Hi there, I am a psychodynamic psychotherapist offering confidential and down to earth counselling on a short and long term basis. I have been in full time private practise for 12 years now and hope that I make sessions useful, interesting - and enjoyable where possible. My background was in drama, hence a host of jobs followed drama school in London, all of which offered valuable experience and growth in various ways (retail, bookies, civil servant, care work, leisure, people with learning difficulties, amongst a few - I value the fact that I am no stranger to differing workplaces) Working as a residential social worker in a South East London's children's home, however, opened up the world of psychology and therapy to me and I feel privileged now to be part of so many people's lives in their therapeutic 'journey'. I am a dog person, enjoy horse riding, walking, concerts, the city and the countryside alike. A requirement of my diploma was four years in personal therapy which has stood me in good stead for not just a professional vocation as a counsellor but to contend with the natural ebb and flow of life, the personal successes and the disappointments. Favourite quote - Nothing Human Is Alien To Me (Roman playwright 'Terence')
I am happy to say that clients who finish their therapy with me leave with a new bank of knowledge, a clear understanding of themselves and issues, clarification of how difficulties developed and lifelong tools all acquired through their attendance - and most importantly, unhappy 'cycles' of experience broken. I am very lucky in that I have met with a multitude of people over the years so I am accustomed and thoroughly enjoy making the acquaintance of clients from diverse and varied backgrounds, and with both men and women. I have been told that I am easy to speak with and I make attending sessions easier then had been anticipated. I am happy to receive a call in a first instance to answer any questions you may have. I am currently working solely online via zoom or skype and hope to return to face to face sessions next year.
About Psychotherapy Sessions...Psychotherapy lies in the recognition of how the past (distant or most recent) effects present behaviour, attitude and choice - not always in the way we would ideally like or wish - and hence determines our future thus perpetuating negative cycles of experience. It is the process by which we bring conscious awareness to aspects of ourselves that have remained hitherto unknown and offers an insight into why certain events effect us in difficult ways.
In our first session I will take a few basic details and we will clarify what your expectations are in seeking therapy. An initial consultation allows us an introduction which will enable you to decide whether or not you would like to continue working with me. For some people counselling is a place to process something challenging happening presently in their lives, for others it may have been a problem one has contended with for years, very often it is both. We will speak about what the catalyst has been in making an appointment. I will describe to you in what ways therapy may help you to resolve certain problems, the obstacles that may sometimes stand in the way of this (what we term 'defense mechanisms') and how, through your 'free association' (talking freely in an environment without being judged) we will discover certain beliefs and thoughts that up until now may have remained 'unknown' (consciously) but have still exercised a 'dynamic' and effective influence over actions and thought (i.e psychodynamic understanding) Psychotherapy rests on the premise that 'bottled up' feelings are the basis to the formation of 'symptoms'/issues experienced- everything from 'feeling stuck', angry, sad and 'low' to ocd, phobias, depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and so on. It is in the 'making conscious' bit of therapy, without judgement, that restorative work can be accomplished, and how we see problems eventually diminish and disappear.
Through your narrative - that is to say, data based on factual word from yourself within our sessions - I will offer explanations and interpretations which are coincidental with realisations being made from week to week, and which bring clarity and understanding to what previously may have appeared confusing and inescapable. Through application of what is being experienced and made sense of in therapy, then, we will see certain changes occur. We call this process 'working through'. Seeing life and oneself in new ways will bring, it is hoped, empowerment, confidence and, ultimately, skills to remain calm and happy - even in the more (and inevitable) challenging times presented by life.
Sounds easy? A word about the trickier part to being in therapy....the reason we frequently have to come to an objective person in the form of a therapist lies in our natural inclination to defend against varying degrees of painful realisation. Psychodynamic psychotherapy teaches us how and why something has been 'brushed under the carpet' and has formed a 'symptom'. It is the unspoken 'stuff' of shame, guilt, anxiety, anger, and sometimes love. Naturally, this material takes time to tease out. We both want to 'see' it and at the same don't. A good analogy lies in the help we receive from a dentist - ie; therapy is both wanted but not - at the same time. Hence we use countless ways to defend ourselves against such experience being 'known', not on purpose because we are 'being difficult' but because our minds are still 'looking out for us'. The suppressed feelings inherently still feel like a threat to us. The experiences and thoughts and memories we finally make conscious, however, is something we encounter now as adults. This is very important. With the help of an objective therapist, who can help us move past our defence mechanisms, we can begin to see ourselves, others and the past in ways that free us from unhappy patterns of behaviours and perception. As an adult. With adult perception and strength and skills.
In short, psychotherapy is the 'freeing' (the verbalisation) of 'energetic' and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, that whilst not articulated and resolved finds expression in 'symptoms' and difficulties. It offers a 'decoding' and an understanding of how such issues arose. It gives sense and meaning to why we, and others, think and behave in the ways that we do and an opportunity to change the script, to be free from recurring issues and to live life in the present. Our end goal, given time, can literally be the difference between light and dark. In other words, we move from a repressed 'self' to an 'aware' self. Hard won at times perhaps but an incredible and worthwhile undertaking.
About the 'How'?.....(is growth facilitated)
Free Association (why therapy is known as the 'talking cure'....) Firstly, we want to start learning about you. What are the challenges, how do they show themselves, how do you feel about your difficulties. Are we 'over reacting' at times, are we equally 'under reacting'. What behaviours are showing themselves despite our best efforts to break them. How do you feel about yourself, about others around you. How do times of stress effect you. What are your coping mechanisms. It can take a little time to start trusting that there really isn't any judgement involved in sessions, and perhaps a little longer to learn not to censor oneself in the light of ones own judgement. It is of course speaking about the 'uncensored' version of events that provides the material to understanding ourselves. Talking in an unfettered way leads us to an understanding of why we have developed in the ways that we have. Hence, a client talks about everything that comes into their minds and a new kind of 'noticing' begins to happen outside of appointments. For some people this is a completely new experience. To just 'notice' how we are feeling and thinking.
Relationship to self (also known as loving oneself....) It may well be the cliche, but opening our eyes to our worth is everything. It frequently happens that clients aren't aware of how punitive they are to themselves. Learning about this and, again, noticing how we relate to ourselves, and how this can also form the basis to how we relate to others, in itself creates some relief and begins to build confidence between sessions.
Interpretation/Explanation (the analysis of behaviour) Unconscious feelings and thoughts have a way of finding expression in the most incredible of ways. In speaking about all of the events in our lives, about our feelings and thoughts, from the present back to our past, we begin to gain an understanding of what 'energetic'/suppressed material is wanting a voice, and in what ways it is becoming manifest. Clients learn to analyse their own behaviours, with, it is hoped, greater self-compassion and self-forgiveness where necessary. Jargon like 'regression back to our point of fixation,' unconscious conflicts, defence, and so on become part and parcel of everyday language and recognition. A greater awareness develops. A competence in understanding ourselves. A psychological 'jigsaw' of sorts is assembled.
Reframing (An opportunity to become objective) The perceptions we have had (which we weren't always aware we have had) have sometimes been the cause of great misery and unhappiness. Seeing 'the whole picture' - having a different perception from the ones we have carried - is a new type of understanding that lends itself to growth and to a new harmony in our lives. Clients develop an objectivity, and cease to be driven by 'unseen' currents of feelings and impulses, they slow down or for some, speed up. It takes time, yes, and it takes practise, a lot of practise, but changing our neuronal pathways in this way lays the groundwork for real change to take place. Remember, the negative perceptions also took time to develop. We are giving ourselves new 'mental events' as opposed to passively experiencing something in the past. The brain is a fantastic piece of apparatus and we can literally change neuronal pathways for the better, at any point in our lives. Almost anyone can change their outlook about themselves or, if necessary about others, due to the skills we have in learning something new.
I hope that provides a little bit of an idea as to what to expect. I was a reluctant guest to online therapy, but I have found it to be the same, and as effective, overall as meeting clients face to face, bar being able to see the tension in people's bodies at times (the manifestation of unconscious and 'bottled up' feelings can often be seen in our odd 'twitches' here and there) For now, I intend to remain online but do hope to resume face to face also next year.
Any questions on the above, please feel free to call and I will be happy to explain further.
Training, qualifications & experience
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy P.G Diploma 2006 (WCFP - 5 year training programme)
- private full time practise since 2009
- Certificate in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Certificate in Hypnosis
- MBACP - Member British Association Of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Certificate of Proficiency held)
- Registrant of National Counselling Society
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
I am particularly familiar in seeing clients who wish to resolve issues around specific and generalised anxiety, anger, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, medically unexplained/psychosomatic symptoms, parent/sibling issues, workplace conflict and challenges, difficulties in romantic life - divorce/separation/affairs, attachment disorder, male sexuality difficulties, feeling bullied, over-thinking/over-reacting, low self-esteem/lack of confidence, indecision, feeling empty/unfulfilled, feeling out of control/procrastination, difficulty in liking self and making connection with others, feelings of helplessness and fear, guilt and shame issues, unmanageable stress, loss/bereavement, trauma, mid-life crisis/existential issues, feelings of isolation/feeling lonely, menopausal impact, insomnia, self-harm, suicidal feeling.
Availability opens up periodically so please do enquire by mail and I will update on current diary bookings.
I adhere to BACP's Ethical Framework guidelines, their audit process (audited 2021) and receive ongoing monthly clinical supervision (I have full professional indemnity insurance)
Most Recent Research:
Carolyn Spring - 'Shame' - online webinar series
The Voice OF Addiction; Challenging The Destructive Thought Process - online webinar
Scheduled.....November 2021 CBT FOR OCD - short 2 day course online
Working With Self Harm and Suicide (Carolyn Spring)
Working With Dissociative Disorders In Clinical Practise (Carolyn Spring)
Running Mindfulness Groups
Working With Gender Dysphoria (Michelle Bridgeman)
Trauma, Dissociation and Recovery (Carolyn Spring)
Positive Outcomes For Dissociative Survivors (Carolyn Spring)