Daniela Szukiel, Chartered Counselling Psychologist and EMDR Therapist
I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and EMDR therapist, specialising in trauma, including trauma-related anxiety and attachment and interpersonal difficulties. I have been in practise since 2003 and worked as a senior psychologist and a clinical lead in NHS in a number of settings, including mental health hospitals and secondary community mental health services.
In May 2021 I transferred to a full-time private practice and I love the freedom I now have to use my clinical experience to be able to offer people "what works" rather then be constrained by commissioning arrangements of organisations I used to work for!
I am also passionate about developing innovative approaches that can reduce financial barriers to high quality therapeutic help and turbo-charge people's ability to make changes they want in their lives.
Did you know that connection with others is the single most important thing affecting not only our psychological health and well-being but also our physical health and well-being?
Companionship with others triggers our brain's endorphin system making us feel relaxed and contented (Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford,).
In my experience, common difficulties people come to therapy for such as anxiety, low mood, rumination, perfectionism, and judgemental self-talk are often maintained by and lead to difficulties with friendships and relationships.
1:1 therapy can offer a lot of understanding as to the origins of these difficulties and identify helpful techniques in which they can be addressed.
Yet, sometimes it can be hard in 1:1 therapy to provide opportunities to practice some of the skills that allow people to create satisfying connections and relationships with others. This is not surprising, as some skills need to be learned by doing, for example you cannot learn how to cycle or swim by talking to an instructor or by reading a manual!
With that in mind, in addition to 1:1 work I also offer a small therapeutic Resonant Communication group. In the group people can share everyday stresses and strains with others, as other group participants attune to them with warmth and kindness, helping them to work though their feelings and better understand their needs. The process is simple but very powerful.
People come to really value the group experience, describing it as space that offers "comfort" , "feeling really understood", learning that "my needs matter", that "it is safe to share my feelings with others", realising that "it is not just me struggling with these difficulties", feeling "grateful" and "honoured" to be a part of the group. There is a maximum 9 participants in the group.
Are you worried that you are too anxious to take part in a group?
It is ok to feel anxious! Anxiety is not a reason not to join, and you do not have to "overcome" anxiety in order to join. Most people join even though they feel anxious at the start. In fact, people who feel anxious on prospect of joining find the group particularly valuable and can transfer their learning to feel more comfortable in other social context in the "real world".
In any case, before you decide whether joining a group might be right for you, I will walk you through a few introductory steps.
So.... what are the steps?
First, you can email on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a FREE initial 30 minute Zoom call or a more in-depth, 60-minute reduced-fee Initial Consultation (£40), You will be able to tell me a little about your difficulties and together we can think what approach would work best for you.
Mix and Match
If we decide to work together, I will suggest that we initially have 4 sessions on a 1:1 basis so that I can get a real good understanding of your concerns, your goals and your developmental history. I will then be able to prepare a plan of therapy for you and explain my understanding of what therapy I recommend for you. The recommendation may involve some 1:1 psychology sessions and/or I may suggest you join a group.
If you want to know more about the group before making up your mind, I will invite you to an introductory webinar where you will learn more about what skills are taught in the group, how they are practiced, what is the theory/evidence base/clinical rationale for these skills and generally what to expect. You will also be able to ask questions. NB: You do not have to stay in treatment with me in order to join the group - people who are with other therapists can also join the group.
If you decide to join a group...
If you decide to join a group, you will be invited to enrol for a 6-session cycle consisting of weekly 1.5 hour sessions which are delivered by Zoom on a weekday evening (7.30-9pm).
You can stay for as many cycles as you like - the groups are "slow open". This means that some people may leave the group after a 6-session cycle and new people may then join. I may also open a new group if there are more people wanting to join then leave. Once a group is formed, people can stay for up to 2 years so they can really benefit from the sense of continuity. This can provide a sense of deep anchoring and give people time for changes to become habits and for habits to become personality traits.
This level of weekly support in a small, confidential group of other people who are on a similar journey provides a cost-effective alternative to a 1:1 therapy, adding qualities of being supported not just by a therapist but also by peers.
What will I learn?
What's learned in the group transfers to contexts outside the group, improving skills for making and maintaining rewarding relationships with others. You also have an opportunity to learn and practice skills that help your brain and nervous system manage intense emotions - this is a foundational skills essential for all mental health concerns.
1: 1 work
In 1:1 work, the way I practice is well suited to people who have a preference for a therapist who is kind and supportive, but also quite structured, transparent in sharing their thinking and open to giving and hearing feedback.
I try to take the mystery out of psychology and see you as a person who is trying their best to negotiate the often challenging past or current circumstances. My role is to support you to make sense of your situation, learn new skills and feel supported and empowered to move forward in meeting your needs.
How can I help you?
Having experience of adversity or trauma can be life changing and can affect how we feel, think and behave. I can help you make sense of how power operated in your life and contributed to the patterns that no longer serve you. I then work with you to help you develop more adaptive patterns at a pace you are ready for and which often depend on what else is going on in your life.
From the first Consultation I see you as my partner: we jointly and openly discuss what is wanted (your goals), what is needed (my professional understanding of causes of your difficulties and the way in which they could be addressed) and what is possible (duration and cost of therapy).
As a Counselling Psychologist I am trained in a number of different therapeutic approaches so I can create a bespoke treatment plan that is driven by your needs rather than trying to fit your needs into a specific model.
What can you expect in 1;1 work
Most broadly, working with me you can expect that:
- You will gain a clearer understanding of how the difficulties you experience can be understood not as something "wrong" with you, but as a consequence of adverse - and not fully processed - experiences that happened to you in the past - "it is not who you are, it is what happened to you" (and how it is maintained by ways of coping that were helpful to you in the past, but now are limiting).
- You will be able to understand how nervous system and the brain "trigger" states of anxiety, sadness, anger in patterns that are common to all humans and you will gain skills how to manage these patterns;
- I can help you to understand how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours may be linked to emotional "core beliefs" which are often held out of one's conscious awareness and appear irrational (eg phobias of everyday things). These core beliefs frequently relate to domains of Responsibility (eg "I am not good enough" or "I did something wrong"), Safety/Vulnerability (eg "I do not feel safe to stand up for myself") or Control/Choices (eg "I am not in control"/"I will fail"). They can be held in the body as implicit ways of being in the world that can profoundly influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns.
- Using EMDR (please see below), you will have an opportunity to identify and re-process difficult events from your past that might have contributed to the creation of the above Core Beliefs and undesired physiological states. You will be able to form alternative new beliefs that are not only more realistic and helpful for your everyday life, but also feel true on a "gut level".
- If your Core Beliefs relate not to traumatic experiences in the past, but to absence of sufficiently nurturing, supportive, emotionally attuned responses from your caregivers during your childhood or to other deprivations, I will encourage you to consider how to act towards yourself with a caring intention. This can start the process of creating new neural networks ("schemas") relating to safety, support and a sense of well-being. You will start to orient yourself to pursuing experiences in your life that replicate those mental schemas of self-care. In other words, you will become less tolerant of situations that do not feel not sustaining and you will become more able to challenge them and chose things that are good for you.
You will also be invited to join one of the Resonance Groups I run so that you can receive an empathy and care not just from myself, but from a wider collective - this makes the experience much more powerful, thus helping to reorganise the brain and increasing your ability to trust and form more nurturing relationships in adult life.
- As a final stage of therapy, you will be able to develop a coherent narrative of your Self, including a realistic and balanced appraisal of ups and downs of your life, including a sense of yourself in the history of your family of origin. This will help you develop capacities of acceptance, compassion and meaning of your life, as well as be aware both of your strengths and limitations, so standards you place on yourself are realistic and not excessive, giving you a sense of progression and self-worth. My role will be completed and your life will await you.
Please note that the above summary outlines a comprehensive model of therapy. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you may wish to focus on a specific aspect/s. If you come to therapy in time of crisis, a different model of change may apply.
In the Initial Consultation session I will be able to advise you what could be a most helpful starting point and possible progression depending on your needs. A set period of therapy, say 16-24 sessions, is often sufficient to allow to complete a journey as described above, focusing on some elements more then on others and interweaving them together. For more chronic or severe difficulties, a longer term work maybe indicated.
What next ?
I offer a no obligation, free, initial 30-minute Telephone Consultation and a reduced fee Online Initial Consultation (£40) for us to meet online and discuss in more detail your difficulties and goals as well as for you to see how it feels to be working with me.
If I am not able to offer you help at this time or you would benefit from a different approach to what I offer, I will endeavour to signpost you on to an alternative service.
Please send me a short email outlining in brief the nature of your difficulties and I will endeavour to respond to you within 72 hours and to arrange an Initial Consultation. I operate a waiting list for when I do not have an immediate vacancy or the space I have is not suitable for you.
Why choose a Counselling Psychologist?
Counselling Psychologists specialise in providing psychological therapy of a highest quality, aiming to reduce psychological distress and promote psychological well-being in clients.
Counselling Psychologists are trained to a doctorate level through courses that focus on both research and practice of different schools of psychotherapy as well as underlying knowledge of psychology, neurobiology, ethics, social factors etc. The involves a minimum 7-year training, including a 3-year undergraduate psychology degree and a 4-year post-graduate training.
Our training model is that of a "Scientist-Practitioner": it includes an in-depth study and supervised practice of a number of contrasting therapeutic approaches, but also puts emphasis on developing our ability to critique each model by dissecting its underlying assumptions and possible limitations.
This means that, as practitioners, we are able to integrate different treatment models into bespoke treatment plans that are driven by the client and their needs rather than trying to fit the client into a specific model.
Counselling Psychologists are Chartered Members of the British Psychological Society. It is a legal requirement that Counselling Psychologists register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), meaning that the protected title “Counselling Psychologist” ensures peace of mind that you are working with someone trained to the highest level.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist, with a full professional registration with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health and Care Professions Council, and a full professional indemnity insurance. I am also registered as an Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor with the BPS.
In addition to my core training, I have done training in EMDR, CBT, Somatic Psychotherapy, Mentalisation, Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Compassion therapy, Emotion focused therapy and Mindfulness. I am a certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider.
I have a strong interest in the application of neurobiology to understanding how the mind works and how change can be created. This allows me to see your difficulties and solutions through different theoretical lenses and effectively tailor my approach to your needs and goals.
I have worked in the NHS for the last 11 years, prior to that I worked as a counsellor in voluntary services with young people and in the forensic setting. Before/alongside training in mental health I worked as a Social Psychology tutor for the Open University, for a Jobcentre as an employment adviser, for a City law firm as a marketing officer. for a geophysical consultancy as a translator/interpreter. I have also been a private tutor, waitress, chambermaid and an apple picker so I have a good understanding of a variety of working environments my clients may be seeking to negotiate.
- British Psychological Society Chartered Counselling Psychologist (Membership No 96128)
- Health and Care Professions Council accredited Counselling Psychologist (Membership No PYL27878)
- Member of the British Psychological Society Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors - - Certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider
MSc Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2010), Postgraduate Diploma in the Practice of Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2011), Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2007), Conversion Diploma in Psychology (Open University, 2000), BSc Psychology and Business Studies (London Guildhall University, 1998).
Certificate in Counselling Skills and Attitudes (Westminster Pastoral Foundation, 1998), Diploma in the Application of Psychodynamic Theory to the Principles of Counselling (Westminster Pastoral Foundation, 2000); Foundation Certificate in Biodynamic Massage (Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, 2003), Mentalisation Based Treatment (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Reflective Parenting: Increasing Mentalising in the parent-child relationship (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Multi-family mentalisation based group training (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors Training (Canterbury Christ Church University, 2017); Use of Imagery in CBT (BABCP training, 2017); Environmental Arts Therapy (London Arts Therapy Centre, 2018-2019) and with Ian Siddons Hegginworth 2019-2020), EMDR Therapy (EMDR Academy, Parts 1-3), Safe and Sound Protocol (2020) to increase social engagement capacity.
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.
British Psychological Society
British Psychological Society
Areas of counselling I deal with
From £60.00 to £80.00
Concessions offered for
EAP/Health Insurance Providers
SERVICES AND PRICES:
All London sessions take place online for the foreseeable future. Face-to-face sessions available in Faversham only
Initial 30-minute Zoom Consultation - FREE
Introductory 50- minute Consultation - £40 - It will help us understand your needs and help us decide if the approach I offer is suitable for you.
Individual Psychological Therapy (50 minutes)
£60 - concessions (daytime only). £70 - weekday daytime. £80 from 4pm on weekdays and all day Saturdays. I see people weekly or fortnightly.
Resonant Communication Group (1.5 hours) - £150 per block of 6 session (maximum 9 participants). Initial Consultation (£40) is required for people wishing to join the Group. I offer a £10 discount on my 1:1 fees for people attending the group.
Insurance companies: I am registered with AXA, Aviva, Vitality Health and BUPA. I can obtain registration with other insurance providers - please enquire.
Online 1:1 sessions: Weekdays 9am-9pm, Sat 9am to 1pm.
Resonant Communication Group: weekday evenings 7.30-9pm. Next group starts in September 2021. Please contact me for information.
In the course of my own life, I experienced many of the challenges, losses and set-backs as well as joys and accomplishments that are experienced by people who come to me for help. I have also received my own in-depth therapy over several years so I am able to appreciate how it feels to be a client and what is needed for a successful change.
Through both my personal life and professional practice, I learned that the sooner help is received, the better. Modern life can be complex and stressful, demanding an individual to have good psychological adaptation. If that adaptation is fragile, a person may lose their “inner compass” and respond by withdrawing from life’s demands or from their own inner life or by overcompensating, ie responding too aggressively to the perceived threat. This often leads to making decisions that are not conducive to their well-being or achievement of life’s developmental tasks. The longer this continues, the less options may be available.
However, I also discovered that it is never too late to improve something in your life that you really want to change, to learn new skills, treat yourself with compassion, to connect to yourself and to others and to find meaning and valued directions. In other words, it is never too late to start doing what you can with what you have, wherever you are right now.