Myrena Mercken-De Braekeleer
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quality of relationships are closely related and of significant influence on each other.
Being heard alone or together with some else who really matters to you, dynamically exploring your own and each other's different perspectives, beliefs and experiences is useful in improving communication and developing a better understanding of one self and each other. Working in a way that suits my clients my focus is on moving forward. At times though, there is the need to look back and think about past experiences and their impact on what is happening now.
It may result in managing challenges more efficiently or finding a solution or a new approach or appreciation and support from those you care about. Change sometimes comes in ways we did not expect as we work together towards change that fits all, not just one...
As fully qualified, accredited and UKCP registered Systemic Family Psychotherapist (also know as Family Therapist or Systemic Psychotherapist) I keep an open mind about someone’s need for assistance as it can be triggered by many factors; a specific event in one’s own or a close person’s life, a problem that has existed for a long time, one that has developed gradually or one that seems to have come out of the blue….
I assist couples and families to have conversations that may be too difficult (and sometimes scary) to have without support. Sometimes someone wants to just come on their own and find words for their thoughts. Formulating ideas before joining with their partner or other family members is often found to be useful.
I bring my experience, professional expertise and training in different approaches. Clients are the experts of their own situation, they bring the best knowledge of their own circumstances; their feedback is essential in tailoring the work we do together.
Family therapy focuses specifically on relationships. Whilst an individual person may struggle, problems show up within relationships, it is also where change can happen. Anxiety or depression experienced by one person will most likely affect some, if not everyone else in the family.
Family Therapy has a strong evidence base for effectiveness for problems for both adults and children. There is no need to wait to seek help until challenges have grown too big to manage. In attending to family issues whilst they are just developing, families find more effective ways to assist their children to develop the resilience needed in our society and develop more stable mental health. In the process of therapy I assist clients to mobilize their resources. Their strengths offer a healthy basis to build on, in finding new ways to relate and communicate with each other.
The work I do can stand alone or be part of a wider plan, with or without other services involved. Current work can be face to face or by Zoom.
Examples of some of the issues I work with are:
anxiety and worry, separation from parents or children, depression, stress, feeling sad, mental health issues, relationship issues, identity problems, spirituality, faith, parenting issues, cultural issues, anger management, family transitions, care for children other than birth children, relational conflict, adjustment of families to a new partner...
When I think of family or couple, I go beyond the traditional and stereotypical meaning of the words. 'Family' may include your grandchild, someone else's child you look after, an aunt, uncle or grandparent or close friend, or it may be the group of friends that are closest to you. Family can include all ages, or just be a group of all grown-ups. 'Couple' includes same sex partners or people across the whole range of sexual orientation.
Evidence for the effectiveness of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy
Current Research evidences a solid basis for the efficiency of Family Therapy for both adult and child difficulties. Family Therapy is not restricted to a specific condition; research is showing that the benefits of Family Therapy reach beyond the problem clients seek help for and that there is continued improvement after successful completion of Therapy. There is also good evidence to show that Family Therapy enhances the effectiveness of other intervention when combined together.
Training, qualifications & experience
- MSc Family and Systemic Psychotherapy (Post Qualification University of Bedfordshire/Institute of Family Therapy London) UKCP Registered
- Post Qualification Diploma in Systemic Practice with Families and Couples (Institute of Family Therapy London)
- Post Qualification 1 Social Work (Bournemouth University)
- Dip Social Work (Ghent, Belgium) - Social Care England Registered
- Accredited Triple P Practitioner (Positive Parenting Program)
- Mellow Parenting/Incredible Years (Parenting Programs)
- Language Acquisition made Practical (Delhi/Kathmandu)
- Cross-cultural living and world religions (Hertfordshire)
- Continued Professional development in different cultural and employment contexts
Registered with the UK Council for Psychotherapists (UKCP)
Full member of the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Psychotherapy (AFT)
In my practice I adhere to the ethical guidelines of the UKCP and the Association for Family and Systemic Psychotherapy. I remain keenly involved in Continued Professional Development and attend monthly Clinical Supervision.
I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and adhere to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
My professional career includes research, life and work in Continental Europe, Asia and the UK. This has amongst others included work with individuals, couples, young people and families with a wide variety of high levels of need.
Others before you have benefitted from varying levels of support in their couple relationship, parenting and emotional self-regulation relating to anger, anxiety and depression. A few other examples of what clients have been helped with include stress, eating disorders, issues of neurodiversity, trauma and the long term impact of abuse.
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.
The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is a leading professional body for the education, training and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.
As part of its commitment to protect the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.
UKCP standards cover the range of different psychotherapies. Registration is obtained by training or accrediting with one of its member organisations, or by holding a European Certificate in Psychotherapy. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
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
Feel free to contact me, also if what you want to talk about does not necessarily fit with what is listed above. You do not need a diagnosis to be seen.
£40.00 - £80.00
Free initial telephone session
Concessions offered for
Initial 20min Phone Consultation: free
Introductory Session: £40
Families: £60- £100/hour (depending on number of family members and age of the children)
Consultations and Reflective Sessions: £40- £100/hour
Fees for Organisations and Corporate Clients are available upon request
In an attempt to keep both Therapy accessible to as wide a range of people as possible and consider the costs involved in providing Therapy I have introduced a price range rather than a fixed price for some services.
It is important that the financial aspect of therapy is manageable for you during this time of support. Agreeing a fee is part of our conversation before or during the initial session.
If you like, you can contact me for a 20 min free consultation by phone.
If I am not available, feel free to leave a message on my mobile; I aim to reply within the same day.
When I work
Appointments are available between 8am-9pm.
Here are a few questions about Family Therapy that you may be curios about. If you want to know more or have very different questions, feel free to contact me for further information.
Who can attend?
Families (I use this word in the widest possible meaning, including any variation to the stereotypical mother-father-children setting, it can also include other people you have a close connection to)
Sometimes it may be useful to only see the parents or one family member for a few sessions.
What happens in the first session?
When you come for a first session, I will be most interested to hear everybody's ideas about what the problem is, what you would hope happens and what you hope to achieve. There will also be some 'housekeeping tasks' like taking some details, explaining about confidentiality, data protection and answering any questions you may have. And so a first session may take longer than an hour.
This first session experience which is very useful in itself, may help you to decide whether this kind of support is suitable to you.
How often would I attend a session?
In Family Therapy, sessions are usually at two or three week intervals. However there are no rigid rules and sometimes it is useful to have weekly sessions, it depends on your situation and where we are in the work together. We may start off weekly and increase time in between appointments up to three weeks. When we are nearing the end of our work together, appointments could be spread further apart. We would talk about this and decide what is most suitable for yourself.
Some clients like to return for a review several months later.
Even one session can be beneficial.
How long would I need to attend Family Therapy?
Family Therapy can already be useful in 6-12 sessions with a midway review, depending on the presenting problems. You may benefit from fewer sessions. Some families or part of the family may want to attend more sessions. For some longer term engagement may be beneficial. However, how long the work goes on for will be part of our conversation when we review our work together so that it is fitting for you and your situation.
The Association for Family and Systemic Psychotherapy (AFT, of which I am a member) has published 'What is Family Therapy?', which you may want to have a look at. On the mainland Family Therapy is well established and integrated in a wide range of services.
It is reassuring that for most of us the serious constraints that Covid-19 brought are at the moment behind us. For me as a Therapist this means that face to face work has become possible for a significant period of time.
Some people are already used to having conference calls or meetings online, younger people may just have 'naturally' developed this relationship with internet technology. During Covid-19 and lock-down many of us got acquainted with online means to contact family or friends, but you may be doubtful whether this can be used for therapy?
I have opted for Zoom as it complies with the ground rules about data protection. Access to a session is password protected and on invitation only.
Online work has been and remains widely discussed among therapists, on how to make the most of it and give our clients the best possible service. Whilst virtual work takes some adjustment as it is not quite the same as sitting in the same room, experience of it is found to be positive for both client and therapist and current findings are that content of the sessions is not constrained by working on screen.
Face to face meetings have an extra dimension that virtual work can not offer. There are some circumstances where virtual work does not meet the clients' needs.
You can call for a free consultation about questions about therapy via Zoom. This comes without obligation to start therapy as you need to feel confident with the choices you make. I am happy to assist you with practicalities as much as possible.