Sophie Waterhouse MA MBACP (Accred)
I am a humanistic psychotherapist accredited with BACP. I have worked in private practice since 2008 with individuals, couples and groups, adults and teens. I practise in Hastings, East Sussex and Islington, north London. I have an additional training in expressive arts therapy and a special interest in the roles of creativity and contact with nature in mental health.
I became a psychotherapist because of my own positive experience with therapy. I know what a struggle life can feel. I also know that it is possible to overcome our inner dragons and heal our wounds. The kind of self-reflection therapy facilitates opens up the possibility of developing much greater awareness, resilience and agency. When we're not struggling so much with ourselves, others and life there is a lot more room for joy.
What happens in sessions?
Therapy is a conversation in which you have the opportunity to be deeply listened to in a way that is different to talking with friends and family. Sometimes we feel we have to edit ourselves with loved ones because we don't want them to worry about us or we worry they won't understand or might disapprove. Loved ones also sometimes jump in with suggestions for how to 'fix' something when really we need the space and focused support to talk it through and find our own solutions.
The main theoretical frame of reference I draw on is gestalt, which means the focus of sessions is on the here and now and what is working or not working for you right now. What is happening in the present may well be influenced by the past, and where that is the case we will look at that residue, how it is affecting you and whether there is unfinished business to resolve or self-defeating patterns and conditioning to move beyond.
I also pay attention to how emotions are embodied. Your mind does not exist in isolation from your body, they are interconnected. How you think and feel affects how you are physically and vice versa. Gestalt and formative psychology and my training in expressive arts all inform my work with the body-mind connection. In the past fifteen years neuroscience has begun to explain what it is precisely in these approaches that has a positive impact, helping where needed to rewire the brain and build neural pathways that counteract the negative impacts of trauma, neglect and abuse.
One of the central questions we face as humans is how to be in relationship with others while also being true to ourselves. It is this dilemma between the need for intimacy and the need for autonomy that couples therapy fundamentally addresses.
Difficulties can arise through poor communication and through differences in expectations of what a relationship means and entails. Challenges can also arise simply through the fact of difference - we are not all the same and differences in how we operate and move through the world (literally sometimes the different speeds at which we do things) can create conflict that needs to be addressed and managed.
Couples therapy is an opportunity to take a closer look at what you each bring to the relationship, what you create together and what you would like for the relationship. People often think you should only resort to couples therapy if you have hit a rocky patch, but reflecting on your relationship is something that can be highly constructive and rewarding at any time and can serve to strengthen and deepen a relationship.
I have a specialist training in the therapeutic use of the arts and if you are interested in including some arts work in sessions this is something we can discuss and incorporate. I am passionate about creativity and how creative work and play support mental health and personal development.
My Masters training at the California Institute of Integral Studies also included exploration of transpersonal psychology - the area where psychology and spirituality intersect. This area has been and remains an important part of my own journey and I have studied with a number of teachers in the field of nondual consciousness (another area in which neuroscience is making interesting connections).
Ecopsychology explores the role of contact with nature in mental health. I have studied shamanic journeying for more than a decade and teach a shamanic journeying course every other year. Journeying can deepen our sense of connection with the natural world and combines elements of both transpersonal and ecopsychology.
I was born and grew up in London. I studied philosophy and history for my bachelors, focusing on French and African history. I then trained in film production before moving to live in Greece for several years and then in America. I returned to the UK in 2006 and now live in Hastings. Before becoming a psychotherapist, I worked in film. Creativity has long been an important part of my life. My current creative involvements mainly revolve around psychotherapy, writing fiction and poetry, experimenting with visual arts and cooking.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am British but trained in the United States. I have a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. CIIS is an accredited institute and its psychology training programmes fulfil the rigorous academic requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and state licensing laws for psychotherapy. I completed my clinical practicum at Berkeley Creative Living Center, a drop-in day care centre for chronically mentally ill clients in Berkeley, California.
Since 2007 I have continued my training, supervision and personal work with Spectrum Therapy, a humanistic psychotherapy centre in north London where I was a practitioner from 2013 to 2020. I also engage in CPD connected to expressive arts, neuroscience (including Polyvagal Theory) and transpersonal psychology with CIIS and other organizations and resources.
I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and on the BACP Register. I am bound by the codes of ethics of BACP and Spectrum. I am also a professional member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.
Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.
All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Expressive Arts Therapy
Concessions offered for
Individual sessions are £75 per 50 minute session.
Couples sessions are £85 per 60 minute session.
Individual sessions are £55 per 50 minute session.
Couples sessions are £70 per 60 minute session.
Evening and daytime appointments available.
If you would like to book a first session, please call me on 07877 453477 or send me a message as above.