Dr Venetia Kotaki - Chartered Counselling Psychologist, HCPC Practitioner
My name is Venetia Kotaki and I am a Doctor of Counselling Psychology. I also am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a Practitioner Psychologist registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). I have many years of experience of clinical practice in the NHS and in Private Sector organisations and I am available for face to face appointments in Clapham as well as for telephone and online counselling sessions.
I work with adults, couples and families and use a range of therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Therapies and Humanistic Therapies. I create an individualised treatment programme for each of my patients based on what they need and feel comfortable and taking into consideration what is proven to bring the fastest and most long lasting relief for their particular difficulty. I am experienced in helping people to resolve the majority of problems that cause emotional distress and discomfort including (but not limited to):
- Panic Attacks
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Relationship Problems
- Self Harm
- Sleep Problems and Disturbance
- Low Self-Esteem/Confidence
- Physical Pain
- General Life Dissatisfcation
I also offer the following services:
- Bereavement Counselling
- Marriage Counselling
- Family Counselling
- PTSD Counselling
- OCD Counselling
- Anger Management and Counselling
- Anxiety Counselling
- Depression Counselling
- Health Related Counselling
I endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 48 hours.
From a young age, I have been interested in listening to people. Understanding and relating to others is key to helping them to find a resolution to what is troubling them and to improving their lives. My studies were natural choices for me: Social Work, Psychology, Counselling and Counselling Psychology. My journey reinforced what I always knew – helping people is more than just a career for me.
Therapy for me is a safe and confidential place where people can be themselves without the fear of being judged. It is also the place where they can feel listened to, understood, supported, contained and held even during their darkest moments. Moreover, it is the place where they can reflect, identify, challenge and change the ways they think, feel, behave and treat themselves and others. With the right attitude therapy can transform people’s lives.
I am a highly experienced therapist who enjoys learning and being informed about the developments that take place in my field. My training and experience allows me to use a range of therapeutic approaches that I ensure are tailored to meet my patients’ specific needs and goals. My motto is “Where there is a problem there is also a solution”. Developing a trustworthy and robust relationship with my patients is of upmost importance as this is the foundation for therapy to succeed. I have a strong theoretical background and a substantial experience in practicing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Humanistic Therapy and Integrative Therapy. The choice of the therapeutic approach I use depends on the nature of my patients’ difficulties, the impact on their life and their goals.
My journey as a therapist involves clinical practice in NHS primary care settings where I provided psychological therapy to adults who experienced a wide range of mild to medium level of mental health problems, secondary care settings where I provided psychological therapy to adults who experienced complex, severe and enduring mental health problems, and in in-patient care settings where I worked therapeutically with acute psychiatric in-patients. I have a special interest in working with adults who experience depression, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, low self-esteem, anger management difficulties, relationship problems, work-related problems, changes and crises that occur throughout their life and bereavement.
Practising therapy is simply where my heart is. I care about my patients deeply and I endeavour to develop a warm, genuine, collaborative and strong relationship with them. The therapeutic process can either be short or long term and can at times be challenging. Therapy, however, has the power to hold people and enable them to do the work they need to move forwards.
A Little More About Me
I am moved that my patients trust me with their fears, their demons, their dreams, their hopes and their future. The responsibility I hold towards them is immense but it does not scare me. Instead, it motivates me to become better and better for them. Witnessing their change, seeing them flourishing and taking back the control for themselves and their life is my biggest reward.
I can offer treatment in either English or Greek as I am fluent in both.
Training, qualifications & experience
DPsych in Counselling Psychology
PgDip in Counselling Psychology
MSc in Counselling Psychology
MSc in Counselling Studies
BA in Psychology
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder/Manic depression
- Borderline personality disorder
- Carer support
- Dependent personality disorder
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- 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
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Behavioural therapy
- Cognitive and behavioural therapies
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive therapy
- Couples counselling
- Existential therapy
- Family/systemic therapy
- Gestalt therapy
- Group therapy
- Humanistic therapies
- Interpersonal therapy
- Other therapies
I offer everyone a Free of Charge Pre-Assessment Telephone Consultation of 20' upon request.
Self Funded Treatment
The fees below are for a 50 minute face to face or online (Face Time / Skype) counselling session.
Sessions are weekly but as you begin to resolve your problem(s) the frequency of your sessions will reduce to fortnightly and then monthly. Three and six month follow up sessions are offered if appropriate.
- Individual Therapy: £80 per session (face to face or online)
- Couples Therapy: £100 per session (face to face or online)
- Family Therapy: £130 per session (face to face only; this service is not available online)
“I first came to see Venetia after the death of my father and increasing levels of anxiety had led me to become very depressed. At that stage I felt unable to cope with day-to-day life. I had stopped working as I found it too stressful and felt that I could never do my job well enough. I was at a very low point. Working with Venetia, has helped me to return to an even keel and gain a fresh perspective on my life. The process we undertook has given me the tools to approach adversity and deal with the ups and downs that life throws up. Although ostensibly my life has not changed in any material sense, I am now able to enjoy the opportunities I have and face the adversities that come along. Venetia was a calm and supportive presence in my life enabling me to move on from a period of difficulty. Through her help, I feel confident that I have gained life- long skills that will continue to aid me in to the future”. Katherine W (Clapham, London)
“I had therapy before but anxiety kept recurring with a higher intensity every time. I was feeling despair, panic and physical exhaustion when I had my first session with Venetia. She helped me to understand my thought process and the impact it was having. She provided me with the techniques to challenge the negative thoughts and learn more helpful ways of thinking. Through our work together I have been able to bring balance and control to my life. Although negative thoughts can flare up at any time I now feel confident that I have the tools and mental strength to manage my emotions. Venetia was highly dedicated and had a genuine commitment and interest in helping me to find solutions. It was very apparent that she was doing a lot of work outside of the sessions to ensure our sessions remained personal and specifically targeted to my own ongoing treatment.” Patricia (Clapham, London)
“My husband and I came to see Venetia when we were at absolute crisis point in our marriage. We both felt committed to making it work but neither of us were at all able to see a way forward – to the point where we were unable to live together or spend very much more than an evening together without arguing. Venetia immediately helped us with practical advice, techniques and exercises to help us through that most difficult time. As we progressed we completely trusted her to develop a schedule of therapy for us as both a couple and individuals. We have found her approach very balanced and even handed – she is compassionate yet firm all in one. Without her guidance through this difficult time I struggle to see how we would have found a way through on our own – we are now back living together and looking forward to the future.” Catherine (Clapham, London)
“I came to see Venetia with anger and irritability issues stemming from behaviour I’d learnt as a child. With the CBT techniques and Venetia’s support I have been able to identify and challenge these thoughts and feelings to effectively communicate, without isolating myself. Previously, the anger was having an impact on my personal relationships, specifically with my boyfriend; now I have been able to re-connect and make new beginnings with the people who matter the most.” Jackie H (Clapham, London)
"My name is Louisa and I have been going to see Venetia for almost a year. At first I began therapy due to a crisis in my marriage. It was an extremely difficult time in my life and Venetia worked with my husband and me to identify issues which needed to be worked on and rebuild trust and communication skills which were lost (or perhaps we never had). The sessions were a combination of couple therapy and one-on-one therapy which I felt struck the right balance between couple time and 'me' time. The work that we are doing on our marriage has made a large positive impact on both our marriage and also our family overall. Venetia's techniques and practical application advice has been invaluable and her sensitivity and kindness to our situation have been consistent throughout the entire experience. After a few months, we moved onto Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for my single sessions to address personal issues which had been part of my psyche for years including stress, acute anxiety and fear. Although not completed yet, I believe that I am more in control and responsible for my own thoughts and emotions that I have ever been in my adult life. Life doesn't feel as overwhelming and my confidence in myself is growing every day. I have personally found CBT easy to understand and apply in my daily life and it helps me to make sense of my thoughts, feelings and actions.
Throughout the process I am acutely aware that part of the success of my therapy has been Venetia herself. The level of professionalism she exhibits in all aspects is extremely high and she is not afraid to be tough on me (or deliver tough messages) when I need it. Venetia shares with me practical advice that I can apply to situations or my days in general which is extremely helpful when I think I am lost or that I can't grasp a concept. At time when I am vulnerable and emotional, Venetia has been a source of support and kindness which I am truly grateful for. Although I began my therapy as a reaction to a situation, I now view it like going to the gym for my body - it is an important part of my life currently to exercise and develop my mind! I would highly recommend both CBT and Venetia." Louisa (Clapham, London)
"My wife and I went to see Venetia about a year ago after going through a very challenging time in our relationship. Our individual combined with the couple consultations helped us find back our communication skills within each other. Venetia is providing us new tools to be more confident in sharing our feelings, fears but also joys to allow us to reconnect in a positive and productive way. Seeing Venetia weekly is for me a way to recharge my "batteries" and allows me to reflect positively on the past events. This has been and still is a fantastic experience." Archie (Clapham, London)
“Working with Venetia has enabled me to gain a sense of self and to learn a set of techniques which, combined, allow me to catch and challenge unhelpful thought patterns about myself and my ability to cope with life. Previously, I was just in for the ride; sometimes washing up in a happy place and others in an angstful one without ever really knowing why. I now feel less stress and frustration and I have more confidence in myself and ability to deal with both the small and big challenges I encounter in my life.
Having previously tried therapy with mixed results, I was sceptical about being ‘just another number’ and felt uneasy about sharing my most personal thoughts. My misgivings were quickly put to rest by Venetia's humility, understanding and all round sense of care. Also, I liked the structured, logical approach of learning CBT and session format. Both followed patterns and I appreciated the predictability of the learning process. It felt as much like study as it did therapy. If I was feeling particularly high levels of stress and unable to focus on the CBT work, Venetia would pick up on this and we would have a less structured session - sometimes just talking through events, when necessary these sessions were a great help also. From this therapy - I wanted a ‘tool kit’ that I could use for years to come to stop anxious thoughts getting the upper hand. I very much think I have gained that from working with Venetia.” Michael (Clapham, London)
"Before engaging with therapy I was dealing with longstanding issues concerning the realities of maintaining relationships. I struggled to connect and communicate with family members. I found myself making poor choices with regards to choosing partners and I was unable to tend to the relationship thereafter. Therapy with Venetia has benefited me greatly. I was assured from the very beginning by her intelligence and warm nature and it was soon clear that I was working with a highly skilled practitioner. The results felt palpable as we continued through the sessions and my natural scepticism reseeded as I felt the work was always handled with integrity and that my personal development was held paramount. It was obvious to me that Venetia cares greatly about her work and that she takes great pride in helping her clients move forward towards a better understanding of themselves." Mark (Clapham, London)
"I first visited Venetia following a sudden illness, when she supported me to find helpful and practical ways to cope with my recovery. A big insight for me was learning that we often do cope with life’s ups and downs, but can be so caught up in the emotions of the moment that we don’t always see it that way. By teaching me to break problems down and look at them more realistically, Venetia has helped me to get things in perspective, and face problems and anxieties with greater emotional resilience for the future". Richard (Clapham, London)
"I started seeing Venetia after several years of trying in vain to deal with a serious substance abuse problem. I had been to rehab, twice, and tried repeatedly to engage with 12-step programmes. Nothing was providing anything other than brief respite, and I hadn't got close to addressing the root cause of my problems. I was trapped in an endless cycle of relapsing which, after several years, had cost me my job, my marriage and was threatening to destroy everything. I was in a self-defeating vicious circle, about which I no longer had any objectivity. I had reached a point where I was utterly at a loss to understand certain key aspects of my behaviour and thought processes. It was appalling and hopeless in equal measure.
A major impediment to my making any progress had been my own arrogance, and misplaced - but ironclad - belief that no one could possibly understand or relate to the workings of my mind such that they could help me solve my problems. I was also convinced that relapses were impossible to avoid, because by the time the threat of it happening had become apparent, it was already too late: it had become an inevitability. These two misapprehensions, and the undeniable cycle of behaviour, meant I was convinced I was a lost cause, and that I was beyond help. I also feared what I might become, given a total reboot seemed to be required.
Things changed quite quickly once I started seeing Venetia. Despite not being a 'specialist' in my particular substance abuse problem, she was able to break the situation down into components I could relate to, and challenge my beliefs about what was happening and why. Crucially, she gave me an ability to take half-a-step outside my own thought processes, just enough at first to give me a degree of objectivity/criticality about what was happening in my mind. I started to gain a much better understanding around cognitive cause and effect. It was like having a second opinion - which was my own, and therefore credible - which gave me the ability to interrupt the old thought processes which inevitably lead to relapse. This tool - an extra level of self-analysis that was somehow not self-defeating, and the attendant ability to interrupt my old thought processes - was key. I relapsed once more after starting to see Venetia, and never again.
From there, I could start to see that I had passed a nadir, and was on a positive trajectory. The benefits started to accrue quite quickly, and it became a virtuous circle.
I actively enjoyed our sessions, they appealed to my (inflated) sense of intellect, and I enjoyed learning about how my head works. It was thought provoking and fascinating. Venetia is a great listener, is extraordinarily perceptive, and I felt from the outset that she 'got' me. I'm sure this was partly down to my becoming more open and receptive to a process that was 'working', but she guided this process deftly and quickly. She also pushed back on me whenever I was straying into old misconceptions, which she could spot easily.
Our sessions were a good mix of CBT work - identifying cognitive distortions, core beliefs, etc - and more free-form psychoanalytical stuff. I invariably left feeling lighter, mentally freer, illuminated, and in a better mood. I became much more self-aware, much less a horrified observer of my own existence, much more present. I gained the ability to let go of things (which I never had before), and to not see life as a never ending sequence of life/death binary outcomes. Old habits do die hard after 35 years of conditioning, but Venetia was able to gradually challenge and shift my worldview.
Much of what I had lost, and feared I would lose, was recovered or maintained. My interpersonal relationships - with my family, my kids, my partner, my ex-wife - have improved beyond all recognition. My career is back on track. And I have been sober for nearly four years. Much of this I owe to Venetia. I am still guilty of focusing on the single B+ rather than the 10 As, and tend to focus on future problems rather than past successes. But having achieved quite a lot in my my life, then very nearly destroying it all, my greatest achievement is almost certainly overcoming my alcoholic behaviour, and I could never have done it without Venetia. She showed me how to do it, and for that I will be forever grateful". Steve (Clapham, London)
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
|Other languages:||Counselling available in Greek too|
Appointments available throughout the week, both daytime and evenings including Saturdays. Please e-mail me to confirm my latest availability. Thank you.
Types of client