My name is Hazel Gordon. I am a qualified and experienced counsellor based in the Cavehill area of Belfast, where I have a small private practice.
I provide long-term and short-term counselling for adult individuals and couples. I work with people from all over Northern Ireland and from all walks of life. Clients come to me with a diverse range of problems and troubling issues that they want to explore in a way that lets them move forward in their lives.
Hazel Gordon, MBACP
We all experience times of difficulty in our lives. Life events and relationships can sometimes feel overwhelming. For some people, talking with a well trained and experienced professional can help make sense of those troublesome and troubling times. While counselling is not a one-size-fits-all sort of activity, there are some constants from the clients’ perspective. Clients want to feel safe, they want to know they are seen and heard, they want to know that their specific needs will be addressed.
Making the decision to see a counsellor is a big step to take. Please read on to find out more about how I can help.
As a counsellor, it is my job to create a safe and confidential environment that enables you, or you and your partner, to reflect on the difficulties or problems you are experiencing. We will explore your situation in a way that often leads to fresh perspectives and a new understanding. Counselling is not about giving you solutions or advice, but helping you to help yourself. Working alongside individuals and couples at challenging times of their lives is key to the provision of my effective and ethical practice.
I have been formally trained in three different approaches to this work: person-centred, systemic and psychodynamic. Different ways of thinking about counselling and therapy have given me a wide theoretical base to draw on, depending on whichever is most appropriate at the time, and whichever is most relevant for the clients’ needs.
Counselling takes place in a safe space, where you can meet with someone who will listen with sensitivity and empathy – and without judgement.
Counselling gives us a set of tools we can use to help gain a better understanding of what’s causing these problems – and how you can move towards managing or resolving them.
Here are a few of the more common difficulties that can be supported through counselling:
feelings of stress or anxiety
grief, loss or bereavement
trauma and post-traumatic stress
problems with confidence or self-esteem
issues relating to sexuality
difficulties at work or in retirement
problems with family or school life
Couples Counselling as a speciality
I’ve had further and specific training enabling me to work with couples. The sort of issues my couples clients often want to reflect on, explore and resolve include:
adapting to life-stages
My previous work in community development, community adult education, further and higher education and disability training and research, together with the high-quality and broad-based training I received in Belfast and London, provide a rich life experience that is useful in my counselling practice.
Advanced Diploma in Couple Counselling
Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling
M.Phil by thesis
Advanced Diploma in Education (Further Education)
BA (Hons) Psychology
We came to Hazel because we needed to make two important life decisions. Hazel created a safe space and asked questions to enable us to talk with each other and to start to understand each other. Hazel helped us to connect when connecting felt impossible. She is warm, sensitive and down to earth. Hazel applied theory in ways that made sense to our everyday lives. She helped us to enlarge our understanding of ourselves and of each other, and of the complex dynamics of the two of us. She invited us to reflect on our unique histories in order to better understand how our histories shaped our behaviour in the present. We are so grateful for Hazel’s insight, care and support. We are a more connected couple as a consequence of our conversations with her and have a more supportive relationship with each other.
Francesca and Maeve, living in Belfast 2021
When I came to Hazel I was facing my daughter’s disablement, deaths of loved ones and the dissolution of my marriage. I was overwhelmed by chronic and complex grief. I needed help and I wanted someone older with life experience, who had a sound grasp of psychodynamic theory. I found that in Hazel. I worked with her over three years, developing myself, listening to her, her listening to me. I cried a lot and laughed sometimes. I came to understand why I reacted the way I did. Eventually I regained my confidence and I knew I was making good choices, especially as a parent and partner. For me, Hazel is a big sister, a beloved aunt, a friend. She is someone in whom I have the utmost faith. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.
Ann, living in Belfast 2017-2020
I came to Hazel in 2017 with severe depression, suicidal ideation and a boatload of anxiety stemming from complex childhood trauma and (at the time, undiagnosed) autism. Therapy was a terrifying prospect for me because it felt like I had to face off against the kraken* I had kept buried in my mind for years. But I felt the way I was living left me with no other choice. Hazel was incredible at how she handled all I brought up. She moved at the pace I was comfortable with, prioritising the issues that needed immediate attention then dealt with the big trauma stuff.
Hazel was able to help me separate which of my behaviours and responses were rooted in trauma and which traits were to do with autism. My favourite thing about our work together was how Hazel addressed my needs. When I needed more detail on how the brain was involved in behaviour, she helped me get my head around how the brain and body functioned as one unit. I have a new-found fascination with neurology and physiology because of our time together. Today, five years on, I am a formally diagnosed autist and trauma is no longer a constant element in my life. Far from my mind housing a kracken, it is now but a tiny octopus. When it raises its tentacles to cause trouble, I have many tools at my disposal to keep it tiny and prevent it dominating my life.
*a kracken is an enormous mythical monster said to appear off the Norwegian coast.
Stuart, living in Belfast 2017-2020
I spent over a year in counselling with Hazel during an extremely turbulent time in my marriage. In a therapeutic sense, Hazel held my hand through several traumatic discoveries and helped me become aware of my deeper feelings, face my fears and ultimately make important decisions regarding my future. Through our sessions, I gained new insights into communication and an understanding of attachment styles and their impact on my relationship. I felt safe in Hazel’s care, championed even, but she did not hesitate to challenge me when necessary. While our sessions took place online, there was no loss of intimacy in that setting and they were easy to fit into family life. Beyond her professional expertise, Hazel in innately kind and wise. I thoroughly commend her to anyone seeking intelligent and compassionate counselling.
Maria, living in Co. Down 2020-2021
We went to Hazel at a time when our marriage had gone to a place where we never thought it could go. From the moment we met Hazel she was warm, empathic, non-judgemental and respectful. She walked our journey with us, giving us the tools to understand each other in a way we never had before. We achieved healing, have a stronger connection, and know now how to communicate with each other. Hazel is a truly gifted, compassionate and skilled practitioner. As she explained, therapy is a big commitment of time and energy; we are glad we found her when our marriage was in trouble. We highly recommend Hazel.
Ben and Wendy, couple living in Belfast 2019
I work from a quiet cul-de-sac in the Cavehill area of Belfast. Ample parking is available and public transport is less than a 10-minute walk away.
During the Covid pandemic I have been working online using Zoom, with both individual clients and couples. I will return to face-to-face sessions when safe, however, I will also continue to work online as many clients have discovered that online meetings are a convenient and effective alternative.
Availability: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Individual and couple sessions last 60 minutes.
The fee for all sessions is £50, whether attended by individual or couple.
Please note that if you want to cancel an appointment I require 48 hours’ notice, otherwise you will still need to pay for any sessions missed.
The rationale for the Initial Appointment is twofold. First of all, It gives you an opportunity to find out more about the counselling service I offer. It also gives us an opportunity to talk about the reasons you are thinking of coming to counselling, whether it could be helpful for you and whether I am the right counsellor to help.
I can be reached at
Many therapists tend to view counselling as short-term work, when someone has a problem that can be looked at and discussed in a clearly-resolvable way. This work often requires undertaking sessions for a certain number of weeks, to explore, discover and clarify a way forward. Therapy is a word often used to describe long term work that tends towards substantive issues that may be life changing at a deeper level. The terms counselling and therapy are often used interchangeably.
Whether counselling or therapy work best as a short- or long-term option depends on the client though, and the difficulties they are facing. In some cases counselling can prove helpful as a continuing, longer-term option, or therapy can help resolve an issue in just a few sessions.
There’s no fixed or ideal length of time for the counselling process; it varies from person to person and will often depend on the depth of the issues they are facing. While I can work on an open-ended basis with clients, I find it is helpful for us to both agree before we start on undertaking a certain number of sessions and reviewing where we are at once we reach that point. You are able to decide how long your therapy will last, and in return my aim is to make sure therapy continues for only as long as it is of benefit to you.
This depends on what your needs are. Some people find that after only a very few sessions they have some clarity and focus and are ready to end the therapy. Other people value the ongoing support and relationship with me and will continue to come for weeks, months, or even years. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to therapy.
I don’t carry a waiting list. Availability depends on how busy I am and on your availability. There is always a bottleneck for evening sessions, so if you can be available during daytime hours, you are more likely to get an Initial Appointment more quickly.
Confidentiality is one of the main ways in which counselling or therapy differs from many other forms of helping – for example, talking to friends or family can rarely offer the same degree of confidentiality as talking to a counsellor. Because of this confidentiality, you will find that – as you get used to coming for therapy – you are freer to talk about whatever you wish to.
Counsellors and therapists can’t offer 100% confidentiality: there are situations ‘there are situations where I will not be able to keep confidentiality. For example, if you disclose issues relating to child protection, a threat to harm yourself or others, or if you have committed or intend to commit a crime. Breaking confidentiality is very rare.
It is important in counselling that you feel able to talk about whatever is important to you. You may want to bring up issues you would rather not have a family member or friend listening in to. And, sometimes, family and friends are part of the underlying issue you want to explore. When people ask this question they might be anxious coming to a session alone, or they are anxious for the person who is thinking about the person thinking about counselling. Anxiety about starting something you have not done before is normal. You don’t need to talk about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. However, you do need to be able to talk about whatever is important. For this reason, I do not see clients accompanied by family or friends.
©2022 Hazel Gordon M.Phil, BA(Hon),Adv.Dip.Ed,Adv.Dip.CouplesCounselling
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