Sonia Guinnessy, MA, PGDip, BABCP accred Psychotherapist: Individuals & Couples
An experienced NHS Psychotherapist, I also have a private practice and offer Psychotherapy with a free initial consultation. My approach is compassionate, practical and based on research evidence. I offer a non-judgemental, safe space to talk through issues, with practical tools to help you cope and feel better.
The heart of my work is the understanding that anyone can suffer from anxiety, depression, stress or low self-esteem as a result of their life history and/or present circumstances. It is part of being human. Over ten years of working as a therapist has shown me that Psychotherapy can help.
Originally working as a Dramatherapist, I later trained with the NHS as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (CBT). In addition, I have an interest in Mindfulness, and additional training in Transactional Analysis (TA) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), all of which I use in my work when appropriate. As an experienced Psychotherapist and teacher, I have trained Counsellors, Psychotherapists, GPs, Social Workers and Psychotherapy trainees in CBT, Dramatherapy and on working with specific conditions, such as Health Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
If you have experienced any form of childhood difficulty, abuse or neglect, or have had abusive or dysfunctional relationships as an adult, I have specialist knowledge and skills in working with PTSD, complex trauma and the impact of abuse. I worked in a Women's Refuge as a Children's Worker for six years and I currently train NHS staff on how to be aware and respond to abuse.
I offer the pragmatic ideas of CBT, Mindfulness, TA and ACT, alongside the use of imagery, dreams and creative methods of Dramatherapy, depending on your needs. By combining these approaches, you can gain a greater understanding of yourself and your circumstances, change your behaviour and thinking, and achieve a more fulfilled life.
It is important that therapy is something we work on together, so I will share and check-out my understanding with you throughout your therapy. I will share ideas, theories and diagrams with you and I often 'map out' or sketch diagrams as we talk, to help us both get clear about what is going on. By first getting a detailed understanding of the problem you want help with, I use my skills to help you target changes where they will be most effective. We will also agree therapy goals, and will regularly review our progress, to make sure we are focusing our work on what is most important to you.
Because I have a very clear understanding of the theory behind my work, and a powerful set of techniques that I am adept at using, I specialise in short-term work that can deliver deep, powerful and lasting change.
If you would like to find out more, you can contact me to arrange your free consultation.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am accredited by the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists (BABCP).
I have a high standard of Continuing Professional Development.
I regularly attend CBT Masterclasses at the University of Sussex with leading CBT Psychotherapists such as David Trickey, Dr Nick Grey, David Veale, Dr Kate Davidson and Dr Michelle Cree among others. This year I have also trained with leading ACT trainer, Dr David Gillanders.
June 2011 Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy from the University of Brighton
June 2006 Masters (MA) in Dramatherapy from the University of Exeter
2009 Transactional Analysis TA101 training course at Wealdon College
2002 Certificates in Counselling studies and Counselling Skills from Strode College
After completing my counselling certificates, I began my training as a Dramatherapist in 2003. As part of this Masters qualification, I ran group and individual Dramatherapy sessions, as well as having individual and group personal therapy. After I qualified I worked as a freelance Creative Arts Therapist for a Residential Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre, an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), and various other organisations and clients.
Since April 2010 I have worked for an NHS Adult Mental Health Service, treating people with Depression, Low Self Esteem, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Attacks, Stress, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Complex Trauma as a result of childhood or adult abuse and neglect.
In addition, I worked for 6 years as a Children's Worker in a Women's Refuge offering family support, and therapeutic play sessions to children aged from 0-12 years. I am a trained Freedom Programme facilitator and have a thorough understanding of Domestic Abuse and its impact on adults and children. I now train NHS staff on how to be aware of, and respond to, abuse.
I have regular Supervision on all my work and adhere to the code of ethics of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Attachment disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- Panic disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Physical abuse
Other areas of counselling I deal with
trauma-focused CBT (tCBT)
Compassion Focused Therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Behavioural therapy
- Cognitive and behavioural therapies
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
I offer a free, 30 minute initial consultation.
I charge £50 a session for individuals and £75 a session for couples.
Sessions are 50 minutes long.
I am currently available on Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons.
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT) is a highly effective form of therapy.
Cognitive means 'mind', so we will look at how you think about things. This includes not just 'internal-commentary' type thoughts, but also images that may go through your mind, underlying beliefs and 'automatic' or habitual thinking, which you may not be currently aware of.
The Behavioural aspects of CBT looks at what you do (or don't do) in relation to the problem you want to work on. Changing your behaviour can be a quick and powerful way to change how you feel.
You will be invited to test different ways of thinking and behaving, to see if they work for you. We will work at your pace and you will always be in charge of your own process.
CBT pays close attention to emotions and feelings, and we will always use them as a guide. In addition, both your past history and current circumstances will be explored, so that you can put problems into perspective. Because I have a Masters level degree in CBT, and a very high standard of Continuing Professional Development, I am able to use CBT effectively with people who have complex problems, a history of abuse or neglect and traumatic or dysfunctional family backgrounds
Dramatherapy is a powerful therapy that can quickly uncover core issues.
In Dramatherapy, we can use any of the creative arts to help you process your thoughts and feelings, and gain a greater insight. It can help you to explore aspects of your personality, open up new ways of being and improve your confidence.
We can explore your dreams, images and experience through art, sound, movement or sand tray work, if desired. The advantage of this creative way of working is to tap into your subconscious and open up communication with non-verbal parts of yourself and your issues.
You do not have to be 'arty' or 'dramatic' to benefit from this psychotherapeutic approach. In my one-to-one therapy, I tend to work with images or dreams, symbolic objects and visualisations rather than role play. For example, if someone was feeling stuck with a particular situation or problem, I would invite them to close their eyes and see if an image came up that represented the situation. We would then explore the image and see if there was a possibility of change within it. I might invite them to be open to a Helper appearing in the image, and see if the Helper has any gifts or suggestions. In my experience, this type of visualisation can bring unexpected answers and insights. It can also be used as a way of charting progress over time: someone might start therapy with an image of being stuck down a deep, dark well. By the end of therapy they might be above ground, looking to the horizon.
Although they might appear very different, CBT and Dramatherapy work very well together. In recent years, CBT researchers have been increasingly interested in the effectiveness of working with images and visualisations to effect profound and lasting benefits, creating a cross-over in these two types of therapy.
In my experience, CBT provides a clear framework for change and Dramatherapy enables us to work at a deep level. Used together they can help to transform your life.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I currently have availabllity on Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons. Free Parking
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|