Dr Alexander Fox (MBACP, PgDip Counselling, Masters in Counselling, PhD)
Suite 5, Bannerman House
27 South Tay Street
2 Howard Place
Appointments are available in Dundee and in St. Andrews. St. Andrews clients please be aware of the different availability times (see 'Fees' section below for more information).
How I can help you
How counselling transforms lives
If I were to sum up the essence of any kind of counselling, it would be this: counselling provides a rare opportunity to explore and resolve what concerns you.
More fully, skillful counsellors are expert in providing a safe, non-judgmental space for their clients so that they can explore their concerns free of criticism and personal agenda. A counselling session is indeed a special, privileged space, as the sole focus is on the client and on resolving the issues they have come with. Since counselling is solution-focused, it can lead to powerful positive changes-sometimes it can even save lives.
Here is a testimonial from a male client where he emphasizes my skills in creating a safe and supportive environment, which has allowed him to know himself better and meet life's challenges with greater resolve:
From my first session with Alex, I felt completely at ease and able to communicate with him on a very personal level. I’ve been quite taken aback by the amount I’m learning about myself through the positive counselling I am receiving. I’m finding over time that I’m capable of expressing my feelings and who I really am and what I really thought without having any feeling of being judged.The experience for me is definitely enlightening and I really appreciate Alex's honesty when it is called for. It's hard making that first step into admitting you need help but Alex has and continues to help me.
My extensive know-how
Research studies have consistently shown that clients do better in counselling when their individuality and preferences are taken into account. This is a vital fact to note, as there are many different therapies, and most counsellors specialize in one main form of therapy.
My university training in counselling involved learning a wide variety of different methods to help clients. Essentially, if we work together, my approach will not be dissimilar to a tailor, as I will ensure that the therapeutic method that we use to address your issues fits with your problems, your individuality and your preferences. I certainly won't stick pointlessly to an approach that doesn't fit with who you are or what you want. Instead, whether your problem is anxiety, depression, stress or some other issue, I will carefully select from my extensive know-how the approach that is tailor made for you so that we tackle quickly and thoroughly the difficulties that you have.
Here is a female client's perspective on me as a flexible, insightful and knowledgeable practitioner:
Alex is an exceptional counsellor. I was immediately put at ease when I first met with him and during our subsequent discussions he was patient, friendly, flexible and insightful. I think Alex’s vast knowledge of counselling theory makes him stand out as a practitioner; the discussion of this was incredibly helpful for me in establishing a perspective from which to view my personal emotional issues. The sessions with Alex had a significant and lasting impact on my life, and I would enthusiastically recommend him as a counsellor.
NB: For more testimonials, please consult the 'further information section' below
I am a sensitive, sympathetic listener
Who listens?~ Paula Fox from her novel 'Poor George'
In everyday life, finding a good listener can prove to be elusive-we might even despairingly ask, 'Who listens?' From the boss that isn't interested in our point of view to the partner that struggles to hear what we've got to say as they have their own agenda, we often feel that what we've got to say goes unheard. And the truth is that if we haven't felt heard, it is hard to understand ourselves. As master therapist, Carl Rogers, put it:
Being listened to by someone who understands makes it possible for persons to listen more accurately to themselves.
I am a sensitive and trained listener who will patiently and attentively consider what you say and help you to feel truly heard and understood. More fully, I practice what psychologist Theodor Reik termed 'listening with the third ear', as I will help you find out what is 'really going on' for you as I pay especial attention to the subtext of what you say. Indeed, I bring my extensive literary training (I have a PhD ('Dr') in English literature) to the task of helping you to understand the nuances and underlying patterns in what you say. This kind of listening can act like a 'mirror' showing you how you really feel and what you wish to change.
Understand your relationships better
Relationships are often the source of our greatest pleasure-and our greatest pain. For example, sometimes it is our partner or family member, with their subtle and not-so-subtle negativity, that can bring us down, as George Weinberg highlights:
Negative people can break your spirit; they can demoralize you not just during the time you spend with them but even when you're alone. With such a person in your life, you can feel hopeless about new ventures. You will be less likely to take chances or attempt to improve your life.
Therapy is indeed a safe, non-judgemental space to reflect on how you relate to others and how others have affected you, for better or for worse. I can help you understand better how your own needs have shaped your relationships, and perhaps distorted how you see your partner or family member. Gaining such insight allows you to work out how your partner or family member really makes you feel, and you can then make better decisions on how to tackle your relationship difficulties. (NB: I don't do couples counselling. I only work with individuals on their relationship problems)
Build a lasting fulfilling relationship with someone special: yourself
You're always with yourself so you might as well enjoy the company~ Diane von Furstenberg
Never speak of yourself as an enemy would~ George Weinberg
It can often be difficult to feel good about oneself. You might feel comfortable in your own skin after receiving a compliment from someone that you admire, or when you achieve some long sought after goal. However, having good enough self-esteem on a consistent basis might still seem like some kind of dream.
We can work together to help you see yourself in a more balanced and compassionate way. Indeed, by changing your self-talk and practicing self-compassion, you can learn to be a good friend to yourself instead of your own worst enemy.
Break free from the past
Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts~ Salman Rushdie
I don't believe that there is one therapy approach that suits everyone, but for most clients, they have found it very helpful, even healing, to examine their issues in light of their past. Indeed, by retelling their life story, clients are able to understand how their problems emerged in their life, and how the past was shaping behind the scenes their lives in the present (Freud once said that if we didn't remember the origins of our problems we were condemned to repeat the same mistakes). Working with your life story can be healing, as I will help you understand how your problems came to be, and help you move on from the grip of the past. Quite simply, my view is that often when we can learn from the past, we are no longer dominated by it.
Since I have, for a counsellor, a rare background in also being trained in English literature, I am an expert in deeply understanding stories and helping people start a new chapter in their lives that is free from the harmful aspects of their past.
Rekindle meaning in your life
I was standing in the snow by my car, looking up at the sky, when I realized that meaning had fled my life~ Allen Wheelis from his novel, "The Seeker."
Sometimes our problem is not so much a specific issue but more a general sense of malaise. What we used to enjoy no longer moves us, we can feel disconnected and indifferent to others, and our days seem to stretch out like some infinite grey plain.
I can help you reconnect with your old vital self and find again meaning in your life. Most of the time, this will involve me assisting you in reconnecting with your painful feelings and helping you to work through them. This is because numbness usually arises as a means to cope with painful losses in our lives, but the costs are dear: a general inability to feel anything, which leads to the disappearance of meaning. What is needed is an opportunity for the person to slowly and safely get in touch with these feelings, mourn the losses and then be able to move on with their life.
Overcome negative limiting beliefs
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own beliefs~ Leonardo da Vinci
A belief is a perceptual framework which leads us to see the world in a way that reinforces that framework~ Edward De Bono
Beliefs truly define our map of the world, as they delimit what is true, what is possible and therefore what you can 'realistically' expect from life. If your beliefs are genuinely rational and realistic, then you can feel sufficiently motivated to tackle life's challenges, while also being capable of achieving happiness. However, if they are overly negative, they become a dark filter on how you see things (e.g. anxious people might look out for non-existent threats, whereas depressed people might see efforts to change their circumstances as futile).
Fortunately, harmful beliefs can be changed. What often proves curative is to have a skilled professional aid you in examining your negative bias, as they can point out where you might be seeing things in an unhelpful way, and they can work with you to challenge and discredit those beliefs so they no longer have power over you. This process can often be hard to do on your own, as you are seeing the world through that bias, and it can be hard to 'detach' from it.
My academic training-particularly my training in philosophy and critical thinking-has made me expert in helping you identify and challenge your negative, limiting beliefs. We can work together to expose the weaknesses in your negative, disempowering thinking and replace them with realistic, life-affirming beliefs. Happiness then becomes a genuine possibility, as our thinking makes up 40% of our overall happiness (see 'The How of Happiness' Sonja Lyubomirsky)
How does the therapy process work?
What happens at a first session
The first session is an opportunity for us to get to know one another and for you to detail the broad outlines of your problem. Please don't feel that you have to understand the intricacies of your problems, as that will emerge in the time that we work together.
How long will your therapy last?
The time spent in counselling depends on a number of factors, most notably the problems that the client has brought to therapy: some problems are more complex than others and may need more time. However, there are no hard and fast rules here, as I've seen some clients only need a few sessions for complex issues.
The main point is this: we will work together to resolve your problems as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.
If you want to ask any questions prior to booking an appointment, please get in touch by sending me an email. There are also further details about the process of therapy in the 'further information' section.
The Therapeutic Relationship
The nature of the therapeutic relationship can be summed up as this: we can work together as a team to address effectively your problems.
Working together as a team means that I will ensure that we are on the same page regarding what you feel you need from therapy. More fully, by working together as a team, we can successfully reach your goals, as the approaches I will use with you will be consistent with what you need and what you want. To ensure that this is so, I will, on a regular basis, ask for feedback from you about how things are going, and will then, if need be, amend what I am doing in light of what you say.
A summary of my services:
*I will always listen carefully to your problems and will provide a safe and supportive space for you to explore your difficulties.
*I am trained in many different therapeutic approaches, and we can work together to find a way of helping you that fits who you are and the specific nature of your problem. You will find me to be flexible and open to what you really need.
*We can work together to help transform how you relate to others. We can also work together for you to become your own best friend to yourself.
*Your life is a story, but you might feel recently that your life has spiralled out of control, and that you no longer recognize what your life has become. I will listen and honour your life story and help you to make sense of where things have gone wrong, and how you can move forward.
* Two of the most popular therapies CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and REBT (rational emotive behavioral therapy) are grounded in a number of philosophical traditions. I can use my academic training to help you challenge your negative thinking to make way for genuine happiness.
*You have the choice of short-term or long-term counselling. For as long as it takes, we will work together to resolve as much as possible your problems.
* If you are a client of mine and you wish to ask me a question between sessions, then that is perfectly fine. I can't always, of course, write an extended reply, but I will give you some pointers by email that will hopefully help enough until we meet at the next session.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am a member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
MA Honours Philosophy, First class, University of Dundee
MSc Literature and Modernism, University of Edinburgh
Diploma in Counselling, Abertay University
Masters in Counselling, Abertay University
PhD English Literature, University of Dundee (NB: Please note that my 'Dr' title refers to my PhD in English literature)
I have worked at a number of organizations providing short-term and long-term counselling, such as Insight Counselling service and Tayside Centre for Counselling at Abertay University.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Domestic violence
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
- Pregnancy and birth
Photos & videos
For 1 hour appointments: Adults £45; Students & Concessionary £40 (Please note I only counsel clients aged 18 or over)
My availability times are as follows:
Monday 5 pm-10 pm
Tuesday 5 pm-10 pm
Thursday 5 pm-10 pm
Friday 5 pm-8 pm
Saturday 10 am-2 pm
Sunday 10 am-3 pm
Sat 5 pm-8 pm
Sunday 5 pm-10 pm
For those St. Andrews clients who cannot come during these times, you are welcome to attend the Dundee office.
- Don't shoot the messenger: on disowning anxiety
- How to listen better in your relationships
- On obsessing over disturbing thoughts
- Relationships - 2 key principles
- Questions that make you unhappy
- What we talk about when we talk about love
- Anxiety and your inner 'dictator'
- 'Tis the season to be quarrelling
- On damaging relationship styles - further considerations
- One way to work with your dreams
- The secret to achieving mental health
- Take a worry break
- Are you trying too hard to be happy?
These are a few more testimonials from clients about their experience of working with me:
"After a particularly rough time in my life, I came to Alex seeking help in better understanding the basis of my negative feelings about myself. From the first session, Alex was both inviting and insightful. His incredible knowledge of subjects ranging from literature to philosophy and media made me feel not only at ease – he was relatable and understood what I was saying to him – but also helped me to look further inside myself and to connect the dots between life events and current mindsets.
With his help I feel I have come a long way these last few months; I have a better understanding of my own mental health and with his advice and suggestions, I am now taking proactive steps to rectify some deep-rooted cognitive biases. Alex has listened to me and carefully considered which avenues would be beneficial to explore, based on his insight and professional opinion. He has helped me to come to terms with myself, and while I may not be 100% there, I am much closer to my goal than I was before our sessions.
For anyone searching for a warm, friendly and empathetic therapist, I would highly recommend Alex. I have felt that all of our work together was purposeful and valuable, and I look forward to continuing to get know both myself – and Alex – better in the future."
"For years I knew I had issues and finally plucked up the courage to find a counsellor. I had anxiety, feelings of guilt, and an inferiority complex. Family issues dominated my thoughts and I felt a sense of guilt, shame and blamed myself. Alex helped me look at these issues differently and with his knowledge and experience helped me break free from the past and stop feeling guilty and I now know my own personality. I felt very at ease, was not scared to open up, he was approachable. I would definitely recommend him".
"Alex was able to work with me to identify many underlying issues that I have struggled with. I have found the process to be interesting and enjoyable. He provides a relaxed and comfortable environment in which I feel I can be open and talk frankly. Alex has helped me considerably in exploring my thoughts and introduced me to a number of techniques and exercises that I can use on a day to day basis to deal with anxiety as it arises."
"I’ve found Alex to be very attentive, approachable and knowledgeable. Alex has helped me work through issues in both my personal and professional life, helping me gain insights that I would not have been able to reach on my own. In addition, Alex has also equipped me with the tools that will help me deal with any future difficulties that I may encounter. I found that Alex also takes the time to get to know you so that he has a deeper understanding of you as a person; which, I think, helps him to discover what will be the best and most effective way to help you. Alex also a deep understanding of philosophy and I’ve been impressed with how he’s managed to sometimes integrate this into my sessions, where appropriate, and make it relevant to my situation. Alex has helped me a great deal and I’ve learnt a lot from him; I can’t recommend him highly enough.
"I've been having counselling with Alex for several months now. Initially, I wasn't sure how long I wanted to go; I had planned just to get me through my 'crisis' at the time. However, the more I went, the more relaxed I became and felt there was more I definitely wanted to work through. I find Alex very calming, honest..and most importantly for me..logical! I also didn't know how I would be with a male counsellor, but I can genuinely say I've worked through a lot of issues. My main concern is trust, or lack of, however I already feel a difference in my thought pattern. Slowly but steadily, I'm noticing little changes in the way I'm thinking. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Alex to anyone looking for counselling"
"Alex has helped me to create strategies to help with immediate anxiety problems as well as helping me to face long standing issues. Alex has helped me to explore many strategies in a safe, secure environment and encouraged me to seek out others in my own time. He has also helped me to vocalise my thoughts, feelings and ideas. Alex has a way of turning my thoughts back to me to help me make my own conclusions. Through these sessions I am learning how to manage on my own and in the sessions in a safe way. I feel I am being supported and guided through the wilderness of my own mind to some clarity. I am not constricted by a maximum (or minimum) number of sessions and am able to be supported in what I want to achieve, in whatever timescale that I need as an individual".
For clients who want to know a bit more about counselling, the counselling process or about the form of therapy I specifically practice, I've provided the following FAQ:
In what ways can counselling help?
Working with a trained counsellor can help in the following ways:
* Quite often, people find it a challenge to know what they are really feeling. Counselling can help clients explore their feelings and make sense of what they want from life. Indeed, the more you are in touch with your feelings, the better choices you can then make in your work and love life, and thus you can become more effective in those areas.
* As important as feelings are, they are not the complete picture. For you to live the best life that you can lead, you not only need to be in touch with your feelings, but you also need to be able to think effectively about problems and put things in the proper perspective. A good counsellor can help you understand more clearly and more rationally the nature of your problems and help you find the best solution to your difficulties.
*Good counselling can equip you with a multitude of different strategies and methods for tackling your problems. The methods that are right for you are ones that you can also use after your counselling.
* The best kind of counselling involves a great opportunity to learn more about the real you so that you can become more comfortable in your own skin. And when you feel more authentic and self-satisfied, you can then be more effective socially, romantically and career-wise. Also-and this is no small benefit-you will become more assertive and be able to stick up for what you really need
If you are feeling demotivated and stressed and confused, won't counselling be a hard going process?
This is a question that clients often ask, directly or indirectly. If this is one of your concerns, don't worry. It is only natural that when you are feeling down or anxious or angry that you are concerned about whether you have the motivation or the conviction to go through the process of exploring and coming to terms with your problems.
Let me dispel as much as I can these fears: you do not need to be super-motivated or knowledgeable and articulate about your problems to begin counselling. To come and see a professional counsellor and agree to work on your issues is more than enough commitment to begin with, so please don't worry.
The alternative to taking this small yet significant step of contacting me is to continue with having the problem. Now, counselling is not always the answer to people's problems and sometimes life itself conveniently provides a solution out of the blue. However, if you have had a problem for a long time and/or the problem is particularly distressing, then contacting me is one of the best ways of finally coming to grips with the issue rather than courting the possibility that the problem will get worse. Ultimately, contacting a trained professional is better than leaving a resolution to chance.
How frequent are your sessions?
This largely is up to you. Some clients, for example, want to come weekly, others twice weekly, some fortnightly and some once a month. Generally the majority of clients come once a week, but we can have a discussion at your first session about how often you wish to come for counselling, given the particular issues that you have.
What is also important to highlight is that the regularity that you come for counselling is perfectly open to change as you go through the process. Sometimes as clients feel their problems are getting resolved, they want to come less frequently; likewise, sometimes clients want to come more often when they feel their life has become more stressful.Nothing is set in stone as I intend at all times to be adaptable to your needs.
Where can you find this therapy practice and why 'CCounselling'?
CCounselling is a small private practice, consisting of myself and a colleague. The 'C' in CCounselling stands for the following: Caring; Collaborative; Compassionate; Client-led; Confidential. These represent the core values of this practice and of good counselling in general.
Our practice is in the West end of Dundee city centre on the same street as the Dundee Repertory Theatre. Parking is available on the street itself or in the small car park at one end of the street.
What kind of therapy do I practice?
A succinct definition of the pluralistic approach is the idea that no one therapy approach (whether it be psychoanalysis, person centred, CBT, Transactional Analysis etc.) works for all clients, all of the time. In practice, this means that pluralists possess a toolkit that 'contains' many different therapy methods and they collaborate with the client about what approach might best suit them at that stage. In many ways, then, they are the most flexible therapists.
Since I believe that it is best to combine a wide range of different approaches to effect the most lasting change, my theoretical influences are varied. Here are some of the books which have informed the creative way that I work with clients:
Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy by Mick Cooper and John McLeod
On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
Gestalt therapy verbatim by Fritz Perls
Reading to heal: how to use bibliotherapy to improve your life by Jacqueline Stanley
Listening with the third ear by Theodor Reik
The New Rational Therapy by Eliot Cohen
Psychotherapy isn't what you think by James Bugental
Reason and Goodness by Brand Blanshard
Crazy talk/stupid talk: how we defeat ourselves by the way we talk and what to do about it by Neil Postman
Fundamentals of adaptive psychotherapy and counselling by Robert Langs
Solution Focused Therapy for the helping professions by Barry Winbolt
People in Quandaries by Wendell Johnson
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Please see 'Fees' section for office hours. Daytime, evening and weekend appointments are available.
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|