Note: if you are reading this on a mobile device the section is fairly lengthy!
I work to create a space for individuals to develop an awareness around what is preventing them from living their life to its fullest. I utilise a variety of modalities within the overarching framework of trauma-informed therapy. It acknowledges that different clients have different needs and that no single approach is sufficient. Within this approach clients are seen as whole persons experiencing the world through their mind, body, spirit and feelings. If you experienced trauma remember that you didn't bring this upon yourself, and you can take steps to heal from it with the support of a therapist. I work with clients so that they can reclaim responsibility for the their life. Ultimately people can make their own choices and be responsible for both their action and inaction. I recognise that along the journey of life people experience joy, success and happiness but also failure or frustration and the outcome of some life events can be experienced as depression, anxiety, shame, low self esteem, can trigger self-harm or thoughts of suicide or engender a sense of being stuck, a lack of any meaning or purpose to life.
A fundamental aspect of my integrated approach is the emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, the contract between client and therapist is one between equals and is not about an ‘all knowing’ therapist who will ‘fix’ the client. The therapy encourages the capacity of the client and aims to nurture a movement towards self healing. Together we will acknowledge and explore the your individual experiences and create space for the anxiety and distress that might be rooted in earlier relationships or traumatic events. Further exploration may lead to insights into repetitive patterns of thinking, feeling or behaviour which might be acting as obstacles, preventing you from leading a fulfilling life. This approach is seen as a unifying therapy that responds to individuals in an appropriate way at all levels of functioning. Within this process I hold due regard for each client’s personal limitations and possible external constraints.The goal of the integrative approach is to nurture wholeness so that the quality of your functioning in life is maximised.
Trauma is an event or events that cause a sudden or significant negative change in our concept of self, the world and/or our future. When this sudden or intense shift occurs, we experience it as loss, confusion, disorientation or even threat and danger. To move through the trauma experience in healthy ways requires an adaptive neurological and psychological response that integrates the trauma experience into a new sense of identity, worldview, and sense of future. The problem is that for some people this adaptive integration does not occur. There are many possible reasons for this, but the end result is that the person continues to experience parts of the trauma as if it were alive and in the present. It is like they cannot get away, close the door, or just get back to “normal” life. They are haunted by the event every day if not every hour. And the haunting can lead to changes that complicate life. A trauma-informed counselling approach is specifically aimed at integrating the trauma experience.
Part of my way of working is to invite clients to practice 'embodied immediacy', in whatever moment you find yourself, in the immediacy of the moment, you are invited to experience your physical sensation but without interpretation or explanation. Recent findings in neuroscience shows that much of that the body plays a crucial role in emotive, motivational, and cognitive processes. In addition to inviting clients to be aware of what is happening physically I also use more formal mindfulness approaches to facilitate acceptance of thoughts and feelings. Underpinning this is the notion that mental health is actually a counter-instinctual process, instead of avoiding, suppressing, ignoring and trying to forget what is painful and anxiety-provoking clients are encouraged to face their fears in a supportive, therapeutic relationship so that they cease to run your life enabling you to engage with life mindfully and with awareness.
I aspire to facilitate self-understanding among clients and encourage them to adopt new attitudes and feelings towards life situations. It is essential to keep in mind that therapy is not a magic pill or a quick fix: therapy is a healing process that necessitates participation and investment from clients. Making small changes to self-defeating behaviour and coping with feelings of sadness, fear, and pain can bring life-altering results. Therapy is not always easy, sometimes you may feel worse before you feel better. My aim is to guide clients in learning to take responsibility for their own choices and making choices that align with their values and help them to live in a way that embodies their personal values and to form a realistic and authentic relationship with life. The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Existential issues for those who have experienced trauma
What does my history mean?
Is my life worth anything?
What is my purpose in life?
Why do horrible things happen?
Why do they happen to me?
Why do I have to suffer so much?
What is the meaning of this suffering?
Is there anything I can learn from this?
I am alone in all of this
No-one can really know what is is like to be me
In moments of suffering I was completely alone and it was terrible
I am not seen or heard by others
Freedom & responsibility
I am ultimately responsible for myself and that is terrifying
I am not sure I have any freedom to make choices
I should be able to make choices because I have been without freedom for a long time
Being responsible is scary
There are too many choices
I do not believe I have any choices
I cannot lead my own life when others have needs and demands of me
Death & mortality
Life is finite and that scares me
I am afraid to die
What is the point of anything if I will die anyway?
I feel dead already
“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” - Buddha
HOW I WORK
My aim is to interweave a coherent combination of cognitive, emotional and somatic, trauma-focused approaches within a supportive therapeutic relationship to facilitate new meaning, new possibilities and new choices to enable you to live a more fulfilling, meaningful and liberated life.
My fee is £50 for a 50 minute session, this can be paid in cash, by cheque, bank transfer or credit or debit card. I can offer a concessionary rate for those on a low income, please contact me to discuss this.