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About me

No two people are the same and our problems in life can start for different reasons. I aim to help you make sense of your own story in your own circumstances and so therapy is tailored to your individual needs and to your own manageable goals.

I am an accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist but also draw on other approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mentalization-based Treatment (MBT). These approaches invite you to be the observer of your own life and to take part in what needs to change.

The types of difficulties I tend to work with are :

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Complex trauma - linked to childhood abuse, bullying, an abusive relationship, military service or experiences linked to the troubles in Northern Ireland.
  • Career and life changes
  • Stress
  • Difficulties within your relationships
  • Self-harm or self-defeating behaviours
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anger
  • Addictions.

this is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to contact me to talk further if you would like.

Training, qualifications & experience

Qualifications

  • Cognitive Analytic Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Mentalisation Based Treatment 
  • MA Sociology 
  • BA (Hons) Social Work

Experience

My background is in Mental Health Social Work and until recently I worked solely within the NHS. I initially worked within community social care settings - as a homelessness worker and then working with people with sensory loss. After qualifying as a social worker I worked within community mental health and mental health crisis care, developing a broad understanding of the common types of mental health difficulties we can experience in adult life. I also began to develop an understanding of different psychological approaches used to support people experiencing depression, anxiety and low self-esteem before working within a complex cases service. This service supported people with a diagnosis of personality disorder. Within this post, I trained in Mentalisation Based Treatment (MBT), an approach that helps to make sense of our thoughts, beliefs, wishes and feelings and to link these to our actions and behaviours. I also undertook introductory training in Group Psychoanalysis and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) before deciding to train as a Cognitive Analytic Therapist (CAT).

Throughout my CAT training, I continued to work in crisis mental health whilst also working in a psychological medicine service as a trainee therapist. Cognitive Analytic Therapy is described as a “radically social” form of psychotherapy and it is this approach that drew me to train in it. Its focus on the “world within us, the world between us and the world around us” (Steven Potter 2020) makes CAT a flexible and accessible therapy that can be used to develop understanding and insight from a variety of standpoints. In this way, I have found that CAT is often helpful in untangling what can feel like complex and overwhelming difficulties in a user-friendly way. I have worked as a Therapist within an eating disorder service, a crisis and home treatment service and an acute admissions ward. I also have experience working with people with what is sometimes referred to as medically unexplained symptoms (for example non-epileptic seizures)

I’ve used CAT in a variety of settings, including developing its use within a Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Service - as a direct intervention with individuals, as a case formulation approach for indirect work and supporting staffing groups as a model for reflective practice. I have developed a deep appreciation of how useful CAT’s relational approach can be in working with people and teams who feel stuck and unable to make changes by themselves.

In my work I am repeatedly inspired by the people I meet and the courage and strength they show in transforming their lives while facing what can seem like insurmountable hurdles or lifelong problems. This confirms for me that no matter how difficult things are or may seem, we can all have great resilience and a capacity for learning, change and growth throughout our lives. I believe that change and growth in this context happens through the collaborative, warm and trusting relationship that psychological therapy offers. This allows us to develop awareness and insight into the difficulties we experience and to discover more helpful ways of managing them.

Member organisations

ACAT

The Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy

The Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) is a registered charity. They welcome members of the public, health professionals, ACAT accredited professionals, and anyone interested in finding out more about CAT. They list CAT practitioners.

Therapies offered

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
  • Walk and Talk Therapy

Photos & videos

Fees

£65.00 per session
Free initial telephone or online session

Additional information

My hope is that in looking through my profile and being curious about entering in to therapy you are looking to choose an approach that works best for you. My fees represent the experience I bring to therapy and the type of therapy I offer. As far as I am aware I'm the only registered and accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist in Northern Ireland. 
 
Therapy Indoors

Face-to-Face

Depending on your location you may prefer to meet Face to Face. I have a consulting room in my home.

On-line therapy 

People access therapy online for many reasons, for example, it may be difficult to find the right therapist in your local area, or you may have child care to think about, or simply prefer being seen when you are in your own home.  

I feel that it is important that the setting should mirror as far as possible a traditional consultation and so I like to check with you that you will be able to access online appointments in a place that feels private and safe. I use Zoom as it is encrypted and protects your privacy. 
 
Therapy Outdoors

Talking therapy outdoors combines the conventional outcomes of therapy indoors with the known benefits that the natural world has to offer. 

The North Coast of Ireland has a dynamic range of beaches, hills and forests that can contribute to developing psychological flexibility. Depending on your aims for therapy,  your personal preference and location we can talk about what may work best for you. 

Availability

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning
Afternoon
Evening
Night

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 

Further information

Testimonials 

"From the first email I sent inquiring about counselling services to the last session we had together, Michael always struck an excellent balance between being professional in his practice but also incredibly friendly and warm to talk to".
L (he/him)

“My mental state has been a lot stronger and it has been thanks to the meetings with you”
N (he/him)

“His approach was very comforting and new, it didn’t make me feel like I was being looked at clinically, but as a real human being which was so important to me” 
J (she/her)

“The diagrams you did really helped me make sense of the problem”
D (he/him)

“Thank you so much for taking part in our training package today. You were absolutely brilliant. The participants loved the presentation and many of them mentioned yours as one of the best parts of the day.”
—Mental Health and Relational Awareness workshop for professional Journalists. 

“I really appreciated just taking time to acknowledge how the pandemic is having an influence and reflecting on it. Every online interaction so far has been incredibly work focused with no social/relational element or chance to process.”
— Small group workshop reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic and our reactions to it. 

“It gave me the time to sit and think about what problems we are facing and with the problem being defined like that [using CAT and relational awareness] it was much easier to come up with “exits” or to acknowledge what “exits” have already been developed without realising it.”
— Small group workshop reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic and our reactions to it. 

Coleraine
County Londonderry
BT51

Type of session

In person
Online

Types of client

Adults
Organisations
Employee Assistance Programme

Key details

DBS checked

I'm happy to discuss accessibility, and aim to work flexibly to accommodate most needs.

Online platforms

Zoom

Social

Michael Napier, Cognitive Analytic Therapist

Michael Napier, Cognitive Analytic Therapist