Three Cairns Counselling banner image - from Ben Nevis, Scotland

Please note I offer online counselling exclusively.


About Val

What to expect

Talking Therapy

PICT Therapy

Online Counselling


Val Freeman

Registered Member
MBACP (Accred)

07582 160 516

Official logo of Val Freeman as an Accredited Counsellor of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy)

Talking Therapy

What happens in a talking therapy session?

Originally I trained in integrative therapy and am continually learning about a variety of approaches to counselling so have a lot to draw on as I work with each individual or couple who comes to me for support.

I have a great respect for person-centred counselling, where the underlying belief is that, given the right conditions (empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence), you will be able to progress without lots of questions or suggestions by me. So in my therapy room you will have space to take your time and work things through for yourself without having me jump in all the time with quick solutions.

Additionally, I have found great worth in other approaches including compassion-focused therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, so sometimes I respectfully offer ideas or exercises from these approaches to help you move forwards.

How long does it take?

For some individuals or couples just a few sessions may be enough; most people will require longer. I offer open-ended counselling where from time to time we review together where you believe you are in the process; beginning, middle or end.

If you feel you are approaching the end of counselling, it’s usually helpful to agree together how many more sessions you would like to have, so that we can work towards a good ending (or a “soft landing”!). Generally, the longer you’ve been in therapy, the longer it’s helpful to give to this stage.

Why “Three Cairns”?

A cairn is a Scottish word for a pile of stones gradually assembled by pilgrims on a journey. As each pilgrim reaches a landmark point they place a stone on the pile where others have done the same, and over time it becomes a cairn. Three cairns that clients commonly reach during therapy relate to feeling, meaning and movement.

Val walking in the woods

Cairn 1: Feeling

One cairn along the way is that of acknowledging and expressing your feelings. Taking time to look at what's been going on for you and admitting it, while often hard, can be a great relief. Depending on your preference, I find that a mixture of talking things through, writing and other creative techniques can really help you connect with your emotions, understand them and find some lasting healing.

Cairn 2: Meaning

Another cairn is that of searching for and creating meaning in your life, as well as finding patterns in your experience that help make some sense of how you have arrived where you are today. Sometimes in climbing towards this cairn there is a moment of clarity where something from your past suddenly throws light on your current dilemma, and again this new self-awareness can help you become freer and more able to make your own unique choices.

Cairn 3: Movement

Expression, searching for meaning, growing in self-awareness... it's all heading towards the third cairn, which is one that you might find surprisingly pragmatic. This is where you've been working through an issue, facing up to your feelings about it, gaining some understanding about how you might have developed it and now you are more equipped to make some choices. The third cairn is where you may choose to tweak or entirely overhaul one or more of your patterns in the expectation that this will open up a new way for you.

Three Cairns Counselling
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