A Space To Heal
01509 557292 / 07757 706426
Welcome to A Space To Heal
In this busy, sometimes bewildering, often stressful world, where life can so frequently just seem to take over, and where unexpected happenings can knock us off course to the point where we just want it all to stop, take some time out, breathe more slowly, find time to think and a way to get ourselves back on track, we'd like to offer you some space.
We live life at such frantic speed most of the time, we eat on the go, we text rather than phone because it's quicker, things often feel chaotic and hurried and like there's no time. We're often hazily aware that we're not really thinking things through, that we're just reacting to life and to others rather than reflecting and responding. We're functioning, but it's hard to enjoy our life or the people in it much of the time.
And that's on a good day. When things are going reasonably well, and we're getting by.
Add into the mix something extra - it could be something sudden and unexpected, like illness or a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or redundancy; or it could be something that we've been putting out of our mind for a very long time, maybe something that happened when we were younger that hurt or shamed us. We've been trying to ignore it but suddenly it won't go away any longer.
Or it could be an old wound or hurt that happened a long time ago. Maybe something that's just happened has brought the memory back up to the surface, and we know we need to deal with it, but don't know how or where to begin. Like the death of a parent, or being bullied, feeling stupid at school, or isolated or lonely.
It could be something current, like finding out we are ill, or something happening that turns our world upside down. It can be something frightening, or unbearably sad, or a loss or change we just can't see our way to getting over. Or through.
Sometimes it can be something that's difficult to put into words, or to find a reason for, like a general feeling of unhappiness. Of knowing deep down that all is not well and that we've just been trying to put on a brave face, but really pretending for a very long time. Sometimes for a whole lifetime, to ourselves as well as to other people.
We long for space to think things through, sort them out. To find a better way. But there never is any such space to be found. Other people make demands on us, expect lots from us, or are genuinely dependent on us.
We end up feeling guilty, and stretched. We can feel resentful and defeated and powerless to change anything. Yet we long for things to change, often telling ourselves that things will be better 'one day' if we can just keep going for a while longer.
Does life feel like it's getting on top of you a bit like this?
Could you benefit from a place to take some time-out?
... to explore your thoughts and feelings
... to get back on a front foot again
... to work it out in such a way that you don't look back?
Except to say, 'Look how far I've come, and where I am now! I didn't think I had it in me! I didnt think I could ever find myself here. I'm so proud I did it!'
We'd like to offer you exactly this kind of space.
"I had known for a good year that things weren't right. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't thinking clearly, I had withdrawn from everyone, I felt overwhelmed and stressed all the time. Friends would ask me if I was okay and I would just brush them off by saying I was just tired or had a lot on at work. But really, I knew I was really unhappy. I was fighting back tears a lot of the time, and couldn't see anything good about my life or my future.
Then one night I broke down to a friend, and was amazed when he told me he'd seen a therapist a couple of years ago and that he'd encourage me to go and talk. He gave me A Space To Heal's business card, and urged me to make an appointment. He said he could recommend them highly, and that a number of people he knew had been there over the years to see Janice or Nicky, and that he'd highly recommend both of them. It really surprised me that I wasn't the only one.
I kept it in my wallet for another 4 months or so, because every now and then things would feel better for a little while and so I would convince myself that I didn't need to go.
But one Sunday evening, late, I went onto their website and sent a message. I still played down how bad things really were, and said I was a bit stressed and needed a few techniques to help me manage it. I knew it was much worse than that, but I felt embarrassed to say it like it really was.
We set up an appointment, and I felt both relieved and scared at the same time.I nearly backed out when I turned into the road as well. I nearly turned the car around and drove off. But I'm so glad I didn't. I'm so glad I knocked on the door.
That night was the turning point. The relief of talking to someone who made it easy to talk and who just seemed to get it was unimaginable. Gradually and very gently Janice helped me to say the things I'd been bottling up. And she had a way of drawing all the different threads together in a way that started to make sense of it all. She picked up everything, and seemed to hold it all and then give it back to me so I could start to hear what I was really saying, and so everything started to feel more manageable.
And it wasn't just stuff about now. And it wasn't that I talked and she just listened. It was a lively two-way conversation, not like some people I'd heard describe where they'd been asked to fill out tick boxes, or where they'd been talking to someone who didn't seem to say much back. She said lots back, and gave shape and meaning to what I said. Stuff now and stuff from the past. And it all linked up, it all started to make sense.
I realised that who we are is the story of what we've known, and therefore of what we've come to expect and believe. And I came to see that who I was now was all about who I'd been, what I'd lived, what I'd known and the sense I'd made of those things. It had never occurred to me that other people in the world might see those things differently, or might not react the way I did. Janice referred to it as the way we 'cut and paste' our own experiences onto everything we come into contact with. I came to see that I would react to certain people in exactly the ways I might once have reacted to other significant people in my life. Like I was replaying the same old stories over and over again without knowing I was doing it.
I learned that feelings and thoughts were different things, and I discovered how the mind affects the body and vice versa. I realised that memory is really powerful, and that sometimes I felt like an adult, but lots of the time I felt like a child. She helped me to see that this was when old memories took over, and showed me how to get back into an adult place and feel empowered again.
Together we unravelled how I spent so much of my life pretending, being what other people wanted me to be, trying to do and say what would make people like me, but that this meant I wasn't ever really being myself. In fact, worse still, I realised with a shock that I didn't even know who I was because it had been so long since I'd been able to notice what I really felt or really thought.
Janice talked about something called a 'false self,' a sort of mask we learn to wear and show to the world because that's what we've come to believe the world wants. We wear it to protect ourselves so we don't get hurt or shamed or rejected or make people angry or upset. We become so good at wearing it that eventually we don't even know we're doing it.
But the problem with that mask is that, although it seems to protect us, it actually also hides who we really are, even from ourselves. We don't know what we really feel or think about anything, we don't know what our likes are, our interests are, what we want to do or to be. Everything starts to feel a bit empty and meaningless, like we're just existing and trying hard to meet everyone else's needs. I realised that I had a lot of feelings underneath about all of that.
I had kind of known some of this, but I think I'd been really scared to look at it. I couldn't see how that was ever going to change, and had thought that if I tried to change I would lose everyone.
But Janice helped me to think about that, without any pressure at all to do anything unless and until I was ready. She never pushed, just encouraged and empowered. She helped me believe that my life could be different, and to understand that change happens in small steps, tiny changes, and that we can take our time.
That's the thing about being given space. She sort of held a space that I could gradually become myself in, a safe space where I could try things out and think out loud without having to do anything in the outside world until I was ready.
And that gradually turned everything around. I would experiment by maybe saying things slightly differently, or by saying what I wanted sometimes instead of saying I didn't mind. It felt good, and the world didn't end.
As I got braver, I began to risk saying things I never would have thought possible in a million years. But by now I wanted to say them, I didn't want to pretend. Being myself and speaking up with my own voice had become too important for me to just go along with things anymore.
The great thing, also, was that Janice had a huge wealth of techniques and advice about how to speak in a way that meant I would be heard but wouldn't give offence. I realised that even when I might have wanted to say something before I wouldn't have known how to begin. Now I was learning techniques and strategies that really worked, and made me feel like I could do it. I felt skilled and my confidence was growing.
Wherever I wanted to go, Janice would go there with me. In that space, we could talk about anything and prepare for anything. I used to joke that I had her there with me on my shoulder whenever I would tackle something that felt a bit challenging. It was such a good feeling to have that support, and to have that space to go back to and review how things had gone.
I look back sometimes and pinch myself. I never would have thought this could be me. I never would have thought I could have turned my life around like this. Life feels easy and no longer scary or stressful, because I'm no longer pretending. What you see is what you get now, so there's nowhere to fall.
I now carry that business card around with me, and I've passed on the details to a number of friends and colleagues. A close friend is seeing Nicky at this moment, and is finding her calmness and ability to make sense of what's going on so helpful. And a couple I know saw Janice a few months ago and turned their relationship around. I'm totally converted! I think everyone should go and get this kind of help.
If you're like me, putting it off and putting it off, I just want to say don't do that anymore. Make yourself more important than that anymore. Pick up the phone and get in touch. You won't look back."
The difference between 'healing' and 'curing'
If we could choose between being healed and being cured, I wonder which would seem the most desirable? Maybe those two things don't seem any different? Why distinguish them?
However, if we examine them, there are important differences, especially from a holistic point of view. Could it be that for something to be 'cured' somehow suggests that something is made better, taken right away, got rid of so that it never bothers us again?
That might happen now and again in life, that 'magic wand moment.' But maybe it isn't the norm.
Holistically speaking, maybe that's a bit like taking a symptom away without ever taking time to think about where that symptom came from in the first place. Without questioning how our life-style or the experiences we have known and held within our body might have contributed to this symptom from which our mind or body longs for relief?
When we do that, we miss the learning and the wisdom and the changes needed. We simply reach for the relief, but with the intention of never thinking about it again.
In contrast, to heal is to integrate the experience we've been through, to welcome what can help us move forward from it in a way that means we leave the pain or unwanted emotion or associations behind, because we've worked through them with another's help, and feel free to go forward with valuable lessons to take with us.
Healing is transformative, and every part of who we are is changed in the becoming something more. Healing is about growing, expanding, becoming courageous and less fearful because we know we can survive.
A cure, if we're lucky, is an event, but we are largely unchanged by it; healing, in contrast, is a process, a journey, and we come out the other end optimistic and deeply satisfied. And so aware of what we have achieved.
Someone else cures us; healing is something we do, with another's help, for ourselves. And that never leaves us, and we never forget, because we can never not know all that we now know. And that feels amazing!
Why healing matters
Why do we need to 'deal with' things that are troubling us? At all?
Isn't it just as effective - better, even - to 'just get over it?' Put it in a box and fasten the lid down tightly?
To just forget about it? Put it away? Blank it? Ignore it?
Why would we want to open up old wounds? Go over old ground? Talk about things that can't be changed? How does that help? Doesn't that just make it worse? Aren't we just opening up a can of worms?
Isn't that just moaning, or being negative? Won't people just think we're going on about nothing?
And anyway, what's the point if it can't be changed? How is it going to make any difference? Aren't we likely to feel worse rather than better?
These are all important questions, aren't they? Valid points. Why wouldn't we ask ourselves these things? We want to know that something is going to make a difference and that we're going to feel better, and that it will have been worth it, don't we?
Maybe a good place to start is to consider what happens when we don't heal. In particular, what happens when we store memories, feelings and experiences in our mind and body rather than processing them and resolving them so that we can properly let them go.
First and foremost, it's important to understand that feelings don't just disappear because we push them away or try to ignore them. What actually happens is that these are stored and held in our nervous system and in our body. They don't disappear, they just get lodged somewhere else. And the fear centre in our brain - the Amygdala - continues to detect they are there every time something triggers them, however briefly. The more times this happens, the more the Amygdala receives confirmation that these thoughts or feelings are a threat, and so it goes into a state of high alert every time they threaten to surface.
When this happens, we experience anxiety and panic, and the symptoms of 'fight or flight.' These include our heart beating faster, feeling sick, sweating, tension and muscle pain, dizziness, difficulty in concentrating, feeling weak or like we might faint, and a sense of breathlessness or fear that we can't breathe.
The more we try to push something away, the more it keeps coming up to the surface, because our mind is aware that we're caught in a fear cycle, and keeps attempting to help us back towards health by bringing to our attention the very things we're trying to keep putting away.
This is often the stage we are at when we realise that we need to seek help. We've tried all the usual ways we usually try to deal with things, and they haven't worked. This problem or issue or memory or worry refuses to go away, and the more we try to squash it down, the worse the symptoms in our body become.
This is why healing matters. It is why we need a space where we can find a way - with another's expert and experienced help - to bring to the surface what is causing us to react in this way, and which will give us no peace until it is dealt with.
At 36 years old, I had never had a proper relationship. I would say I hadn't even got any proper friends. I had work colleagues, and I had people I occasionally socialised with, but nothing of any significance or depth. I had a First Class Honours degree from one of the top universities in the country, and a job and income lots of people were jealous of, but I was incredibly lonely. I was a senior partner in a firm that had an impressive reputation, but my life itself felt empty and miserable.
You can imagine that, for someone in my position, admitting that you need help with one of the most basic things in life felt acutely embarrassing. The shame I felt in needing to make an appointment to ask someone to help me learn how to relate to other people was so great that I had put it off for years. I kept convincing myself that it was just a matter of time, or that things weren't really that bad. In the end, though, I had to swallow my pride and admit that I couldn't do it on my own.
Nicky couldn't have been more easy to talk to, and all my fears about looking like some kind of freak gradually melted away. Nicky has this wonderful way of normalising everything, of helping you realise that you're not at all the only person struggling with something, but that a large proportion of the human race is struggling with the very same thing, or has experienced something very similar. I think that's the thing I am most grateful for, more than anything else - Nicky helped me to believe that I was a human being just like anyone else.
She helped me understand, as we pieced together all the different experiences I'd had, why I found trusting people and opening myself up so very hard. High expectations placed on me as a child to achieve and be a certain eay, being bullied at school, one or two disastrous attempts at asking girls out on dates, a career taking over, and finding that safer and more reliable than people, their influence had been so great.
It wasn't easy, certainly not comfortable in the beginning, to admit to all these things. But looking back, I realise that Nicky made it possible for me to share them without shame or embarrassment, and to accept them simply as experiences that had brought me to here. I had seen them as permanent flaws or faults, something actually wrong with me that could never change, but very gently and firmly Nicky helped me to build my confidence that things could be different.
We did a lot of very practical work alongside what I would call the 'deeper stuff', and Nicky helped me hugely in thinking about how to relate to other people more openly and more effectively. I began to dare to risk conversations that I'd always have avoided before. I'd hang around at the coffee machine and talk to people instead of scuttling back to the safety of my office. I developed interests and began to take more notice of what was going on around me. I'd have follow-up conversations, as I learned in more detail how conversation works, and how to make friends and keep them.
I got engaged to be married a few months ago. Nicky walked with me through the highs and lows, the fears and anxieties, and helped me to keep daring and hoping and being honest during the enormous demands of building this relationship too. There wasn't anything we couldn't talk about, or anywhere we couldn't go.
I owe Nicky a debt I can never repay. All I can do is tell you to go and see her. Don't put it off for years like I did. You won't regret it.'
How we heal
At the time of initially seeking help, it can often be difficult for us to imagine that we can ever feel any differently to how we feel right now. We've gone round and round inside our head, and we haven't been able to find a way out. It feels like it will be this way forever. Or at least for a very long time. It's hard to imagine feeling different, let alone better.
And then, one day, we know it's done. The old feelings no longer trouble us, the old reactions no longer happen, we are more at peace and comfortable with who we are and where we have been. Gradually and almost imperceptibly, almost without our noticing it, so much inside us has shifted. We see things differently now, we see a bigger picture now, and we have let go of things we thought would never change or ease or let us be.
We look back at how we felt when we began. We feel so different now, we have been on a significant journey and learned so much. About life and ourselves. We have grown into ourselves in ways we couldn't have imagined when we began.
We have found ways to process our experiences rather than suppressing them or running from them, we have trusted another human being with feelings and thoughts we would never have thought we could have trusted someone else to understand or accept without judgement, and we have tasted a strength and degree of resilience within ourselves that leaves us feeling a mixture of pride and relief and gratitude for the space we have used in ways we never knew that we could.
Specifically, we will have faced things that we had once believed we couldn't face, and we will have come to understand things that had once made little or no sense; we will have found words and ways of expressing things we once felt were too overwhelming or complicated or muddled to be able to explain or talk through; we will have learned to be kinder to ourselves, because we will have learned that to understand means that blame has become too simplistic, even irrelevant; and we will have reached important decisions about who we want to be, how we want to be, and we will have developed the tools and the perspective we need to make this happen. We will be relating to people in our life differently, and we may even have made some courageous choices we thought we would never have the strength or clarity to make.
We will know that we can survive challenges and change and ultimately life itself, and we will know that we are ready to to forward with a spring in our step and a lightness throughout our whole being.
We will have used this space, and we will have healed.
Paul and Helen's Story
(Paul) 'I think that if Helen hadn't given me an ultimatum that it was couples counselling or we were finished, and if I hadn't heard the desperation in her voice that made me finally listen, we wouldn't be together now.
We'd tried couples counselling a year or so ago, with an organisation specialising in couples work, but we'd come away disappointed. It didn't work for us for lots of reasons, but the main reason was that it became clear that we needed 'deeper' help somehow to help me to discover why I was behaving so jealously, and why I felt so frightened and insecure. The counsellor seemed to want to give us homework that was designed to help me behave differently, but what it didn't do was change the feelings way down inside me that meant that Helen couldn't help knowing what was going on inside me no matter how differently I tried to behave, or how much she tried to change her responses to what she knew I was feeling.
I will be forever grateful that a friend gave me Janice's number. We could feel the difference as soon as we started talking together. She picked up everything that was going on. I mean, the subtle things, the things that could seem so little you might miss them, but which are really the big things because they show exactly what's hoing on.
We didn't only talk about now, the way we'd been led to do before. Janice encouraged us to dig much more deeply than that. We talked about our experiences growing up, and how these had influenced how we might relate to a partner, our fears and how we might act those out, who we represented for each other, how that might be influencing the ways we tried to talk about things or try to resolve them.
It was both fascinating and a shock to gradually discover just how much of our past experiences we had brought into our relationship. I came to understand, for instance, that the reason Helen would leave the room and go silent if I became angry was because her Dad had a big temper and would lose control if he got angry. Any sign that I was getting angry triggered those old memories, and made Helen want to get away.
Once Helen had been helped to explain that, I could see that my own memories of how my Mum used to not speak to me if I had done something that upset her, and how much that had frightened me because it felt as if she didn't love me anymore, meant that I felt I had to pursue Helen and try to make her speak to me because it felt like her shutting down meant she didn't love me.
Looking back now, all that sounds a bit silly. But in the heat of it, it all felt very real for us both, and it was frightening how intense the feelings were.
Once we both started to understand those dynamics - and more importantly, where they came from in the first place - we started to feel so much more positive and hopeful. Janice helped us through some pretty difficult discussions, and supported us in finding ways of communicating that took those old 'buttons (her word) into account. I can't tell you how freeing that became. We found a new level of respect and carefulness towards each other simply from being helped to appreciate just how complicated the different levels that we relate on actually are.
And the really great thing was that Janice helped us to do all that in a completely non-judgemental way. There was no blame, now or for the past, but just a really empathic understanding of why we do the things we do.
That was the key, really. Understanding why we do the things we do, with kindness and respect. Janice showed us how to let go of all the 'you shoulds' and replace them with 'How can we...?' or 'What would be helpful...?' The experience of being listened to so intently and deeply, and of having such a positive role model in Janice showing us so much more effective ways to be supportive of each other rather than blaming each other, has been truly transformative.'
Our initial training was psychodynamic. However, within that training there was significant emphasis placed upon the theory and practice of other models.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Brief Solution-Focussed Therapy
Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT)
In practice, our theoretical model is a holistic and integrative one, and we adjust that model and way of working to the needs of each individual client.
We are committed to providing a safe, respectful, lively and engaging space for you. Our style is warm and friendly, but you will also find us very open, honest, challenging and insightful, and an active partner in your healing process.
Our approach is holistic, and this means that we will see you, and treat you, as a complex human being, mind-body-spirit. We will see you as being many parts, many experiences, the sum total of all of these having brought you to where you are right now. And we will hold you to be capable of healing yourself, of finding your way through whatever is troubling you right now, and of having all the resources you need inside you.
We won't categorise you or diagnose you with a tick box list. We will instead see you as uniquely you, needing a correspondingly unique set of solutions, which suit your personality, circumstances and environment.
All you need is our active company, support and expertise, and our willingness to really listen and understand, and to share our knowledge and experience with you, honestly and openly. And that you will have.
What to expect in your first session
We understand how nerve-wracking it can feel to come and see a total stranger for the first time, especially when we are feeling vulnerable or upset, and know we need help.
We worry about how to explain what's going on for us, and whether our therapist is going to understand.
We might worry that they will think we're making a fuss about nothing, or 'being silly.'
What if we get tearful, or feel overwhelmed or find it hard to get our words out?
It feels really important to say that all of these feelings and concerns are completely normal, and that everyone who comes along to see a therapist feels exactly this way. It might also be helpful to say that we, too, have sat in your chair, many years ago now, with our own therapist, full of those same worries and anxieties. So we have a pretty good idea how you'll be feeling, and will very quickly help you to feel comfortable and put you at ease.
We'll help you talk about what's brought you, and we'll help you to explore how things have got to where they are now, help you start to make some sense of what's going on, and towards the end we'll discuss with you what the best way forward seems to be.
This is an entirely equal process, we'll give you lots of input, but encourage you to reflect on what we're saying and what you also think feels right.
Often, people feel able to decide straight away whether or not they'd like to come into therapy for a while, and we then negotiate together how long we'll work together for, and how.
Sometimes, however, people feel they'd like to go away and think about it, or to discuss it with their family. That is perfectly acceptable, and no pressure will be put on you in any way. All you have committed to is an initial session to meet and see it this is for you.
We will do our best to make that process as comfortable and useful as possible.
Training, qualifications & experience
Please visit our website for our qualifications, training, member organisations and individual specialisms.
In general, all of our therapists hold degrees, have studied for a minimum of 4 years to at least Diploma level as a post-graduate in counselling/psychotherapy, and have a minimum of 10 years' post qualifying experience.
All our therapists have also gone on to broaden their training and experience during that time.
We are highly experienced professionals, with a wealth of complimentary experience and knowledge, which enhances what we can offer clients, and the expertise we have to share.
Member organisations *
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling we deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Anorexia nervosa
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Attachment disorder
- Attachment disorder in children
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Behaviour problems
- Binge-eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bulimia nervosa
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Childhood bereavement
- Childhood bullying
- Children’s learning difficulties
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Dependent personality disorder
- Depression and anxiety in children
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Internet addiction
- 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
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship problems
- Schizoid personality disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Separation and divorce
- Separation anxiety
- Sex addiction
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
- Young carers
- Cognitive and behavioural therapies
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Compassion-Focused Therapy
- Couples counselling
- Family/systemic therapy
Photos & videos
Our fees vary according to the level of training and experience of individual therapists. As a general guide, however, our fees range from £45 to £60 for individuals. Fees for couples, families and groups are negotiated with the individual therapist involved.
We offer private parking on the premises, and are close to bus routes between Loughborough and Ashby. We are very close to Junction 23 of the M1.
We are experienced in assisting employees who are trying to manage stress in the workplace, and can offer specific help with stress management, time management, dealing with difficult people, and communication and interpersonal skills.
We also have a wealth of experience and expertise in the area of mental health, including supporting family members who find themselves in a carer's role.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
We offer daytime and evening appointments Monday to Friday, 5 days a week, between 10.00 and 21.00. Appointments last 50 minutes. We offer face-to-face sessions, phone, skype and online.
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|