Richard Leah BA(hons) MBACP Accredited
01 296 658 377
I have been involved with psychotherapy and human growth for forty years. I have worked alongside people whilst in mental health, social work, education and the commercial world.
As a young man I set out to experience as much of life as I could - from working on building sites to nursing, from working with the homeless on the streets of London to working as a decorator in Amsterdam. I've been a bus conductor and a manager in a major software company.Then I moved into teaching, social work and psychotherapy.
I also embarked on my own personal therapy -a basic requirement before one can help other people on their journey. ( Therapists are not people without problems; the good ones just know what their problems are and have worked out how to be with them, to avoid being controlled by them.)
But one never finishes the journey - the learning; although much older and wiser I still see myself as a fellow traveller. I can't tell you which path to tread - only you can do that - but I can be alongside you when you come to the rough bits.
Over the last few years therapy/counselling has often been presented as you being fixed by an expert in your 'problem' -as if you were attending a dentist. Its not like that of course.
You are the only one who has experienced the problem so I focus on working with you to help you clarify what the problem is. Then, you may shift to how to resolve it; at that point I am again listening hard - listening to where you want to go; you are the only one who can know what is most appropriate for you -so we will then be exploring those possibilities - from your point of view. And of course, finally, the decision about what to do will come from you - when you are clear and when you are ready.
I offer a safe space for you to explore your issues, your self and the possible ways forward. Your issues may be deeply worrying - or even terrifying - to you, but I can be there alongside you - without fear, without judgement and with compassion.
I don't claim to be able to fix hundreds of categories of 'problems' -because those are just labels. I know what the labels are - but I work with you, a human being - not with a label; the label is just what shows on the surface - like a bruise; the label can be a handy shorthand but whatever is behind the label is unique to you; your bereavement or fear or confusion is unique to you - so there can be no preset formula to 'fix' it. I listen to you whilst you explore your own feelings and experiences. Out of that exploring you will find a different way of seeing the issues and from that a newly visible pathway ahead. My job is to support you whilst you explore and uncover -and then to consider where to go next.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have worked as a therapist in my own private practise, for the NHS, social services, the police, the fire service and in further education. Part of that work has been running therapeutic groups, anxiety management groups and teaching yoga.
I have experience and am qualified as a social worker.
I have worked in education teaching liberal studies and sexual relationships.
I have also worked in the commercial world -including engineering and software.
Part of my relevant experience is that of having lived my life -as fully as possible. (see the summary of work/life experience above) I have had times of great happiness but also times of great sorrow and pain. All that comes together to help create the person I am, the counsellor and therapist that you will encounter on meeting me.
Diploma in Counselling; Middlesex University at Harrow College; 2001
Certificate in Group Facilitation: Norwich Centre with Professor Brian Thorne: 2003
Certificate in Brief Counselling: Psychology Matters with Dagmar Edwards: 2005
Year 1 of Institute of Group Analysis: Bedford: 2005 ( not an approach I warmed to)
Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic Supervision: Warwick University: 2007
Accredited (MBACP) with BACP
UKRC Registered Independent Counsellor
Diploma in Social Work: CCETSW: Oxford Brookes University 1996
BA (Hons) Humanities: 1975
My personal experience - which I regard as an essential precursor to training to be a therapist - includes 250 hours of my own personal therapy and 1,000 hours as a participant in group therapy.
As a one to one therapist I have seen about 200 clients, providing about 2500 hours of therapy.
As a group therapist I have facilitated ongoing groups over a five year period
As a trainer I have taught counselling - and this has been very valuable experience -because I have been asked so many searching questions -to which I had to find the answer within me and within the knowledge base of counselling
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
I am willing and able to be with the client whilst they explore and confront any problem they have.
I do not subscribe to the idea of specialising in the removal of symptoms - I'm not a dentist!
The labels attached to behaviour are often the symptom of - the reaction to - a deeper problem; I support the client in facing both the symptom and the possibility of a deeper problem.
Having said that if something comes to the surface that I feel you would be better seeking help elsewhere - whether in our first meeting or way down the line - I will say so and help you find alternative support.
The Engineering Stuff
- And, having said that, whilst on our exploring it may become clear that something like anxiety is interfering with your ability to control your own life; I'm quite happy to set up camp and look at - for instance - how you might avoid or reduce your anxiety by simple mechanical skills - like breathing, body posture etc
some people are clear about what the issue is and just want to focus on that. For others there is maybe a general feeling of life not feeling ok, not as they hoped; maybe nothing they can quite put their figure on - or conversely a heavy weight they carry around. It could be that you want to look at the meaning of life - of your life. It may feel as if you want to take a look at where you are going.
Any of this could mean you are interested in personal development; in growing personally, in becoming the best that you can be - not the best that someone else can be or that someone else wants for you. Its an exploration. Its going off the beaten track perhaps - perhaps at times there won't even be a track visible. And there are no maps, no rules.
It is a journey - with highs and lows.
I have done my share of exploring for myself and am able to be there for you whilst you explore for yourself.
I charge £40 for a one hour session. (I don't do that 50 minute thing - and I don't rush you out of the door)
Some clients find longer sessions more productive and I am happy to discuss that at any time.
I have ticked only a few of the hundreds of labels offered by the web site as issues that I deal with.
As I have written above I prefer to see people as people - not as a symptom to be fixed.
For me the focus is that you are a human being experiencing difficulties; to me that is a starting point -not a diagnosis.
My experience is that for many people the issue which is on the surface often leads to something else - so I do not want to pre - judge the situation by focusing my attention on that presenting issue. My attention will be on you and what you are saying and feeling. Where that takes you I am happy to go. I trust this will allow any other issues to come to the surface as and when you feel comfortable to bring them.
The importance of the relationship in counselling leads me to suggest that you regard our first session as an exploratory one where you decide if you feel comfortable working with me
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I am available most days. Please feel free to phone me; if I am not available at that moment leave a message or go to my e mail and I will get back to you.
Types of client