Paula Sharland Counselling
I’m an experienced Counselling Professional who can help shape your perspective into a healthy and productive one. Whether it’s your career, your relationships, or anything else that’s important to you, I’ll help you develop the habits and skills to effectively deal with the challenges and emotional moments you may encounter in life.
I am a fully qualified Integrative Counsellor MBACP ( Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists). My practice is based in Heavitree, Exeter. I also work remotely with clients throughout the UK and internationally via MS Teams.
I work with clients facilitating their self-growth and self -understanding. If you are feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands, my services aim to introduce clarity and self-motivation. I also explore techniques, tools and strategies to better manage the emotional stress of everyday life. Counselling provides a space that is purely for you and understands that sometimes we don't need "solutions, rescuing or "fixing" sometimes we just need a safe space to feel heard, seen validated and supported through times that perhaps can't be "fixed or changed" Life can throw us curveballs or challenges that are outside of our ability to change, perhaps the pain and sadness we are feeling is vicarious and in such times when we are unable to change or control the situation or circumstances all that we can do is change our mindset or view point. Counselling is an incredibly important tool in helping with this which is where the medical model often falls short.
My background is varied I started my career in Sales working as an estate agent combining my love of properties with my love of communicating, negotiating and mediating during the 2010 banking crisis it forced me to re evaluate my career as much as I loved working as an estate agent I hated the "targets and sales' element.
I took a career break in 2011 to have our youngest daughter and during that time spent most days with my mother in law whom had just received a diagnosis of early on set Alzheimers. In 2012 I helped set up my husbands company and became a director but what had become very clear to me over the years was the importance of my work having meaning.
I wanted to build a career that would in someway make a difference or enhance others lives. I went on a journey of working with learning difficulties, brain injuries & Alzheimers and dementia before focussing on mental health and wellbeing. I enrolled at University my early 30s as a working mum and completed my degree in Integrative Counselling becoming a member of the BACP.
Initially working within the NHS where I worked within crisis houses and complex mental health services undertaking further training and development alongside private practice for the other part of my week before deciding to dedicate my attention full time to my private practice leaving the NHS at the end of 2021. I have now worked solely in private practice for the past two years and every day feel gratitude to do something I feel so passionately about.
I work with people of all ages and backgrounds and have considerable experience of working with university students due to the nature of our city and this is an age group I really enjoy working with. I love how my practice evolves and changes as the clients who come to me also evolve and change. I work a lot with parents of neurodivergent / SEN children, Individuals who are at milestones or crossroads in their lives.
Every client is unique and important to me and the genuine trusting relationship that is built enables the exploration of any of the struggles that person may be facing. As a counsellor no two days are the same day by day hour by hour each client will need something different and that's where my Integrative training comes into its own as I am not stuck in working in one modality I can tailor the sessions. The art of good therapy is to subtly weave through theory in what otherwise feels like a very natural, warm and supportive space. I don't take a hierachical position I sit alongside you not above you (metaphorically speaking) although that could provide an interesting room layout!
Neurodiversity is an area of interest to me as well as having a personal connection I have also undertaken up to date progressive training from neurodivergent practitioners in this area and really welcome enquiries from neurodivergent and neurotypical clients.
Ultimately as your counsellor I don't need to have had the same life experiences or share the same belief systems as you in order to support you effectively. Even if we had shared experiences we may have experienced them differently. I get to see the world through your eyes it's a very unique relationship and that's what makes it so reparative.
I love the diversity of the client base that I work with I love working with all people all genders, sexualities, cultures, races and ages and having worked at the Margaret Jackson Centre for my training placement back in 2018 I really appreciate the need for affordable and accessible counselling and so I keep a limited number of concessionary rate sessions in order to still be accessible to anyone that needs therapy regardless of financial status. I have an enhanced DBS certificate
My Approach to Counselling
Supporting Your Success
One of the main things that I love about my counselling work is the unique opportunity it gives me to be alongside and encourage you in the good times and bad times. I strongly believe that life should not be a lonely journey and I value the relationship element of counselling above all else. We can all at times be surrounded by others but feel completely alone in our thoughts or our troubles, not wanting to burden those we love. Through my work I have the privilege to travel alongside people as they bravely face their issues, creating with them moments of sanctuary in which they can gain perspective and find their way.
As an integrative counsellor, I can draw on many different modalities to tailor the sessions to the needs of each individual that I work with. We are, after all, all unique beings! I offer a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to explore whatever is causing you difficulties in a warm, gentle and supportive way.
However huge the mountain may seem to climb knowing that you don't have to climb it alone can often make it seem more manageable. If you are at a point where you are contemplating counselling then I welcome you to call or email me to discuss further. Counsellors like clients are all unique and it's important to find the one that's right for you.
Get the Most out of Life
I was advised to see a counsellor by my doctor after being on antidepressants for nearly 2 years.While I was on a waiting list I felt very anxious about it, I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to talk to someone who I didn’t know especially when I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my family/friends about my feelings/depression.I remember sitting in the waiting room with a big knot in my stomach, hands sweating, shoulders up(I nearly walked out) but as soon as I met Paula I felt at ease it was like I had known her all my life, she was friendly, compassionate & made me completely comfortable. Paula made me see that it was ok to feel the way I did, it was normal for what I had been through & I didn’t need to feel the huge amount of guilt that I did. She never gave up on me, she didn’t push me into talking about the problems I had. She gave me so much support and has changed the way I see things. In fact I was gutted when our sessions came to end. I cannot thank her enough for all her help in lifting the black cloud that was pushing down on my shoulders. She truly is the kindest & loveliest person I have met Thank you xx
'My experience with Paula has been overwhelmingly positive and I encourage everyone who is considering therapy to get in contact. Across the year and a half that we had regular sessions, I have been able to discuss a range of topics within my sessions, including body image, self-confidence, relationships, sexuality and gender, and neurodiversity. During these sessions, I felt incredibly supported, listened to, and respected. The relationship I formed with Paula over this time was built on trust and genuine care, two factors that helped me gain so much from this experience. Having recently finished my time with Paula, I feel confident in my ability to carry on with the work we started together and am very grateful for the journey we shared.'
“Happiness, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour”
£55 per hour £70 per 1.5hrs
Concessionary rates and block payment options available
I believe that counselling should be open to everyone regardless of financial status and do hold a limited number of concessionary rate sessions please contact me for further details