Daniela Szukiel - CPsychol, BPS Chartered Psychologist
I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist working in the NHS and private practice, with over 17 years experience in the field of Counselling Psychology. I currently work as a Senior Psychologist in NHS. I am also accredited as an Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor by the British Psychological Society.
I help people find effective ways to regulate mood, manage anxiety or address relationship problems. I am also experienced in working with more severe and enduring mental health difficulties, including those resulting from childhood adversity or trauma.
Working with you I help you address the difficulties that bring you to therapy as well as provide you with life-long resilience skills that you will be able to use after our work ends to successfully manage life challenges.
I have specialist knowledge of many different treatment approaches and therapy I provide is is bespoke and driven by your needs and what could work for you, rather than trying to fit you into a specific model. As a Counselling Psychologist my core training is in CBT, psychodynamic and humanistic therapies. In addition to these well-established and evidence-based therapies, I also incorporate mind-body methods supported by the rapidly-evolving fields of neuropsychology and somatic psychology.
These approaches can be particularly suitable for people who have tried cognitive or analytic approaches and gained understanding but have not experienced change in feelings or behaviours. Working both with the mind and the body allows us to access the wisdom of the "body-mind" and achieve often a rapid change: once the physical sensation underlying the emotional state is fully experienced, information communicated by the emotions can then be processed and understood by the thinking brain. This has potential to profoundly alter the belief system and change behaviour.
Please see the section below on "Somatic Psychology" where I provide more information on the mind-body approach. I also have training and experience in delivering therapies such as EMDR, DBT, Mentalisation-based therapy, Compassion-focused therapy, Mindfulness and others.
How can I help?
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. After the first session, 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.
In that first session, I also address fear some people have that therapy will make them feel "dependent" on the therapist. I respond to that fear from the start by working 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. You are a partner in the therapy process and we openly and regularly share our understanding of what is happening and how it is working for you.
What to expect
I offer a free Initial 20-minute Telephone Consultation and a Reduced Fee Face-to-Face Initial Consultation (£40) 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. I operate a waiting list for when I do not have an immediate vacancy or the space I have is not suitable for you.
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 about 12 sessions), medium term (typically 6-12 months) or longer-term for more chronic and severe difficulties. Three and six month follow up sessions after the work has ended are offered if appropriate.
My approach 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 in giving feedback.
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.
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. For example, a person may rationally know there is "no need" to feel anxious before going to a social event, yet that cognitive knowledge does not help to eliminate the often debilitating anxiety.
Somatic methods are helpful as they can address more directly the bodily experience of anxiety. For example, re-experiencing sensations of anxiety in the the session can considerably lessens the fear of it outside of therapy. In session, we also learn techniques for grounding and calming the body which can be used outside the session. Finally, we can learn to distinguish "realistic" anxieties related to valid threats to our well-being from states of hyper-activation related to the past experiences when we might have felt unsafe.
Distinguishing "realistic anxieties" from "re-experiencing anxieties from the past" is an important life skill. When we are faced by realistic anxieties, we need to problem-solve and take action. When past anxieties are re-experienced we need to find ways to manage our fears so that we do not avoid things that make us anxious (and thus create more difficulties in our life, which then can add to our anxiety!).
In other words, somatic therapy can be an extremely effective tool that can teach us how to manage our feelings so we can be more effective in pursuing of our life goals.
Over time, people learn themselves how to understand and manage their feelings and how to use them as supports for navigating life. They become their own therapists and my role is completed.
HeartMath® Certified Coach
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 see https://www.heartmath.co.uk for more information and let me know if you have an interest in trying this approach.
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.
- 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
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).
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
SERVICES AND PRICES
Individual Psychological Therapy Session (face-to-face) – £75 London SW4, £65 Faversham ME13
Online Sessions - £60
Introductory Consultation - £40
Initial 20-minute Phone Consultation - FREE
Availability: currently online sessions only: Monday 9am-5pm, Wed 10am -1pm, Sat 9am-1pm
INSURANCE PROVIDERS: I am registered with AXA, Aviva, Vitality Health and BUPA. I can obtain registration with other insurance providers - please enquire.
Please contact me to book an Initial Consultation (£40) that will help us understand your needs and help us decide if the approach I offer would be suitable for you.
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.