I was trained in humanistic, cognitive-behavioural, and psychodynamic therapies, at the University of Surrey. Post qualification, I specialised as an Integrative Therapist, with a special focus on Cognitive-Behavioural approaches for short-term, and life-long problems. I draw from a range of pragmatic and proven methods (e.g. Schema-Focused-Therapy, Transactional Analysis, mindfulness).
People are essentially drawn towards self-actualisation: to be good (in our own terms), realise the things that give our life meaning, and thereby to be more fully alive. This is a life-long endeavour, and as with any great adventure, it involves a heady mix of choices, resources, characters, progress and regress. This all happens in a profoundly emotional atmosphere – excitement, desire, joy…..and anxiety, fear, frustration and despair.
Psychotherapy and counselling are concerned with psychological blocks to self-actualisation. Most often, these happen when we react to adverse emotional experiences in self-defeating ways. For example, someone who is overly fearful of failure may overcompensate through perfectionistic strivings; another, fearful of rejection, may avoid connection; a third, resigned to a negative self-image, may have given up on goals that are actually attainable and realistic. Exploring this territory can feel like entering a lion’s den – but it is actually easier and safer to do, than to avoid doing! We always come out the other side of strife– better to have looked & learned along the way. This way, we will be wiser, and more able the next time it comes around. Having a guide alongside can make all the difference.
These terms describe my practice:
Solution-focused, time-limited, cognitive-behavioural, schema-focused, psycho-educational, integrative.
Don’t be put off by the jargon – people find these approaches to be clear, practical, and emotionally engaging. They are also flexible to your situation, and tailored to your aims – be it just a few sessions to tackle a bothersome phobia, or to understand and overcome deeply affecting, invasive problems (e.g. depression, self-esteem, anxiety, relationships, loss, eating disorders, addictions…).
Solution Focused: An emphasis on finding practicable solutions to the issues you bring to the session. Positive changes come from a clear vision of what you want and what is possible, and from actively seeking better ways of seeing things and interacting. There is less focus on the distant past than in many other forms of therapy – although it can be helpful to see how past experiences set us up to feel & act in ways that are not well-matched to the present.
Time-Limited: Alongside seeking help for certain specific issues, most people have limited resources – time, money, energy. These boundaries are respected – a balance is sought between what is wanted, and what is achievable within the limits. A ‘bite-off no more than you can chew’ approach; though returning for further sessions is encouraged, as circumstances change. Like learning a language or a musical instrument – you could undertake a year-long course, or do just a few classes, practice, & return for more as you wish.
Cognitive-Behavioural: Very much in the media these days, CBT most closely represents the science of psychotherapy. It is rooted in the many academic fields of psychology, and is well researched. Put simply, it is about the interplay between cognition – feeling, thinking, sensing – and behaviour – choices, strategies, reactions. Both can be conscious or non-conscious; thought-out, or automatic. Various tools and techniques help you to become your own therapist – to better recognise and manage unhealthy cycles of thought and action.
Schema Therapy: An elaboration of CBT, which blends in methods from various schools of psychotherapy, and is particularly appropriate for working through life-long problems.
Psycho-Educational: Learning about the way that the mind works – in everyday situations, and when stressed, anxious, grieving, depressed etc; and about the natural impact of social, cultural, and evolutionary factors. It’s a great relief to realise that there is nothing uniquely wrong with you; it’s just the way of this exceedingly complex computer we call the brain, as it tries to navigate through an even more complex world.
Integrative: perhaps the simplest theme – there is no one single approach, in life or in therapy. Adopt what works, artfully.
My standard rate is £100 per 50 minute session. I have a concession rate for students, and some availability for low-fee sessions for people who cannot afford the full rates, or get help through the NHS. I am a registered provider of CBT and psychological services with BUPA and most other insurers – it is usually a straight-forward process to get help under these schemes.