I aim to provide a safe space where issues can be explored in a completely confidential setting and where each person's uniqueness is respected. I have more than 15 years experience working with many issues including anxiety, depression, the impact of shock and developmental trauma, relationship difficulties, bereavement, lack of meaning and a sense of disconnection from your true self.
I draw from many psychotherapy approaches to suit the uniqueness of each client and circumstance. I work in a collaborative and respectful way, where I value your input and feedback. There are often many ways of looking at a particular issue or challenge and we can work together to find which are most helpful and which you feel most comfortable using.
Approaches that I use...
Aligning with the body's natural healing ability and building upon your strengths or qualities. Life crises are seen as opportunities for us to grow and develop. I may invite you to focus on your body and use imagery to get in touch with, and to release, feelings that the body is holding from the past. The transpersonal approach is a form of psychotherapy which has a spiritual perspective (but has no affiliation to any particular dogma or religion).
Dreamwork and Creative Imagination
Working with dreams can be a fascinating and powerful way of understanding current issues in your life and seeing the way forward, by tapping into your inner wisdom. Working in the waking state with creative, or active, imagination (originally developed by Carl Jung), can be seen as a bridge to the unconscious; engaging with the rich and symbolic language of the unconscious can bring healing and insights into consciousness in a powerful way. I also work with creative media, including drawing and sand tray therapy.
This combination of psychotherapy with body-based (somatic) therapy is a comprehensive method for healing the disconnection between body and mind, so often experienced as a result of trauma and adverse childhood experiences. It was developed in the 1980s by Pat Ogden, who recognised that many psychological treatment methods used at that time actually triggered traumatic reminders for her clients, rendering them at the mercy of reliving their past. Working with sensorimotor psychotherapy combines psychoeducation, mindful awareness, interpersonal neurobiology and use of both body-based and cognitive resources to process traumatic memory and improve emotional (affect) regulation.
Being ‘mindful’ involves noticing when our minds are in ‘autopilot’ mode and choosing to return our attention to the present moment instead. It involves "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, to things as they are" (Jon Kabat-Zinn). In 'autopilot' our thoughts can gain a life of their own and tend to be either preoccupied with the past (perhaps replaying an upsetting incident) or anticipating the future (perhaps worrying about a future event). With mindful awareness, we become more present in our lives and are more likely to make conscious, rather than automatic, choices. Mindfulness can help to build resilience, calm emotions and enable more conscious choices to be made.
Compassionate Mind Techniques
Using techniques and visualisations from the approach of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), to align with the quality of compassion. This stimulates the self-soothing part of the brain, which can help with intrusive feelings of shame and self-criticism and reduce the sense of fear or threat which is often triggered by such feelings and thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) is an active and collaborative way of addressing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It involves looking at how your thoughts, emotions, sensations and behaviour interact to create maintenance cycles which keep the problems going. It involves 'homework' between sessions to help to build up an understanding of these cycles, including experimenting with new behaviours to gently break the cycle. It includes 'graded exposure' treatment which involves overcoming a specific fear (such as in phobias, obsessional-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks) by exposing yourself to the fear in very small steps, after first learning and practising coping techniques. I prefer to use mindfulness in association with CBT, to help build the emotional regulation and coping skills necessary.
Lifespan Integration Therapy
Lifespan Integration uses a psychological technique called an 'affect bridge' to find a memory which is connected to a current problem. The therapist guides the client to imaginally re-visit this past memory, bringing into the past whatever is needed to resolve the memory. After the memory is resolved, the therapist leads the client through time to the present using a time line of visual images of scenes from the client’s life. This time line of memories and images proves to the client’s body-mind system that time has passed and that life is different now.
Examining how patterns in the present can have their origin in our childhood or past. By identifying, understanding and working with these patterns we can rewrite old scripts and develop new ways of being that are more helpful in the present.
Helping to build a stronger sense of self in an atmosphere of acceptance and non-judgmentalism. Drawing on Gestalt techniques, such as chair work, when it feels appropriate.
The psychotherapist Irvin Yalom identified four universal existential anxieties that face all humans at some time during their lives. These are death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. These challenging issues can be explored as they arise. I also use the 'here and now' to look at what is going on in the relationship between us and what relevance this may have on life outside the therapy relationship.
I also integrate energy psychology and healing approaches into the way I work, including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).