Peter De Santis, M.A., Registered MBACP (Accred)
147 Commercial Street
104 High Road
0775 126 5046
I am an accredited psychotherapist and counsellor working in specialised counselling/therapy rooms in Shoreditch and Finchley. People come to me for counselling for many different reasons, such as:
- anxiety and stress
- relationship issues
- loss or bereavement
- low self-esteem or low self-confidence
- family issues
- or feeling lost and lacking general meaning or direction in life.
I aim to provide a secure, open and trusting environment so that through self-understanding you are able to discover ways of supporting yourself.
My client base has been varied and ranged all the way from adolescents to people in late adulthood, and my clients often describe me as warm and attentive.
My main therapeutic approach can be described fairly simply: I aim to be present and interactive with you throughout each session, discovering how you view yourself in relation to others and the difficulties you want to understand or resolve. I will also be reflecting back what I have observed and heard so that you also will discover some important things about yourself, enabling and empowering you to see things from different perspectives, and opening up opportunities to make more informed decisions.
I may also use a number of different therapeutic ideas or approaches, from Person-Centred, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness or Solution-Focused therapies.
Other relevant information
Every individual processes things at different speeds, and so the work we do will accommodate the pace in which you feel most comfortable. Moreover, while much of the work occurs in the counselling room, the majority of personal work can be done in-between sessions. I offer both short and long-term limited work, and we will discuss how appropriate whatever option would be best for you.
The past can be a major source for understanding why you may feel the way you do, or why you’re currently experiencing a difficult situation, and this is an area that I am open to explore. However, it is important to consider working with how you are in the present, as it is only in the present that any change or clarity might occur.
As a practitioner I am offering to share my time, knowledge and experience with you so that we can work through things together in ways that may be challenging but also life-changing.
Some background information
After completing a Fine Art degree and working in a career as an artist/designer many years ago, I became a little dissatisfied. I have always been curious about the big questions in life and the complex nature of people's mental and social lives. This was enough motivation for me to try my hand at something different, and I feel very lucky to be able to practice something I feel passionate and curious about, not to mention the fact that it is a great privlege to be invited into people's personal lives with the aim of supporting them.
Training, qualifications & experience
My training was in existential psychotherapy and counselling, where I obtained a Masters (M.A.) from the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC). I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (MBACP (Accred)). I have completed two short-courses in CBT which is approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS), and I've taken training workshops in Mindfulness.
I have worked in various settings, ranging from a counselling centre, a prison, a few drug and alcohol centres, and at a secondary school.
Over a decade ago I completed a degree in Fine Art; and where I (or we) believe it may be useful I am also open to being creative in sessions; if drawing or writing is a way that you feel able to express yourself then this is definitely encouraged.
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
I charge £60 per 50 minute session.
Below is some information about the therapeutic approaches I may use. Please note that I integrate aspects of different methods and ideas flexibly and fluidly, rather than just employing one main approach to deal with whatever difficulties clients bring. My general approach is to work moment-by-moment, sessions-by-session with clients, so as to personalise the experience to their needs as much as is possible in order to be helpful and for therapy to be effective.
Existential therapy is based upon existentialism, a philosophical movement that centres on the themes of individualism, self-awareness and autonomy. The core principles of existential philosophy and existential therapy arise out of the idea that at times life can be difficult, confusing, overwhelming and full of uncertainty, but that by discovering a clearer sense of who we are and how we relate with ourselves and others, we can more courageously face these challenges. As an existential therapist I will attempt to work closely with client’s present-experience so that clients can develop a stronger sense of themselves, and thus enabling them to take more ownership of their lives.
Solution-focused therapy attempts to shift attention from focusing on problems to focusing on solutions. The more one spends thinking about problems (that either don’t change or become amplified) the more stuck in their problems people feel. By changing your focus in a positive way towards solutions, you can begin to realise the hidden potential you have in approaching problems in general. In therapy, I will encourage you to spend time talking about solutions in an attempt to help you acquire new abilities in managing your difficulties. These new abilities can be used to channel your energy into more constructive, personalised, and practical ways of changing your situation.
Mindfulness is a method that has been growing rapidly over the last few decades. Being mindful is about observing, noticing or being aware of your moment-to-moment experiences. For example, you might notice the sensation that your feet have against the floor as you read this, or the way in which you're drawing breath. Mindfulness allows you to just notice these sensations or observations without engaging them analytically or reflectively. The general idea is that by not engaging you can realise that experience and sensation are transitory processes, that is, things change all the time; and by not engaging analytically with your experiences you can liberate yourself from the habitual thinking and feeling that occupies your life. This opens up a wider world for you to experience and explore as you notice many things that you may usually take for granted, and find some added relaxing peace in your life.
This is a very popular kind of therapy that is typically defined by three major principles: (1) empathy, in which the therapist attempts to understand a client’s perspectives from the client’s point of view; (2) unconditional positive regard, relating to a client in a consistent, non-judgemental way; and (3) congruence, in which the therapist is genuine and transparent in how they relate and react to whatever the client brings. A person-centred counsellor offers clients a path to discover their own sense of themselves, enabling them to develop capacities for further growth.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
This method generally relies on the idea that how we think about things influences how we feel and behave. In therapy, the aim of both client and therapist would then be to learn about one's thinking patterns, and to discover alternative ways of thinking to make effective and helpful changes to one's emotional and behavioural responses in their lives. I only tend to loosely adopt some CBT ideas and techniques, which may include some homework tasks or drawing connections between patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in sessions.
What's the difference between psychotherapy and counselling?
Traditionally, counselling offers short-term work and focuses upon present problems, whereas psychotherapy offers more open-ended work, which therefore allows both for a “deeper” and broader exploration into any issues that may need more time and focus to work through. However, many features of both psychotherapy and counselling overlap and so I do not tend to make wide distinctions between them.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons and evenings. I currently have some free slots on Sunday mornings between 9am and 12pm at the East Finchley location.
Types of client