Here’s a few thoughts on what you may experience in counselling with me…
Working alongside you….
Counselling is a safe space where you can explore your life and difficult issues or feelings of any kind. I aim to provide a safe, warm, accepting, supportive therapeutic relationship and space in which issues can be processed and explored, awareness increased and, where appropriate, options for change identified.
I believe you are the expert of your own life. To that end, I do not believe my role as a counsellor is to offer you advice or tell you what to do. This can be challenging as well as comforting to hear. If life seems difficult and you don’t know what to do you may want an ‘expert’ to tell you what to do. However, working alongside a skilled counsellor you can come to decisions that feel authentically right for you, develop greater trust in your own self and go forward from a more grounded place which will serve you better in your daily life.
How Long Will it Take?
Counselling is not an instantaneous ‘fix’. It would be wonderful to be able to wave a magic wand and ‘everything could be better’. But it usually takes time and patience. Sometimes clients have just needed one or two sessions to talk out loud to a neutral third party (me), e.g. to identify a plan of action or process something. For others 6-12 sessions are enough. And others may choose to be in counselling for longer.
I am experienced in both brief and longer-term therapy and happy working either way. I don’t feel you ‘should’ be in counselling for a certain time – sometimes you just want a help through a certain ‘blip’ in your life or to get started with some changes, at other times things feel more deep-rooted and you need need longer-term support. You may choose to work with me for a number of sessions, end that piece of work, and come back at a later date, or not at all. It’s your choice how much you explore and when you feel ready to end counselling.
What Counselling Approach Do You Use?
Many people come into counselling not knowing anything about counselling and the different approaches available, and that’s ok. For others, knowing the approach a counsellor uses is key. If that’s you, please read on…
I am trained in the dialogue between Person-centred and Psychodynamic. For definitions of these and other types of therapy see BACP’s site. The Person-centred side of my work, which is at the core of what I offer, is what’s described in my earlier answers. The Psychodynamic side may, for example, be more active should you choose to look at earlier relationships – if, or where, the past feels ‘alive’ in the present, if strong feelings come up in our counselling relationship, or in exploring couple relationships/dynamics.
My name is Melanie Lee. I am a qualified counsellor providing counselling to individuals and couples in East Lothian. As a Member of British Association Of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) I am bound by its Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and subject to the Professional Conduct Procedure for the time being in force. I am also an accredited member of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS). I also have Relationships Scotland (equivalent of Relate in Scotland) training in couple/relationship counselling.
In addition to my private practice, I provided counselling at a medical practice in East Lothian for 10 years. I have also provided relationship counselling at an organisation in Edinburgh and in another East Lothian medical practice, supported survivors of rape and sexual abuse at an organisation in Edinburgh and East Lothian, counselled students in a student counselling service, provided generic counselling at a Community Mental Health Project, counselled women affected by postnatal depression at another organisation. I also worked for an NHS Occupational Health counselling service to provide extra support during the Covid pandemic.
I am experienced in working with a wide range of issues such as relationship difficulties, life changes/transitions, postnatal depression, anxiety, depression, emotional distress, stress, low self-esteem, questions around identity, difference and sexuality, long-term or terminal illness, bereavement, loss and trauma. I enjoy working with a diverse range of clients – individuals and couples, any gender or sexuality, any age 18-100+, different lifestyles, backgrounds etc. If you are experiencing difficulty in your personal or professional life, counselling may be beneficial.
In 2021 I took additional training in online and telephone counselling. I am also a qualified counselling supervisor with a particular focus on providing online supervision to counsellors and other professionals who could benefit from supervision.
My original career was in IT. I began my counselling training in 2005, going on to train at the University of Edinburgh where I qualified in 2010 as a counsellor with a COSCA validated Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling with Distinction. I am trained in the dialogue between Person Centred and Psychodynamic counselling and what I offer is informed by both approaches.
Online/video counselling can be a great option for a variety of reasons – it saves you time and money travelling to a session, you’re usually at home after your session so can look after yourself however you choose, you may have difficulty getting to in-person appointments for many reasons (e.g. social anxiety, disability, mobility), and you can pick a counsellor at the other end of the country if you want – so you can pick the right person for you!
Zoom (video counselling application) uses your camera on your phone or computer/laptop and surprisingly for many, can feel very similar to traditional counselling in a room – other than you will have to supply your own comfy seat, quiet space where you won’t be overheard, tissues and water/cup of tea! For some people it’s slightly easier to open up to their counsellor when they’re not physically in the same room as them and you have your own comforts around you. I know walking into a communal waiting area or getting on a bus after a harder session isn’t always easy.
I will need an email address for you to send the Zoom link to before the session and I will ask if it’s ok to send any resources to this address to too. If you have any questions or concerns about this way of working please feel free to ask.
Walk & Talk
More information on Walk & Talk sessions to follow here but please get in touch if interested. Sessions are £50 for 1 hour.
I currently mainly use a route near Cockenzie/Seton Sands in East Lothian, but am happy to consider other East Lothian locations – ideally quiet with wide enough paths for us to walk easily side-by-side.
Walk & Talk sessions are good if, like me, you like being outdoors/in nature, feel more comfortable talking while walking alongside someone, rather than opposite (which can feel a bit intense for some people). Or you already spend too much time indoors/on the computer with your job and you’d appreciate the fresh air and extra exercise/up your ‘step count’? We walk at your pace, we can stop at benches if you like to pause and reflect, we can try and ignore the elements/nature or incorporate them into the therapy as you like. Being in nature and moving while talking can really help us get ‘unstuck’ in surprising ways and bring in blue and green spaces have been shown to be therapeutic in themselves.
Despite being in Scotland (!) sessions run during daylight hours in all weathers – the exception being lightning and heavy snow. I am happy to switch to online for a session if the weather feels inconducive to a good therapy experience though. With that in mind, good non-slippy walking shoes, layers including possibly a waterproof one may be required. But sometimes you need sun-cream!
Appointments & cost
Initial meeting and future sessions
All private appointments are video sessions via Zoom (unless we agree on ‘Walk & Talk’).
The first stage is for us to have an initial meeting. We can agree a mutually convenient time for this. The day and time for this initial meeting may differ from your regular counselling slot (should you decide to continue counselling).
Our initial appointment gives us an opportunity to meet, for you to ask any questions you might have, to talk about what brings you to counselling and see if we can work together. Our first session lasts an hour and gives you space to start the counselling work if you wish and ‘should’ give you a sense of how counselling with me might be. The depth we go into is up to you. It is important you find a counsellor you feel comfortable with.
Towards the end of the first meeting I will check if you are happy to make another appointment. You may wish to arrange the next appointment then, or you can go away and think about it.
Counselling appointments usually last for 60 minutes and occur weekly or fortnightly. Most people find weekly sessions work well for them, but this can be negotiated depending on your needs. They would usually be at the same time each week. We can decide this when we meet.
I offer both long and short term counselling.
I currently have availability in my private practice. My hours are: Tuesdays 8am to 7.30pm (last session starts 6.30pm), Wednesdays 9.15am to 5pm (last session starts 4pm), Thursdays 8am to 9pm (last session starts 8pm) and Friday 8am to 5.30pm (last session starts at 4.30pm). Please enquire if interested in counselling or counselling supervision.
Individual Therapy: Sessions cost £50 and last for 60 minutes.
Couple Therapy: Sessions cost £60 for 60 mins. I’m not currently taking on new couples.
I’ve been really lucky to have 1-2-1 kundalini with Mel. She’s brilliant at putting you at ease and explains everything really well. Classes are fun and I always come out feeling chilled and happier! Highly recommended!
I went to Mel’s class for the first time last night and it was just what I needed. Gentle, yet challenging, it made me relaxed and left me happy to take the time to go inwards and focus on my breath, body and mind – Really lovely class! Thank you!
Thank you so much for the yoga practices today, thoroughly enjoyed them. Felt very relaxed for the rest of the day.
Thank you for a beautiful morning of yoga…Please, please make this a monthly event!