Frank Patterson illustration of a road in Sussex used on the Open-Ended Counselling page of Gill Jackman, a counsellor working in the Chew Valley, North Somerset


“I’m so pleased to carry on working together and am looking forward to new journeys.” — Client

I no longer offer long-term counselling, but when I did, this was how I saw it and how I worked. It may be that short-term work with me leads you to decide to seek long-term work. If this is the case, this page and my ‘Which Counsellor’ page may be of help. Remember that your own commitment must be matched by your counsellor’s.

I think it’s true to say all kinds of clichés here — that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear; that you can’t get something for nothing — but open-ended counselling is really about embarking on the counselling process with an openness and willingness to not know where this will take you, or how long it will take. A real commitment to counselling enables us to reach the parts that other counselling doesn’t reach — or if it reaches them, although it might be just what's needed in a crisis, it's not for long enough to enable a deepening, life-changing, ongoing difference.

So what is long-term or open-ended counselling and what does it involve? Mostly it involves…

You should expect to find a sense of safety and empathy from your counsellor and an equal commitment from him/her to not treat sessions casually and always be there, barring illness or calamity.

Long-term/open-ended counselling really creates an opportunity to get beneath the surface of things and to address aspects of your life that you may have never thought about in quite the way talking in confidence, at your own pace, with an experienced counsellor can make possible.

A Note About Long-Term or Open-Ended Counselling [53k] is an essay explaining the importance of commitment for this type of work.