Ben Harris MA (Oxon), MBACP
The simple act of arriving at this page, accepting your vulnerability and beginning the process of seeking help, is a pretty courageous act.
Why am I so pained? How can I be more content? What should I accept about myself, my relationships and my environment and what should I seek to change? How can I find meaning in my experience?
Just some of the perennial questions of life, and therefore of counselling and psychotherapy.
I think there's a lot to do with anxiety and lack of acceptance of ourselves in our often rather bewildering experience. We muddle on through coping ok, and then something happens to send us into a spin. Perhaps the first thing to accept is a little secret that many of us aren't savvy about - life is hard by its very nature and it's normal to have a bit (or a lot) of difficulty sometimes. Pain and loss are normal parts of life. I aim to help people work out how to build and unlock internal resources and ways of thinking to cope with difficult but very natural emotions during tough times.
The process of counselling can be hard to get a sense of without prior experience of it. There are a number of things that I think we're doing in a therapeutic relationship:
- Firstly, I aim to provide an accepting and supportive space for you to talk about your experiences.
- Secondly, we seek to build a relationship founded on trust and mutual respect that is also direct and authentic (and sometimes challenging) that helps you to tolerate difficult emotions.
- Thirdly, together we begin to make sense of your thoughts and feelings as we explore why you are in difficulty. Only with understanding can we make choices about the compromises inherent in living - what we will learn to endure, what we want to accept, and what we seek to change because it has become unhelpful - inside ourselves or outside in our relationships and environment.
It can be difficult to pick up the phone to call a stranger sometimes. You are welcome to contact me by e-mail to introduce yourself, leaving phone contact details and a good time period for me to get in touch, and I'll get back to you swiftly to talk about moving things forward.
Training, qualifications & experience
Amongst other disciplines I studied philosophy of mind and existentialism during my undergraduate degree at Oxford University. This work continues to inform my therapeutic practice today. I worked in the City for some years before choosing to employ my skills in a direction that felt more keenly attuned with my interests. I know what it is like to work in that high-pressured world and welcome clients for whom a sense that their counsellor understands some of that existence is important. I have undertaken work in the public, private and charitable sectors, worked with vulnerable clients on behalf of Mind and have facilitated group counselling.
I undertook an emotionally and intellectually demanding and rigorous training with the Minster Centre, being awarded a Diploma in Integrative Counselling. I am a registered member of the BACP (MBACP) and abide by their code of ethics.
I am trained integratively which means that I have incorporated a thorough grounding from different perspectives on people's inner worlds and the human condition. I work psychodynamically, paying attention to the power of the unconscious and the ways in which past experience informs how we are in the world today, often without us really noticing. I also give due regard to the existentialist insights - how hard it is to find meaning and security when we have to take responsibility for our own choices against the backdrop of our finite lives. Research indicates that these approaches are helpful across a range of presenting difficulties.
My approach aims to help you (re)discover the richness of your own unique humanity and to secure a way of being in the world with more ease, freedom and contentment, with confidence to face those painful experiences that are part of all our lives. I know that this is possible from my own professional and personal experience, even when things seem bleak. There is a way forward.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Anger management
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
It's important that you are able to test the waters with a potential counsellor so I keep fees as low as possible (£40) for our initial 50 minute consultation to get a sense of each other and to discuss your needs.
Thereafter my fees per 50 minute session are £50 - £80, influenced by time of day.
Fees are reviewed from time to time.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Weekdays 8am - 7pm
Types of client