Sara Mathews Counselling and Supervision

Bereavement and General Counselling.

Clinical Supervision

online from my durham practise

Specialist Bereavement and General Counselling.

Clinical Supervision

Availability May 2024

Accepting clients to the wating list now.

Please email me using the link on the site, thank you

My name is Sara Mathews. I’m a very experienced Counsellor/Therapist and I just might be the right person to help you.

I’m the person you want to work with:

  • when someone has died and you’re struggling to deal with your feelings
  • when you are feeling depressed, helpless and hopeless about your personal relationships whatever they may be
  • when past or present events feel overwhelming and unmanageable
  • when you need to talk to an experienced professional who can help you discover things about yourself and learn how to live differently and better

I get that you might need to talk about all sorts of stuff and that feelings are often not straightforward or predictable. I know that talking to a counsellor can feel weird and you might wonder whether just talking can really change anything. These are things I have learned from over 12,500 hours of clinical experience.

Over the years I have worked with clients who have had some really awful things happen in their lives. It might be a devastating bereavement (including pet death, these can be tough, check out my media section for more on this) a relationship that has hurt you in ways you can barely describe or it might be that you know something is wrong and doesn't feel right and you need some help to find out what that is and what you can do about it. All these feelings matter and whatever your pain I believe there is a way forward.


I am Senior Accredited and Registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). I am a qualified Counselling Supervisor and Trainer. I am a certified Online and Telephone Counsellor. I headed up bereavement services in the voluntary sector for many years before setting up my own Counselling Practise. I am passionate about working in a properly trauma informed way with my clients. I also offer supervision or consultation to therapists, health care and allied professionals. I have regular monthly supervision and I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office.

I have written a piece on bereavement for the BACP website, which you can read here.

Sara Mathews
BACP Counsellor

Making the decision to see a counsellor is a big step to take - but it can be a positive one. Please read on to find out more about how I could help you.

What Counselling can do for you

• It can help you make sense of confusing and unpredictable feelings.

• It will help you accept your feelings and manage your emotions.

• You can learn how to recognise and change patterns of behaviour that are not serving you

• It can help you understand and reconcile yourself to complicated, unhappy and difficult relationships both in life and death.

• It will give a space where who and how you are will be completely accepted.

What's more is it can even be funny and enjoyable.... OK not all the time, but sometimes!

How often and how much?

You will be 14- 18 years old or an adult over 18 (and as old as you like!).

If you are bereaved it’s usually a good idea to give yourself six months to deal with the initial shock before you think about counselling. Often your best instinct will tell you if you are ready and this is something we can discuss together if it's helpful.

The same rule of thumb can apply to other traumatic and upsetting life events - generally a bit of distance can help you get the best from your counselling. Beware of practitioners who offer a quick fix and are willing to take your money too soon...

You will be able to find a private hour once a week for us to work together via video link up.

How much will it cost? My rates are £60 per hour.

About my Counselling

I began my counselling career working with clients dealing with addictive behaviours connected to alcohol, substance abuse and problem gambling. I learned how painful experiences such as bereavement, childhood sexual abuse and abusive adult relationships can lead us into unhelpful patterns that we might need help to change. My experience is that people usually recognise what they are doing isn’t helping but don’t know how to begin to make changes.

Clients I work with are seeking support for:

Bereavement

  • Traumatic and/or sudden change

Recovery from abusive relationships and/or historic sexual abuse

Understanding and addressing repeating patterns resulting from trauma

Addressing anger

Habit forming behaviours that do not serve you well

Difficult family dynamics

Depression, low mood and anxiety

Getting the most out of your Therapy

Here are six things I have learned over the years that will maximise what you are able to achieve whilst in therapy:

  • Prioritise regular attendance – yes life happens and there might be times when you can’t attend or need to rearrange but the more you prioritise therapy the more you are likely to gain from it

  • Come even when you don’t know what you are going to talk about – these can be some of the most helpful sessions. Things can emerge from our conversation

  • Understand that the dynamic you bring to therapy will often mirror what you bring to other relationships. Much can be learned from exploring this. Some examples might be:

-Waiting for other people to tell you what to do or fix your problems

-Needing to present yourself as strong and struggling to show your vulnerability perhaps because of fear of being hurt/rejected etc.

  • Take ownership – it’s your therapy and you have to do the work. Your therapist is there to help you do that. A useful analogy is that your therapy session is a regular hour when you take your car to the garage. You and the therapist can discuss any problems, have a look under the bonnet, carry out obvious repairs and you can fill your car up with petrol. Where and how you drive your car for the remaining 167 hours each week is down to you.

  • Let your therapist know what helps and what doesn’t – this can be hard to do but unless you do you are not taking responsibility for your own process and learning how to tell people how you feel and what you need.

  • Aim to make a good ending – it will leave you feeling positive about yourself and the work you have done thus maximising the benefits. If you feel you have had sufficient sessions then let your therapist know. You will be doing regular reviews in any case. If something happens that means you can’t continue be honest about it and make a good ending. Endings matter more than you might imagine.

What my clients say...

Get in touch

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my counselling or supervision services.

The best way to get in touch is by email in the first instance please - use the form here. After that we can talk on the phone or have a trial meeting on Zoom to see if we are a good fit to work together. Voice mail messages can be left on 07837096618.


I offer online counselling from my practise in Durham. Please feel free to contact me to find out more about how online therapy works.


I will endeavour to answer all queries within 5 working days - but usually much sooner than that!

Media & Publications

Spotify podcast - Dynamics in supervision 

The use of silence in therapy

In this TherapistsConnect Podcast I talk about my relationship with silence and my experience as a grief counsellor. Listen here (starts around 06.15)

Bereavement - What therapy can help with

How do you cope with the death of a loved one? How can you deal with the overwhelming feelings of loss and grief? Read my article here.

TherapistsConnect

Dr Peter Blundell interviews Sara Mathews about her life and work as a bereavement counsellor in the UK. Listen here.

Relationship Difficulties

Relationship difficulties as a consequence of bereavement. See my advice here.

Grief Awareness Week

Here is an article I contributed to in Hello magazine written for Grief Awareness Week: https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/health-and-fitness/508614/grief-awareness-week-what-therapists-want-you-to-know/

Pet Bereavement

Read my advice on dealing with pet bereavement here: https://theethicalist.com/6-expert-tips-to-cope-with-pet-grief/

Dealing with a Cancer diagnosis

Read mine and other therapists' thoughts here in this article published on the BACP website: King Charles: Therapists reveal emotional impact of a new cancer diagnosis

My thoughts on talking to the bereaved

Why are we so uncomfortable talking about grief?: https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/health-and-fitness/550109/uncomfortable-talking-about-grief-what-to-do/


©Sara Mathews

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