Daniela Szukiel - CPsychol, BPS Chartered Psychologist

Daniela Szukiel - CPsychol, BPS Chartered Psychologist

16 Old Town

Tunstall Studios
34-44 Tunstall Rad

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16 Old Town

Tunstall Studios
34-44 Tunstall Rad

About me

I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist working in the NHS and private practice, with over 15 years experience in the study and practice of psychology. I currently work as a Senior Psychologist and a Clinical Lead in an in-patient acute psychiatric hospital.  I am also accredited as an Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor by the British Psychological Society.

I have particular expertise in helping with difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, managing intense emotions or relationship problems.  I am also experienced in working with more severe and enduring mental health difficulties, including those resulting from childhood adversity or trauma.

As a Counselling Psychologist I have specialist knowledge of many different treatment approaches. This means that therapy is bespoke and driven by the client, rather than trying to fit the client into a specific model.

Therapies I have training and experience in delivering include:

·    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
·    "Third wave" Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (eg Compassion Focused Therapy,                Mindfulness approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy);
·    Psychodynamic Therapy;
·    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT);
·    Schema-based therapy, Mentalisation-based therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy;
·    Somatic Psychology - this is my particular speciality, please see section below for            more information on this approach.

As a HeartMath® Certified Coach I use Biofeedback technology which measures heart-rate variability to indicate a level of balance in the autonomic nervous system.  The heart-rate variability can be affected by breathing and mindfulness techniques. Bio-feedback indicating that the heart-rate is becoming more regular is a powerful tool that helps helps individuals to achieve a calmer, more regulated and resourced state.

With practice, this state can be accessed on a more regular basis, in time becoming a new baseline level at which the individual operates and to which they can return more quickly after stressful situations. Please visit https://www.heartmath.co.uk for more information.  I have listed some general information on research regarding the efficacy of Heart-Rate Variability Biofeedback techniques on stress and anxiety further down in my profile.

If you want to discover how this technology can help you to transform your stress and boost your resilience join me for a Taster Workshop on Saturday 29 January 2019 from 3-5pm in Clapham Old Town.  Cost: £15.  Places limited to 6 participants.  Please contact me if you wish to book a place.

Psychological Therapy and Psychotherapy

Whilst anxiety lies at the heart of many difficulties people have, sometimes more targeted help is required.

With my experience in delivering evidence-based psychotherapy, I can help you understand what is causing your difficulties,  become aware of the things that might be keeping you stuck or making things worse, understand your emotions and learn different ways of responding to difficult situations.  Together, we can work to help you to make effective and meaningful changes in your life so that you feel more confident in coping with life's challenges.

I appreciate the often considerable anxiety people feel when deciding to come to therapy. I respond to that by offering a caring, compassionate and non-judgemental approach.  You can relax in knowing that I offer a safe and experienced pair of hands.  I will work with you collaboratively: we jointly and openly discuss goals of therapy, its structure, cost and duration thus giving you a sense of control over the process of therapy.

Most people experience immense relief when they finally share things that have troubled them for some time.  They feel their difficulties have been understood and can be addressed in a straightforward way. This in itself helps to lift mood and build confidence and self-belief.

What to expect

I offer a free Initial 20-minute Telephone Consultation and a Reduced Fee Face-to-Face Initial Consultation (£35) for us to meet and discuss in more detail your difficulties and your goals. If I am not able to offer you help at this time, I will endeavour to signpost you on to alternative services.

During the first few sessions after our first meeting we will explore your current concerns and any difficulties from your past. This will help us to build a picture of what’s going on for you, how your difficulties might have developed and what might be keeping them going.

From this we can develop a plan for therapy and agree a time-frame for our work.  This could be short-term (typically 8-12 sessions), medium term (typically 6-12 months) or longer-term. Three and six month follow up sessions are offered if appropriate.

My approach is well suited to people who have a preference for a therapist who is focused on tailoring the therapy to help you achieve your goals, shares their thinking regarding the clinical strategies they use, gives feedback on what is achievable and provides support on the journey of change.

Why choose a Counselling Psychologist?

Counselling Psychologists specialise in providing the highest quality therapy, 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.

What is Somatic Psychology?

Somatic Psychology is a fairly new and growing form of Psychotherapy that focuses on somatic experience, and the embodied self, including therapeutic and holistic approaches to the body.

In my experience of working with clients, somatic methods can help when people feel "stuck" and where their "rational" understanding of reality does not tally with their "emotional" understanding.  Somatic methods are helpful there as they can help to bypass the cognitive level (where self-beliefs are held cognitively) and access the more unconscious ways in which we learned to approach the world.

Having this direct experience helps us to have a "felt sense" for beliefs and ideas we may implicitly hold.  Once these are "felt", they can be understood, evaluated, and where appropriate, let go off.

These experiential, right-brain, insights are then processed and integrated more cognitively (through analytical left brain) and are used as basis for creating a treatment plan, habit trackers, action strategies etc.

This work can heal the often deep-seated pain of the past wounding and allows us to approach our precious life in a fresh way.  Somatic methods are especially helpful for people for whom the more cerebral, "left brain" approaches brought insight but no sense of emotional "shift".

I find that the combination of experiential somatic work with cognitive meta-processing keeps the therapy balanced between the need to attend to your inner world and the need to attend to external realities of your life.  Both streams of work nourish and support each other, as experiential insights are applied, practised and tested in the daily life.  Over time, people learn themselves how to access their feelings and how to use them as supports for navigating external realities.  They become their own therapists and my role is completed.

Biofeedback technology - measuring Heart Rate Variability as a way to reduce stress

Evidence base (from Wikipedia)

Vaschillo and colleagues (1983) published the first studies of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback with cosmonauts and treated patients diagnosed with psychiatric and psychophysiological disorders.[114][115] Lehrer collaborated with Smetankin and Potapova in treating pediatric asthma patients[116] and published influential articles on HRV asthma treatment in the medical journal Chest.[117] The most direct effect of HRV biofeedback is on the baroreflex, a homeostatic reflex that helps control blood pressure fluctuations.[118] When blood pressure goes up, the baroreflex makes heart rate go down. The opposite happens when blood pressure goes down. Because it takes about 5 seconds for blood pressure to change after changes in heart rate (think of different amounts of blood flowing through the same sized tube), the baroreflex produces a rhythm in heart rate with a period of about 10 seconds. Another rhythm in heart rate is caused by respiration (respiratory sinus arrhythmia), such that heart rate rises during inhalation and falls during exhalation. During HRV biofeedback, these two reflexes stimulate each other, stimulating resonance properties of the cardiovascular system caused by the inherent rhythm in the baroreflex,[119] and thus causing very big oscillations in heart rate and large-amplitude stimulation of the baroreflex.[120] Thus HRV biofeedback exercises the baroreflex, and strengthens it. This apparently has the effect of modulating autonomic reactivity to stimulation. Because the baroreflex is controlled through brain stem mechanisms that communicate directly with the insula and amygdala, which control emotion, HRV biofeedback also appears to modulate emotional reactivity, and to help people suffering from anxiety, stress, and depression[121][122][123][124][125]

Emotions are intimately linked to heart health, which is linked to physical and mental health. In general, good mental[126][127] and physical[128] health are correlated with positive emotions and high heart rate variability (HRV) modulated by mostly high frequencies. High HRV has been correlated with increased executive functioning skills such as memory and reaction time.[126] Biofeedback that increased HRV and shifted power toward HF (high-frequencies) has been shown to lower blood pressure[129] On the other hand, LF (low-frequency) power in the heart is associated with sympathetic vagal activity, which is known to increase the risk of heart attack.[130] LF-dominated HRV power spectra are also directly associated with higher mortality rates in healthy individuals,[131][132] and among individuals with mood disorders.[133] Anger and frustration increase the LF range of HRV.[134] Other studies have shown anger to increase the risk of heart attack,[135] so researchers at the Heartmath Institute have made the connection between emotions and physical health via HRV.

Because emotions have such an impact on cardiac function, which cascades to numerous other biological processes, emotional regulation techniques are able to effect practical, psychophysiological change.[129] McCraty et al. discovered that feelings of gratitude increased HRV and moved its power spectrum toward the MF (mid-frequency) and HF (high-frequency) ranges, while decreasing LF (low-frequency) power.[134] The Heartmath Institute's patented techniques involve engendering feelings of gratitude and happiness, focusing on the physical location of the heart, and breathing in 10-second cycles.[136] Other techniques have been shown to improve HRV, such as strenuous aerobic exercise,[137] and meditation.[138]

Stress reduction
A randomized study by Sutarto et al. assessed the effect of resonant breathing biofeedback (recognize and control involuntary heart rate variability) among manufacturing operators; depression, anxiety and stress significantly decreased.[150][

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 Somatic Psychotherapy, Mentalisation, Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Compassion therapy, Emotion focused therapy and Mindfulness.  I have a strong interest in the application of neuroscience 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 training in mental health I worked for a City law firm as a marketing manager and for a geophysical consultancy as a translator/interpreter.

Professional Registrations

- 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

Core Trainings

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).

Other trainings

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).

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited


Photos & videos

  • Clapham Consulting Room
  • Tunstall Rd Therapy Room



Individual Sessions – £65 per 50-minute session 
Individual session by phone/email/Skype - £50
Introductory Consultation - £35 per 50-minute session
Initial 20-minute Phone Consultation - FREE

Reduced fee sessions for people on lower income and students:  Wednesday 4pm and 5pm, Saturday 4pm.


In addition to the above fee structure, I also offer therapeutic packages to suit different personal and financial needs:

Package 1.  Weekly Sessions Regular: weekly sessions are most suitable for people who are not in immediate crisis, who want to bring in change into their lives and who would benefit from regular emotional support for their well-being.  Price: £65 per session.

Package 2. Weekly Sessions Intensive: weekly face-to-face sessions and online/telephone contact in between sessions to help you process and consolidate the experiential work we do in face-to-face sessions.  Designed for people who wish to work intensively to build a momentum for change in their lives and are able to take regular time in between sessions to do suggested exercises aimed at gaining self-understanding and building new skills and habits. Price: £330 pcm

Package 3. Fortnightly Sessions with phone/Skype support in-between: fortnightly sessions with two online/phone support sessions in between face to face appointments (total of 2 face-to-face plus 4 support sessions pcm).  Designed for for people who wish to bring change into their lives, need to reduce therapy costs and are motivated to work independently in-between face-to-face sessions   Contact time is one hour every other week face-to-face and two 30-minute phone/online session in between appointments, four times a month.  Price: £180 pcm

Package 4.  Fortnightly Face to Face sessions: once a fortnight face to face contact. Best for those who have achieved gains in therapy and want to continue slower but steady progress.  Price:  £130 pcm.

Please contact me to book an Initial Consultation (£35) that will help us understand your needs and help us decide if the packages I offer could be suitable for you.

Further 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.

Maps & Directions

London, SW4 0JY
London, SW9 8DA

Type of session

Online counselling: Yes
Telephone counselling: Yes
Face to face counselling: Yes

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


Wheelchair access: No

The therapy room is on the upper ground floor, and there are about 5 steps to access the floor level.


I am available on the following days: Wednesday evening: from 5pm to 9pm Saturday all day: from 9am to 4pm

Types of client

Young people
Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme

Supervision & training


Online supervision:Yes
Telephone supervision:Yes
View supervision profile