Sonia Guinnessy MA PGDip (hcpc) BABCP ACCREDITED

Sonia Guinnessy MA PGDip (hcpc) BABCP ACCREDITED

East Sussex

07446 888871

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East Sussex

07446 888871

About me

An 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. 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 Transactional Analysis (TA), which I also use in my work.

I offer the pragmatic ideas of CBT, Mindfulness and TA, 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, including theories and diagrams which I think might be relevant. At the end of therapy, my goal is for you to have a greater understanding of the issues you want to work on, new strategies to deal with them, and a personal therapy record to help you succeed in the future.

If you would like to find our more, you can contact me to arrange your free consultation.

Training, qualifications & experience

I am accredited by the BABCP British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists

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 weekend 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, Borderline Personality Disorder and Stress.

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 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).

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited



I offer a free, 30 minute initial consultation.

I charge £50 a session.

Sessions are 50 minutes long.

I am available on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Further information

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.

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 imagine 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.

Working Together

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.

Maps & Directions

Lewes, BN7

Type of session

Online counselling: Yes
Telephone counselling: Yes
Face to face counselling: Yes

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


Friday and Saturday afternoons

Types of client

Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme
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