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#16Days- Lisa’s Counselling Blog

Hi, my name is Lisa and I work as Counselling Lead with Arch North East.

Arch North East has been providing specialist services for over 22 years and has long secured its place within the local community.  Although, due to our buildings unassuming presence you could almost miss us, as many often do when they first visit!  We never underestimate the courage and strength that it takes for someone to make that initial contact and furthermore take the next step into our service. 

Sexual abuse is something that happens to a person and it should not define them.  Our specialist counselling team delivers tailored trauma informed interventions to help survivors recover from the effects of trauma.  Underpinned by a person-centred approach, we use various therapeutic models such as Solution-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Attachment Theory, and Transactional Analysis.  We also work creatively where appropriate, in addition to looking at behavioural activation, distress tolerance and grounding techniques, such as mindfulness and relaxation.  

A recent addition to our team is a trained play therapist supporting children and young people who are accessing our ISVA support.   Adverse Childhood Experiences are stressful and traumatic experiences which can have an immense impact on children and young people, and this can continue throughout their lives.  Play therapy can facilitate children in exploring their capabilities, limitations and connect to the world around them.  By addressing children’s emotional needs at an early age, it helps strengthen their sense of self and build confidence, setting strong foundations for moving forward into adult years.

Our counselling service is accredited by the BACP, this is the professional framework that demonstrates that we meet exceptional standards, offering ethical and accountable therapeutic support for our clients.

Issues that our counsellors work with include: Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Relationships, Loss, Anger, Trust, Self Esteem/Confidence etc.  Trauma is an event or series of events that are so overwhelming that a person is unable to cope.  The impact is not only emotional and physiological it can also cause interpersonal impact, making it difficult for many survivors to make and maintain relationships.  More than often a survivor will experience feelings of guilt, shame, powerlessness and a fear of emotional vulnerability.  By allowing a survivor to reach out and tell their story they can begin to feel safe to look within themselves, move beyond past limitations and shape their own world going forward.

Hopefully survivors begin to feel a little lighter, however we do recognise, especially in the early stages of therapy, this is not always the case and it can feel a lot worse before feeling better. What we would say as therapists is … “believe in the process”!

We know that the impact of silence for a survivor can be devastating, we therefore offer Pre-Trial Therapy for clients who are part of an ongoing police investigation.  This protocol covers structured therapy that is carried out by our qualified counsellors.  As outlined in this protocol, survivors are unable to talk about the details of the incident that is under investigation.  They can however explore feelings around the incident encouraging trust in themselves, self compassion and allowing them to become more mentally and emotionally equipped.

“The pre-trial therapy I received allowed me to feel heard for the first time in my life.  The coping strategies I have learned have been incredible too”.  Arch Client

It’s with great pleasure and pride I work with such an amazing team and organisation.  Delivering incredible services to individuals and making such a difference to lives on a daily basis.

If you feel you would benefit from our support then please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.  You can speak directly with one of our referrals team on  01642 822331 or  if you prefer, go to our website

“If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive” ~  Brené Brown.

Lisa Russell has been the counselling team lead at ARCH North East for 18 months. She is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor. She has been practicing for 12 years.