Silvia Baba Neal
Fred Bulmer Centre
Leominster Natural Health Centre
I am a fully qualified psychotherapist a with a special interest in research and neuroscience.
I specialise in working with anxiety disorders (panic attacks, generalised anxiety, avoidant and compulsive behaviour, social and performance anxiety). My style of working is highly interactive and here-and-now focused (relational). I seek to engage with my clients fully in a two-way dialogue about how the quality of our relatedness informs us and shapes our sense of self and our perceptions of others.
Over the years I have worked with people of all ages and from all walks of life and backgrounds: students, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs, musicians, builders, pensioners.
*I run a special clinic for men, conducting gender-sensitive psychotherapy, focusing on body image issues, social withdrawal and anxiety*
Anxiety is a complex, fascinating body/mind state and I am passionate about using all my resources and knowledge to create a tailor-made experience for each client. It is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms located in the body:
- racing pulse, sweatiness, dizziness, nausea, restlessness, tension, headaches, indigestion, muscular pain, irritable bowel
- You may be feeling numb, ashamed, out of control, unable to stop worrying. You may believe you are fundamentally "wrong" and no one can love youn and perhaps thinking that you are better off dead.
Anxiety has common biological, psychological, epigenetic and social aspects, but each person's experience is unique.
The biological aspect of anxiety includes key brain centres such as the amygdala and the hipothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which regulates the stress hormone cortisol. Fear is a crucial emotion which ensures our survival by sharpening our senses and directing all available resources towards escape. The bad news is that the emotional brain can also be activated by "dangers" which are not life-threatening but rather more symbolic in nature.
Another part of the puzzle is epi-genetics - how our genes are switched on or off by our experience/environment. Trauma has a lasting impact on the brain and inhibits our capacity to down-regulate the stress-response. We also know from research that those who experience themselves as being at the bottom of the social and economical hierarchy and have less control over their environment experience higher levels of anxiety and a higher level of illness associated with stress (this is controlling for lifestyle factors such as how much someone smokes, drinks, etc).
More broadly, culture is a subtle but penetrating influence. Cultural norms dictate what it means to be "a man", which attributes and skills are desirable and which ones need to be inhibited. Men feel pressured into presenting themselves as competent, strong and self-sufficient and feel shame about being seen as vulnerable or not functioning well. As result they develop a "false self" or a performing self to meet the demands of the world around them, whilst feeling cut off and empty inside.
Cultural norms also dictate the most acceptable ways of expressing psychological suffering. Many men feel there is an unspoken injunction against speaking about their own fears and vulnerability. They are more likely to be cared for if their vulnerability is manifested as physical symptoms.
You may have developed your own ways with coping, some of which really help and others which make you feel ashamed and empty and attract criticism from others including
- putting on a brave face, a "happy" mask
- secretly doing things which go against your values and if found out you would feel embarrassed and shamed
- lashing out when it feels "safe" to do so
- hating parts of your body
When it comes to psychotherapy as a treatment for anxiety, the facts are friendy. Research shows that in the context of a strong working alliance between client and therapist, symptoms of anxiety are alleviated.
I integrate neuroscience findings, attachment theory, transactional analysis, psychoanalytic concepts and cognitive-behavioural interventions.
Times and locations
Fred Bulmer Centre (by appointment)
Community Centre - Natural Health Centre entrance (by appointment)
Skype (for clients who live too far away) by appointment
Training, qualifications & experience
I have a Master of Science degree with Distinction in Psychotherapy
I am a Certified Relational Transactional Analyst with Psychotherapy speciality;
I am also a certified assessor and trained to use psychological questionnaires.
I am a psychotherapist, researcher, supervisor, writer and public speaker in the field of mental health and psychotherapy. I am passionate about reflective and evidence-based practice, furthering and developing knowledge in the field.
I have been working with clients since 2006, in a variety of settings (NHS, voluntary sector, private):
- Private practice (since 2010) - Psychotherapist/Researcher/Supervisor
- Sutton and Merton IAPT (NHS) - Honorary Group Psychotherapist/Researcher
- Metanoia Counselling and Psychotherapy Clinic - Assessor
- Ealing Abbey Counselling Centre - Psychotherapist
- Surrey Docks Health Centre (NHS) - Counsellor/Researcher
- Greenford Medical Centre (NHS) - Psychotherapist/Researcher
- Copleston Centre - Mental Health Project - Mentor
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Dependent personality disorder
- Eating disorders
- Family issues
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- Panic disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
Weekly counselling or psychotherapy: £50 for a fifty minute session.
Fees increase anually
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Face-to-face 10-3pm, By appointment
Types of client
Supervision & training
I offer face-to-face, telephone and Skype supervision. Sessions are £60 for fifty minutes or £80 for ninety minutes.View supervision profile