Alastair Hinch MA (Hons) MSc MA MBACP reg.
I am a fully qualified therapist working in private practice in St. Albans. I aim to offer the client a warm and understanding environment in which they can feel free to discuss concerns and issues about their life. I believe we can all benefit from making time and space in our lives to sit down with another person - someone who we trust will listen to us with care and sensitivity - to describe, explore and re-evaluate the parts of our life that are causing us pain or difficulty. Through this process of collaboration we can develop new understanding and perspective on ourselves and our problems, which in turn can help us achieve greater self-acceptance, a clearer sense of purpose and the possibility of a more balanced or sustainable way of living in the world.
I am a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist and a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP). I have a Masters degree in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling (Middlesex University) and have trained at both the New School of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and WPF Therapy.
I trained for about 6 years, and have been working with clients since 2007. I have worked with a wide variety of clients on issues relating to anxiety, depression, anger, abuse, bereavement, stress, physical disabilities, relationship difficulties, sexuality, financial worries, and cultural and religious differences. I worked for 3 years in bereavement counselling, and have currently been working for over 4 years in several NHS Primary Care positions in GP practices across Southwark, where I conduct assessments and offer short term counselling (6 to 12 weeks).
How I work
My approach follows the 'humanistic' or 'integrative' model in that I draw on a number of different theoretical perspectives according to what resonates or feels most helpful for the client. I work in a collaborative way to help the client develop self-awareness and to make sense of their life and experiences.
My training in 'existential psychotherapy' is reflected in my belief that a lot of the difficulties in our life stem from an anxious awareness of our own contradictions and vulnerabilities as human beings, and the responsibility we have to make choices and make something meaningful out of the time we have. We end up putting pressure on ourselves to change, or to cope better, whilst at the same time digging in or withdrawing in an attempt to feel safer. Counselling can help create some breathing space in this situation by establishing a time and a place where alternatives can be considered, and the feelings that arise be contained long enough for us to properly understand them.
What is counselling for?
People come to counselling for many different reasons - to feel listened to in a safe and confidential space, to find better ways of coping with their problems. They can have complicated and troubling feelings about things that have happened to them, or feel stuck in fulfilling or destructive patterns of thought or behaviour. Sometimes they have suffered a loss and need time to grieve and to make sense of how their lives have changed.
Clients will often come to counselling because they are seeking change - seeking to change themselves or their situation - but finding it much harder than they thought it would be. There can be many reasons for this, but the result is often that we reach for "quick-fix" solutions that either don't work or get us into further difficulties. Counselling, on the other hand, can often be about making the time and the effort to really understand ourselves and our choices better. When we take a deeper look at our thoughts and feelings we can discover that our experience of life is shaped by more than just our everyday opinions and reactions - it can be built on habits, assumptions and values that we do not really question, or perhaps even notice - they have become part of the 'furniture' of who we are. These habits may have developed to help us cope with what life used to be like for us, but now they might be in conflict with other aspects of ourselves or our beliefs. A counsellor can help to bring some of these background 'filters' and conflicts out into the open; helping us to feel more compassion for ourselves and to achieve greater control over the kind of person we want to be.
Training, qualifications & experience
MA, Existential Psychotherapy & Counselling (NSPC/Middlesex University);
Certificate in Counselling Skills (WPF Therapy);
MA (Hons) Philosophy (Aberdeen University)
I am a registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and as such am bound by its Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and subject to the professional conduct therein.
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
My fees are £70 per session in St Albans (£55 concessions). Daytime, evening and weekend appointments are available. Appointments will last for about 50 minutes, and we would usually meet once a week, at the same time each week. I am happy to work with clients in the short, medium or long-term, depending on their needs.