Christabel Butler

Accredited UKAHPP

Phone:  01367 850516 at any time.  If leaving voicemail, please leave your first name & number.  I will respond as soon as I can.

E-mail:   I will respond as soon as I can.

Follow me on Twitter:  @suryokiran

Locations: Cirencester & Fairford (Disabled access at Fairford)


I am an experienced humanistic counsellor offering:

· Individual counselling
· Couples (relationship) counselling
· Support for clients who are separating/divorcing
· Support for couples using collaborative law & mediation
· Resolution of uncomfortable & stuck situations, eg between siblings, neighbours, colleagues 
· Individual home counselling for the housebound

These are some of the topics in which I have experience & interest:

· Anxiety & panic attacks
· Depression
· Anger
· Lack of self-esteem
· Family matters
· Relationship problems
· Bereavement
· Sexual abuse
· Dealing with health issues & disability
· Being a carer
· Existential concerns - Who am I?
. Transpersonal concerns - spiritual life
· General dissatisfaction with your situation

How might I help you?

Probably you are exploring counselling because you are uncomfortable and/or unhappy. You may feel bogged down by strong feelings or by inertia. You may have a sense of going over the same ground many times, without seeing how you can alter anything. 
It is likely that we will be able to access support for you to achieve some or all of the following:

· To find clarity
· To make connections between apparently unconnected experiences
· To unearth unexpected options
· To explore safe ways for you to move away from your stuck place

Many people have reported back that they feel better because they have expressed themselves out loud and been heard by a non-judgemental witness. Often they say they are empowered by this experience to find new ways forward, at their own speed. Sometimes this entails finding a new way to adjust to whatever is going on, and not to make changes. Often they make the onward journey with, using counselling as a resource.

There is a golden moment when you feel you might begin to face unresolved issues. Counselling can support you to grasp the nettle & make appropriate changes.


Qualifications & Training

Accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor, UK Association of Humanistic Psychotherapy Practitioners
Four year Gestalt psychotherapy training with Cambridge GATE (Gestalt Awareness and Training Experience)
Couples Therapy Training with Jamie Agar, UKCP
Continuing professional development trainings  
I hold an enhanced CRB disclosure
Registered with Counselling Directory  
Committee member of UKAHPP


I have worked with clients from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and ages, and with those with physical and mental challenges.
I have been working as a psychotherapeutic counsellor for 24 years in private practice. For 13 years I worked concurrently as a volunteer counsellor for Cotswold Counselling, in their centres and in the homes of the housebound. For five years I was also the part-time paid co-ordinator of Cotswold Counselling’s Home Counselling service. 

Initial contact

Everything that passes between us is confidential. In our first phone call, (or e-mail exchange), we talk about your needs and how working together may best serve them. We can discuss any questions and concerns that you may have about counselling.


Individual counselling: £50 (55mins) 
Home visits: as above + charge for travel time/distance 
Couples counselling: £60 (55mins)

 6 Short articles on several topics, first published locally: 

  1. Anger
  2. Relationships Need Spring Cleaning Too
  3. Looking at the Bigger Picture 
  4. Concerns About Sex - Can Counselling Help?
  5. Couples counselling - When a Relationship Flounders
  6. Ah! Christmas, or is it Aaaaargh! Christmas?  


You know the scene – traffic made you late for work, you got an unfair rebuke in front of other staff, the photo copier spewed out mangled A4, there are rumours of redundancy. You kept your head down all day. As you walk into the haven of your own home, you trip over some trainers in the hallway. Remember how you yelled at everyone in the house? Anyone would think they were all managers in HR plus they had deliberately jammed that paper tray.

When we avoid confrontation, we keep the lid on our angry feelings as best we can. One more irritation causes an explosion, which can be out of proportion to that final niggle. We are left feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed with nothing resolved, neither the minor irritation, nor the issues of those times we did manage to suppress our angry feelings.

Perhaps there are old grievances between you and another? Do you avoid that person, maybe become ultra polite and careful with them. Does your latest encounter with “that person” leave you going over in your head what was said, or what you wish you had said? That’s depleting, depressing and unsatisfactory.

Anger is an emotion that suffers from a bad press. Society encourages us to control anger and avoid losing our temper. However, among the range of emotions we experience, anger is part of being human. We might as well learn how to use it fruitfully.

So what are we supposed to do with those feelings which are in danger of boiling over? Working with a counsellor can support you to change the way you handle anger, empowering you to be clear when you feel angry, without losing your temper, and to have a better outcome.

You can be encouraged to identify your patterns of misusing anger: I was the classic door-slammer who swept from the room and rattled the windows. I learned techniques to recognise my signs of rising anger and to intervene with a new pattern, using anger constructively. It is not easy work. It takes courage to admit that you need support. And I know it is possible to change, because I did.



There comes a time in a relationship when each partner knows the other well – their habits, how to get support, and how to respond when fending off perceived criticism from the other.

The other day I heard the phrase ‘banked resentments’. What a concept! I keep a credit balance of the unresolved issues I have with you so that I can cash in a resentment when, for example I need to repel a perceived attack.

“Me? Selfish? What about that time when you……..” and here comes the banked resentment, which I hope will deflect your attack/criticism.

This kind of defence by attack keeps two people in an uncomfortable stuck place together. It often creeps into a relationship after the first excitement has worn off and the banality of day to day existence hits home.

Couples seem particularly prone to using resentment credits after the life-changing effects of having children. Daily life settles into a frantic routine. The relationship just keeps afloat, in spite of all the complexities around it: of economics, of timetabling work and childcare, of family pressures. Closeness which hitherto may have helped smooth over any cracks in communication is no longer available - sexual contacts dwindle, often to the point of non-existence.

Imperceptibly, the communication between the couple worsens. It is possible for the pair to function, although, also imperceptibly, they drift apart. Suddenly they become aware of this awful gulf and they cannot reach each other across the void. The pressures from outside the relationship continue and the banked resentments are paid out from both sides.

This sad state can keep both partners in a stuck and miserable state. The relationship is in jeopardy. It is hard for the two of them to make changes by themselves. Relationship counselling can bring clarity to the current position and understanding and compassion for the history of the decline. A trained counsellor can support the pair to rediscover their strengths and deal with their disagreements and misunderstandings.

Taking responsibility for stopping the cycle of saving and spending the banked resentments on both sides can be a new beginning for better communication, and bring hope for the future. 


Although we talk about stress a great deal, mostly we can just manage to juggle all the responsibilities and everyday calls on our energies, whilst less pressing matters tend to be overlooked.
Underneath the relentless demands of every day life there can lurk a general sense of unease - a niggle which is seldom in the foreground of consciousness. Maybe thoughts like these flash across the mind: ‘this is not exactly the life I signed up for’; ‘how did I end up here?’ or ‘how come I feel anxious, although on the face of it I’m ok?’ 
It is easy to gloss over these thoughts and feelings, because there is always something urgent demanding attention, something to be acted on and to be ticked off that endless list of must dos.
Counselling for non-urgent discomforts can bring the niggle into focus, giving you time and space over a few weeks to explore the overview of your life. Often unexpected choices are revealed and support is found to make subtle changes, which are not dreamed of in the hurly-burly of everyday life.
Imagine having an hour each week for yourself, when there will be no interruptions and you will have the undivided attention of an empathetic, neutral counsellor in complete confidence. Friends and family can be supportive. However you often need to hold back from them for various reasons. Counselling offers a safe space to explore any aspect of your life, without that holding back. 
Accredited counsellors have their own support, a specially trained clinical supervisor, who in their turn is likely to be supported in a group. We have an opportunity to explore the effect on us of what we hear from our clients. We understand the value of being heard without judgement and receiving suggestions. Which is why we can recommend spending an hour a week, at least for a while, taking care of yourself. 
Counselling for individuals or couples remains important when life events produce pressure. It is also important to step back and look at the bigger picture occasionally.

Christabel Butler UKAHPP, UKCP
Accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor
01367 850516



It’s all around us – on tv, in writing, in films, in your face - sex everywhere. Yet there are many thinking “Others look as though they are getting  what they like and want, so what about me?”

Whether  young, old,  disabled or able-bodied, lots of people are unsure whether they should be feeling how they feel or wanting what they want. Many feel unable to speak to anyone and feel trapped and alone in whatever degree of unhappiness.

Sexual issues and the pain they evoke can be dealt with if they are sensitively and openly explored.  By talking in confidence with  a counsellor or therapist, people can discover more about how their own attitudes and expectations of sex have been developed and been influenced by their families, peer group or culture.  They can find the support needed to look at their patterns of behaviour and reactions to sexual issues. 

Finding a new clarity can reveal choices where before there has seemed only stalemate.

Christabel Butler UKAHPP,UKCP
Accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor
01367 850516 



When a relationship founders, it is useful to look back at its development. At first, each person is listening carefully to the other’s preferences. The tendency is to accommodate any differences, skimming over them concentrating on the shared enjoyment and similarities. Having learned how best to connect and be together, mostly any disparities are put aside.

When coping with a new situation, like having children, redundancy or moving house, any vulnerabilities in the relationship become activated. Mostly each person knows how to operate together when things go smoothly. They have few tools for dealing with disagreement, miscommunication or feeling stuck.

By the time a couple is thinking that counselling might help, it is likely they are not able to hear or listen to each other, neither do they want to. Each feels misunderstood and probably hurt and angry. 

The counsellor will make clear that (s)he is there to look at the relationship, not to take sides or shame and blame. The work is: to map the current situation of the relationship in all aspects, and to help them both understand how they have reached this point; to support them to find out what changes would have to be made to motivate them to stay together, or if that is not possible, to consider separation. Then there is an opportunity to work on a way forward, together or apart. 

The counsellor facilitates communication. Usually couples trying to resolve problems go round and round in well-trodden circles, attacking and/or defending or sometimes avoiding all but the most cursory communication. In the therapy room, each has an opportunity to be heard and to hear. Useful procedures for clearer communication can be learned and used outside counselling sessions.

Relationship counselling is fruitful before things go awry. Increased awareness of ways in which couples communicate/miscommunicate helps them to prevent acute hiccups in the relationship developing into chronic difficulties.

Christabel Butler UKAHPP, UKCP 
For more information on relationship counselling  
01367 850516



The pressure to have a wonderful/jolly/peaceful time builds weeks before December 25th. Sometimes the reality is a miserable/anxious/combative time. The worst Christmas that I remember experiencing involved being alone in a remote cottage, in gales and pouring rain, with the possibility of being flooded by sewage and waking to an electricity cut. That meant sandbags at the doors, no heating or hot water, no cooker or tv in those pre-internet days.
What got me through (apart from the linesmen’s heroic work to get the power back by the evening), was being able to phone a neutral, empathetic person, who listened to my story, let me feel sorry for myself, allowing me to cry and to be angry, until I started feeling better. Because of his listening skills and his witnessing of my feelings, I was freed up to access some self-support and to consider some creative ideas for being less miserable.
Reflective listening is amongst the attributes of a good counsellor, as is having a non-judgmental, open mind and an awareness of self. A client can be overwhelmed by strong feelings, feel distressed, be struggling with anger, lacking in self-confidence, grieving or stuck in depression. Being heard by somebody who listens and who can allow feelings to be expressed safely is a relief. Clarity follows, often with the discovery of options hitherto unnoticed, and choice for change.
However well-meaning friends and family are, it is hard for them to hear discomfort or pain. They often feel they must solve the problem, when what may be needed is to be heard sympathetically. 
I and my colleagues in Cotswold Talking Therapies offer professional counselling and longer-term therapy, (in several locations), to individuals, to couples, to young people, to the housebound and to separating couples participating in collaborative law. 

Christabel Butler UKAHPP,UKCP
Accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor
01367 850516