Hi, I'm Francis Norton. We all get stuck sometimes - in a loop, down a dark hole, between a rock and a hard place. Whatever shape your troubles take, I will provide a calm, relaxed space where you can expect to be heard, understood, and accepted, allowing you to re-evaluate any distorted personal or occupational relationships in your life.
I have had clients from the City, academia, medicine and self-employment. There are patterns - they all have so much to give, but this same drive has led them down a damaging path. And this is what I help with.
I know what burnout can feel like, and I was astonished to find in training that this common hazard to mental and physical wellbeing is almost entirely absent from counselling theory and practice. My mission - both professional and personal - is to fill this gap as best I can, especially at a time when this is a burning issue for so many in front-line services.
Do you recognise any of these?
Anxiety loops its way through the mind and the body, alerting our mind that something needs urgent attention while preparing our body for urgent action.
Like so much of human nature, this is helpful in the right context, when the situation does indeed demand action - wondering about our loved ones or threats to our own welfare. But when the anxiety is excessive - too intense or too persistent - it can become unhelpful, even disabling.
Counselling can help you see where the anxiety is coming from, and develop better ways of relating to yourself, your world and your triggers.
Burnout is the nemesis of the highly motivated, from city high-flyers and startup founders to medics, dentists and vets.
It is typically situational, marked by exhaustion, persistent negative emotions, and often feelings of reduced competence.
Another part of the burnout dynamic is the impact of emotional exhaustion on our human connections. As friendships and intimate relationships suffer, so stress builds.
Those suffering from burnout typically blame themselves, intensifying this vicious circle. Counselling can help restore a more balanced perspective, and help you to relate to employment and other stresses in more helpful ways.
Depression can involve feelings of guilt, helplessness, low self-esteem and even thoughts of death and suicide.
Counselling can help you identify and engage with these negative feelings, acknowledging and accepting them, so that you can move on to cope better - with them, and with life.
How many sessions do we need?
I offer both the traditional open-ended relationship and Single Session Counselling.
Structured open-ended counselling
The normal path for counselling allows the client to develop new ways of relating to their world, which may require them to relate in new ways to themselves and their history. This doesn't happen lightly, and as someone whose agency work involved working with clients for up to a year I have had the privilege of witnessing real - and sometimes extraordinary - change and growth in those with whom I shared the room.
But I've also seen change happen more rapidly, and in order to help the process I like to suggest to clients that we review their situation every six sessions or so. If they're happy with how things are changing we can continue on a weekly basis; if it feels done we can wrap it up there or they can continue with monthly sessions to help them keep an eye on how things are unfolding. Of course the client can also terminate the relationship at any time if they feel that they're not making progress or that I am not the right person for them - that's fine too. However it ends, my clients are always welcome back.
Single Session Counselling
Single Session Counselling, or SSC, is a structured, evidence-based and client-centred way of helping the client to identify their most urgent problem and come away from the session with a viable strategy for change.
In the context of counselling for burnout, clients often have very specific situational challenges, and I am very happy to help them identify a single urgent issue on which they would like to make progress, look at the strengths they can bring to the challenge, and help them develop a solution which can then be practiced within the session. The SSC service comes with both a free initial chat, and a follow-up call to help evaluate impact and options, and of course includes the possibility of following up with more sessions.
I charge £75 for a normal session or for single session counselling.
I reserve a number of sessions per week for frontline workers or others who cannot afford the full rate but would benefit from what I offer.
Let's have a free conversation before either of us makes any commitments.
As well as Zoom sessions, I give in-person counselling at these peaceful and convenient spaces:
3 Lombard Court, London, EC3V 9BJ Near Bank and Monument
76A Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1EH Near Clapham Junction and Northcote Road
17 Lidiard Rd, London, SW18 3PN 10 minutes walk from Earlsfield Station, itself one stop from Clapham Common or Wimbledon.