I have over twenty five training and experience in humanistic psychotherapy, particularly TA, Gestalt, Psychosynthesis, the work of Virginia Satir and Formative Psychology (a somatic philosophy and methodology pioneered by Stanley Keleman).
I have also been influenced by the Emotional Health work of Bob Johnson, by my experience of running Dialogue groups in prisons (Dialogue being based on the work of physicist David Bohm), by my engagement in the Integral field pioneered by philosopher Ken Wilber and by my immersion in the philosophy and dialogue protocols of Mondo Zen and Integral Zen.
All of these approaches centre on the understanding that children interpret traumatic and ordinary events to mean something about themselves, which then becomes their unconscious conceptual reality. Each methodology cultivates a particular line of enquiry that, with a client’s consent, will reveal these hidden beliefs so they can be consciously reevaluated. These glimpses of truth can be compelling signs for a client that change is possible.
Co-arising with these ordinary childhood interpretations of reality, however - and indeed holding them in place - are unconscious habitual bodily constrictions and disconnections that also need reorganising if a more evolved perspective is going to have stability.
If our needs, as subjective sensations of truth are not validated by those around us in our formative years, we deactivate our undeniable felt reality and instead identify with this illusory concept of self (these interpretations of what events mean about us).
For example, we all need to love. So if we infer that our love is not wanted then we unconsciously densify, brace, collapse or dissociate (fight, flee or freeze) - to diminish the flow of our love. It is untenable for a child to feel there is no adult to love and depend on, so we make our love insufficient rather than the circumstances.
This unconscious somatic distortion becomes a habit. Then we unconsciously feel inferior because that flow of love is who we actually are. It's true that we are less of ourselves without this dimension. Then because we feel insufficient we build a personna - a kind of more conscious performance that attempts to deny this insufficiency.
Formative psychology takes a somatic - bodily - approach to working with these unconscious muscular habits, setting up new ways of organising oneself physically to realign with this dimension of love that never actually went anywhere. The light of our love might have been hidden but as long as we're alive I believe it never truly goes out. We then feel whole as a mature, relaxed adult.
Mondo and Integral Zen come at this problem from the other end, using meditation to cultivate somatic presence within a perspective of imperturbable awareness. Once an attitude of equanimity is established it's much easier to see these stories and somatic distortions as objects in awareness rather than identifying with them as a concept of self.
Whichever end works best for you to start from, this practice of reorganisation entails a discipline that can be hard to commit to when the mind has normalised an inaccurate view of oneself and the body has normalised discomfort and aspects of denial. So it can help to have the support of a therapist to establish a practice of embodiment.
According to Integral evolutionary theory, this assumption about one's own wrongness in childhood is an ordinary developmental stage rather than a psychological glitch. It seems we need the discomfort of feeling separate to impel us through the stages of forming an autonomous adult that can then liberate itself back into being aware of our undeniable wholeness, love and connectedness to all life alongside an impulse towards further conscious, embodied evolution.
My experience of running Prison Dialogue groups helped me see that if a secure boundary is formed on a collective or individual level, life's impulse to harmonise emerges into that formed interior.
Using a combination of all these protocols, I work with the shock in clients that has created a dissociation, or disconnection from the body, which is the only instrument we have for forming that secure boundary at a personal level. In providing a safe place for a client to stay connected to the embodiment of their present, regardless of how traumatic their descriptions of memories might be, they can strengthen their own capacity for absorbing and earthing shock.
The shock is not the problem, as shocking as it is, as much as the disconnection from the body that is the vehicle for earthing the current of the shock. The formative, generative work can then take place.
Experiencing week long Mondo Zen retreats since 2011 and training in the koans of the Mondo Zen dialogue protocol has supported the integration of all my therapeutic training. It's deepened my capacity to stay present and engaged in all circumstances and to befriend and accept every part of this human experience so I can transmit that faith in embodied, loving truth to clients. .
I ran Anger Workshops in London from 1997 until 2019. They reminded me that under the wildest, most destructive rage or the deepest, most icy constriction is fear created by a real or perceived loss or hurt that is interpreted as being about the self (as described above), which then creates more fear and contraction and more denial of the embodied, ordinary dimension of love.
But that very feeling of dislocation is what can remind each person to start looking for themselves, to come home and to grow their heartfelt connection to life.
Training, qualifications & experience
One year course in psychotherapy (Spectrum, London, 1993-4).
Modular training (Spectrum) over 10,000 hours between 1993 and 2008.
Counselling Skills (Spectrum, 1994).
Postgraduate course in psychotherapy (Spectrum, 1995).
Postgraduate continuation (Spectrum, 7 days yearly CPD on-going since 1996).
Dialogue facilitation training at HMP Whitemoor (Prison Dialogue, 1995-6).
Dialogue facilitator at HMP Whitemoor (1996-7).
Individual therapist since 1997, London, Wiltshire and on Zoom/Skype.
Formative Psychology Series (Spectrum, 4 days yearly CPD on-going since 1998).
James Naylor foundation conference (yearly attendance 2002-2009).
Working with Couples training (Spectrum, 2002-3).
Couples therapist since 2003, London, Wiltshire and on Zoom/Skype.
Working with Anger training (Spectrum, 1998-2002).
Ongoing fortnightly women's group leader since 1999 (currently online).
Outreach Anger workshop leader working with organisations 2000-2002.
Working with Anger two-day workshop leader at Spectrum, London since 2002.
EMDR Level 1 training and refresher (2002).
BACP accreditation 2008
Integral Spiritual Experience (Asilomar, CA, 2009).
Week-long silent Mondo (Rinzai) Zen retreats with Mondo Zen, Integral Zen and Integral Mondo Zen UK since 2011. At least one a year.
Food, Hunger, Longing and the Body workshop leader, Berkshire, from 2019.
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
Face to face sessions (individuals and couples)
I have a few spaces available, although I am currently working online only because of covid-19. Please get in touch if you would like face to face sessions in either of these places and are happy to work online in the interim.
The Granary, Woodley's Yard, West St, Aldbourne SN8 2BL
Mon - Fri
Bramham Therapy Rooms, Marlborough, Wilts SN8 1PH
Online sessions (individuals and couples)
I am available on FaceTime, Skype and Zoom as well as by phone.
All individual and couples sessions £75.
Fortnightly ongoing women's group (closed), currently online.
£350 (avg) per term (6-8 fortnightly Tuesdays 6.30-8.30pm)
Call 07957 111693 to enquire.