to find understanding and do this with love, care and a degree of challenge. In this way I have worked with hundreds of people, couples, young adults and family groups in and around Medway and Rochester.

In the middle of my life I found myself training to be a Children and Families Social Worker. Gaining a diploma in social work, an advanced training in child development and a teaching qualification in social work. I worked as a social worker for 8 years and then came back to counselling in a private practice. Working in churches, doctors’ surgeries and with social services as a private practitioner, while I gained a degree in Person Centred Counselling from Middlesex University and training at the Metanoia Institute, the foremost teaching facility for Person Centred approach in the south.

Over these many years I have attended my own therapy completing many hours of therapeutic work and personal change. It is valuable to me to know what it feels like to be in the “other” chair, to experience the struggle of opening myself to another and to become aware of the presence in that other person that holds me emotionally as I reflected on pain, grief and sorrow.

I love this work, it is the thing I was made to do, it is full of difficult things but when the joy comes and it comes often it is wonderful. It’s a privilege to sit and be with those who are finding life difficult but I always sit with the hope I have for them, knowing they have so much inside ready to grow.

Please browse my website for more information on the range of counselling services I offer to clients in Medway and Rochester.