Dane Duncan Mills
NARRATIVES OF US: ETHOS
*Narratives of Us* offers down to earth, jargon-free online talking therapy from a highly qualified and HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist (therapist, supervisor, researcher and trainer) for individuals & couples who may find themselves sort of stuck, lost, turned around, unrooted… or maybe in need of some space and time to find the right direction. Equally, it can be a place to grow and kindle the things already going well in life, after all, you made it this far!
Finding a good therapist really is very difficult. No therapy is better than bad therapy. People choose Clinical Psychologists (over counsellors/psychotherapists/coaches/off the shelf packages), for their complete rigorous training, NHS assessed experience in multiple therapies which bring a depth and breadth of valuable skills and wisdom which aims to tailor and shape sessions to comfortably fit you and your hopes.
Many people dislike traditional talking therapy for some common reasons… jargon, labels, stigma, silence, power and deep-diving back to early childhood without clear reasons why. The way I work is different. What is important to you, is always at the centre of the conversation. I believe that the person is the person, the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem. I also specialise in conversations about gender diversity and sexuality.
I offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation so you can sound out if our fit would be right, and I can send a free welcome pack with information and resources to help you to decide - so please do slide into my professional DM's: 020 3761 4054 / NarrativesOfUs@gmail.com / www.NarrativesOfUs.co.uk/contact
"At a time when I was struggling with isolation after my partner decided to move back to Spain after losing his job to Covid, and working through a process of reevaluating my life through a new lens of autism and ADHD, Dane’s approach was a real lifesaver in helping me reflect on my coping strategies, strengths and values. He was easy to reach out to, and online sessions suited me really well. His warmth and kindness helped me feel accepted and safe at a time when I’d had some horrific homophobic ableist online abuse that triggered old trauma. I feel that a good connection with a therapist such as Dane can be helpful not just in the moment, but at later times when we think back to those sessions and how helpful they were."
“Originally I would have preferred a woman as a therapist as I thought that they would understand me, as a woman, better. How wrong was I! After meeting Dane for the first time I found that he was very empathetic, sensitive and professional to my needs. He listened, was non judgmental and I felt at ease within minutes of talking to him about ‘God and the world’. The coping strategies he provided me with are a great tool to use when I feel anxious or unsure about myself. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Dane as a therapist."
"I would not speak to someone unless they were genuine and I can tell Dane is very genuine, he gets me and I feel like he is on my wavelength, the sessions are really helpful and make me make sense of everything and get things I have been holding onto off my chest, nobody in my life really gets me in the same way."
"I wasn't completely sure what I wanted when I was researching. But Danes professionalism and general calm demeanour helped me decide that he was what we were looking for."
MY THERAPY VALUES
I have worked with a broad range of couples and individuals in my work in the NHS and third sector. The stories that my clients have entrusted me with have at once been testimonies of hardship, loss, trauma or violence, but also ones of reclamation, overcoming, resilience, survivorship, resistance and strength.
“Hope is not a trait inside people. Hope is something we do with others" (Kaethe Weingarten). The sessions also help people to connect with their own resources and to others in their teams, chosen families, communities and imperfect bubbles of solidarity, as a way forward through the storms of life.
Your Right To Define
I invite you to define the problems, troubles, issues or concerns in your terms using your words, expressions and language - in order for it to be close to your personal lived experience. Not using psychological buzzwords and not using a short-hand label out of a manual.
The Problem Is The Problem
I firmly believe that the person is the person and the problem is the problem. When we separate the problem from the person we have more power over an issue, put things into context, find more meaning, feel less stuck, feel more like ourselves, feel safer and have more ideas about how to go forward.
As a person who uses therapy myself, I especially do not lose sight of how important the quality of the therapeutic relationship is. Compassion is unfortunately often ‘out of stock’ in the many burnt-out services that support wellbeing, and I really get how this is something very much needed when talking to a complete stranger about your biggest vulnerabilities!
It’s important for me to take both an informed and curious stance towards my clients. I seek to know enough about important issues to share ideas (be it current issues about Cancer, Depression, Anxiety, BAME, LGB, Trans, Common Couple Patterns…) yet also want to learn about your own unique experience, culture and life expertise.
Time and time again, the number one most evidenced research about therapy is that it is not the mode or type of therapy that is the most important factor in improving things, but the relationship, how well you connect together as therapist and client, the ‘fit’ - this is the best marker of good outcomes. This is why therapy should be with someone, not at someone and is why I believe therapy is a space that can be shaped by us both. I offer assessment, share my sense-making openly with you, and think about existing and new ways of responding to the problems life throws at us based on your expertise and skills as well as my own. I help people to shed light on what they find important, what they value, and what they hold in high regard. This becomes a compass and guides us as a basis for knowing how to go on in a way that feels right.
Firstly, it is very normal for one person in a relationship to be seeking therapy more than the other. It is normal for there to be different hopes in therapy which may seem contrasting, in terms of the hope to stay together or the hope to go separate ways.
I tailor sessions to every couple: drawing on ideas from narrative therapy ethics for couples, compassionate communication tools, deep listening strategies, emotionally-focused couples therapy and family therapy. It goes without saying that ensuring safety, carefulness and non-judgement is super important. Unlike some couple work - I make it clear that the values of your couple are at the centre of our conversations, not my own.
I guide couples through conversations that explore preferred stories of self, and I encourage couples to listen in an appreciative way.
When in any relationship, our actions and inactions, our words and our silence, inescapably shape our partners sense of self. This is true, whether or not the effects of our everyday interactions are intentional. I help couples to identify their own hopes for how the other experiences themselves as a person.
NEXT STEPS - FIRST SESSION
It can be daunting, but please do not hesitate to send any big or small hesitations and curiosities my way and I will get back to you within 24 hours. I offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation so you can sound out if our fit would be right. I send a free welcome pack with information and resources to help you to decide.
Whenever you are ready we can set up an initial session in which I can hear your story of what brings you, and we can get clear on your potential goals for therapy to create a focus. There is no obligation to set up more sessions, we can take it at your pace. Frequency and duration of sessions is something we can tailor together.
- 020 3761 4054
5 MINI STORIES ABOUT ME
My name is Dane. I am a hardworking, Northerner, from working-class roots currently working as a Clinical Psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. I am a big animal lover, coffee-snob, geeky and outdoorsy type.
1. What is a hobby of yours? - I like to take black and white film photos because I find something interesting in imperfect shots. I like waiting for the film to be developed, the light leaks and what comes out without colour.
2. What is a favourite meal that stands out? - Tricky because I’m a foodie… I would have to say a little vegan place I went to which served grilled artichoke with aioli, followed by a Buddha bowl with shiitake mushrooms, and an awesome brownie to finish! Now I’m hungry.
3. What was your first job? - I stan animals. My first ever job was in a safari park looking after Sealions. I loved seeing different awesome animals every day. It was really rewarding and fun. I promised myself I’d do something I enjoy with a future career, over something that pays well.
4. How do you spend your free time? - I love reading and audiobooks and wish I could speed read! Anything by Haruki Murakami, Ruth Ozeki or Andre Aciman - I’m a sucker for a quirky novel.
5. A group you belong to? - I am part of a climbing community, we climb boulders and high walls and I’d like to do more outdoor climbing. I like the aspect of belonging, the edginess and the mind-body connection.
Training, qualifications & experience
TRAINING & EXPERIENCE
- HCPC accredited.
- 12 years of experience working in the NHS.
- Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a full-time academic course at The University of East London alongside a written research Thesis dissertation.
- Background in family services: CAMHS and currently work at Great Ormond Street Hospital's Pediatric and Mental Health Service.
- Experience in couples therapy services using Family Therapy approaches.
- Additional specialist training with Gendered Intelligence, for working in therapy with gender diversity.
- Attend a special interest group on Narrative Therapy to keep up to date with training.
- Additional training in: Narrative Exposure Therapy for Trauma, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.
- A Psychological Case Study In Pediatric Psychology, Global Advisory Board, Milan, Italy.
- The Theatre of Life: Collective Narrative Practice with Young Trans People’. In: Working systemically with trans, non-binary and gender expansive people. Context, The magazine for family therapy and systemic practice.
- The Theatre of Life: Collective Narrative Practice with Trans Young People in the Community. Doctoral dissertation.
- Narrative in research: four stories of researching within a Narrative Framework. Fourth European+ Conference of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Barcelona, Spain.
- Calm In The Chaos: Mindfulness & Compassion For CAMHS Staff. Clinical Psychology Forum.
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.
Health and Care Professions Council
The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.
They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.
Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Where talking to a Male is prefered / Despair / Couples counselling / Hopelessness / Family Issues / Low Self-confidence / Loss / Hardship Stuckness / Feeling Lost / Down / Stress / Worried / Cross / Feeling Sad / Living with Labels (such as "generalised anxiety disorder", "low self-esteem", "depression", "phobias", "OCD", "anxiety", "post traumatic stress", "phobia", "panic attacks").
Bisexual, Gay, Intersex, Lesbian, Non-Binary, Queer and Transgender Allied.
Concessions offered for
I offer a free 15 minute telephone conversation to sound out if our fit would feel right, feel free to call me on - 020 3322 6706.
Sliding Scale Fees
I offer a fair sliding scale for my clients, which you get to choose on an honesty basis depending on if you feel your income is low, medium or high compared to your counterparts living in your area earning the same as you. I offer concessions the scale to low income, students, key workers and unemployed clients.
Individual Sessions - 60 Minute Session
Sliding Scale: Starting from £120 to £150.
Couple or Family Sessions - 60 Minute Session
Sliding Scale: Starting from £150 to £190.
*90 Minute Sessions are also available.
I currently have space to take on new clients, please do get in touch!
What do people like about online video therapy?
Online therapy is no longer a second-best option, research proves it is evidence-based as effective, and is something different but not inferior to, face to face talking:
- Personalise your own space as needed, with your own soothing strategies: for everyone it’s different, maybe for you it’s blankets, candles, a plant, insense, cushions for a relaxing atmosphere… or maybe it’s a desk and whiteboard to build a working mindset.
- Take therapeutic support with you when travelling, moving home, or country.
- Avoid the added commute around work or the school run!
- It is a practical way to invite a friend or family member to the session - they can sit with you in the room, or drop in online with a shared screen. This might be to gain their out-of-the-box perspective or if you wish to share aspects of your story.
- Fury friends and whiskered family members are welcome here, in fact research shows stroking a cat or dog lowers stress levels, isolation and helps to provide emotional support and comfort.
- Bring a cup of tea or coffee just how you like it for the session. In many cultures, talking over a cup of tea helps to provide focus.
If some of the description examples below resonate with you, then Narratives of Us might be an awesome fit:
- I’m heartbroken. My partner and I are stuck in a rut. The spark is gone.
- Lockdown is making life like a pressure cooker.
- I’m in a dilemma… my heart says one thing but my culture says the opposite, what do I do?
- Something difficult to describe happened to me… it’s after my attention.
- I’ve been given a label but it seems far away from my unique experience. I mean… there’s anxiety, there’s anxiety and there’s anxiety, right?
- I get angsty, the world seems terrible and even unsafe… little things play on my mind.
- There’s a tidal wave of uncertainty out of the blue, and I want solid ground.
- I have the grey tickles of worry and stress… the black curtain of really low mood.
- I have reason to be really cross and in moments I feel like shouting really loudly.
- I’m beat. I feel beaten down on. I don’t have the energy.
- Someone really important to me is no longer in my life how they were.
- Even in a place of lots of people, loneliness is there.