Nicholas Smith UKCP Reg FPC - Couple and Individual Counselling
* I am seeing all my clients via teleconferencing during the pandemic *
A committed relationship lies at the heart of many people’s lives but few couples live together for long periods without arguments or conflict which can threaten to undermine or end the relationship. In a healthy couple relationship, both can be open about the fact that there were times when things got so bad there seemed to be little choice except to consider separation or divorce. Through overcoming these personal difficulties they create a unique bond - conflict can be a way of developing a partnership rather than signalling an end to it.
There are many reasons why couples clash and whilst couples can resolve their difficulties, constant arguments and what seems to be irreconcilable views can take their toll on a relationship and impact adversely on their well-being. Often when arguing the need to be right, to address what seems to be unfair, or to not feel belittled and feeling you have to defend yourself comes first and the wish to compromise and negotiate gets lost. Each person will bring different patterns for dealing with change and conflict to arguments. Some of these ways of relating will be learned behaviour from the past, usually from their family of origin.
Sometimes without realising it couples can drift apart and although there is little or no conflict neither is there a closeness or ability to communicate, something vital has been lost in the relationship.
The various stages of life which bring about changes can also exert enormous pressure and if a couple are not able to tolerate and accommodate each others different points of view this will result in arguments, stress, anxiety and unhappiness. Whilst many of these stages are welcomed they will also make an impact upon each person and the intimacy of the couple can disappear.
For example, the different transistions that can cause pressures are :
- moving in together - sharing the space/finances/chores
- the birth of children and combining work with childcare
- the mid-life crisis
- empty nest syndrome
- retirement and old age
As a therapist I listen in an impartial way and am mindful that there are two points of view that both need to be heard respectfully. I am interested in looking at how people relate and can help sustain the communication when feelings run high. I can help identify repetitive patterns and link them to current needs and concerns as well as relationships and unconscious conflicts from early in life. Working together we can come to understand the sources of the pain and hurt that has caused the rift in the relationship.
Please email me or call me if you have any specific concerns or questions.
With anxiety and depression at record levels in a world that can leave people feeling lonely and isolated despite the rise of social media, it can be hard to find someone to talk to face-to-face about your fears and worries. Adverse life events on top of the day-to-day pressures of work and family life can leave you feeling overwhelmed and struggling to cope. Those closest to you may be struggling with you so it can be helpful to have a professional to talk with during these times of difficulty.
Please email me or call me if you have any specific concerns or questions.
I am an experienced psychotherapist who has worked extensively with individuals, couples and groups for over a decade. I am a fully registered member of the UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy), and a member of the West Midlands Institute for Psychotherapy as well as the Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling.
My approach to counselling/psychotherapy draws on all aspects of my trainings. My training as a group therapist means that I keep the groups you belong to (family, work, friends etc.) in mind. The systemic approach (a pragmatic view that acknowledges the importance of your place within the family system, difference, and the realities of your current life situation) broadens the picture whilst the psychodynamic approach (which looks at how past experiences and relationships, particularly early ones, affect present day relationships both consciously and unconsciously) is perhaps the most important of all.
I undertake short and long-term therapy contracts depending on the needs of the individual or couple.
Training, qualifications & experience
My couples therapy training was at the Institute of Family Therapy then the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relations in London. I worked at counselling centres as well as charities from 2008 onwards with all sorts of couples prior to setting up in private practice. I have also worked with individuals and couples sub-contracted from the NHS as part of the Talking Therapies program, with West Essex MIND.
My initial training over seven years was as a Group Therapist at Westminster Pastoral Foundation (WPF) in London, and I was in my own therapy throughout. I have worked with groups as a trainer and practitioner ever since, most recently at the Group Therapy Centre, in Cambridge. I worked in depth with individuals in the course of my training, and further developed my experience in this area in working with patients referred by GPs whilst working for MIND as well as with the Cogwheel Trust, a charity based in Cambridge
My practice now runs out of Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Training in Group-Analytic Psychotherapy, Westminster Pastoral Foundation, London. (7 years part-time 1998-2005
Certificate in Graduate Certificate in Systemic Practice(Families and Couples), Institute of Family Therapy, London. (1 year part-time 2008-2009)
Diploma in Attachment, Psychoanalysis and the Couple Relationship, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relations, London. (1 year part-time 2009-2010)
Recent Professional Development
CONFER : Conference on Infidelity (January 2018)
Tavistock Relationships 70th Anniversary Conference- On Love (November 2018)
nScience: Couple Therapy- Anger & Aggression (March 2019)
Tavistock Relationships- Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Couples (June 2019)
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.
UK Council for Psychotherapy
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
Accredited Register Scheme
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
Your initial consultation as a couple will last for a full hour and costs £60, to be paid for at the end of the session. We can then make a decision about whether we wish to work together.
The fee for individual work is £50 for a full hour.
If we do decide to work together I prefer people to commit themselves to six sessions to have sufficient time to get a clearer idea of where the problems may lie. It may be that this is enough, however, together we may decide it is important to continue and to deepen the work.
Sessions take place on the same day at the same time and in the same place every week whenever possible though I can be flexible where people are working shifts or need to travel. I expect people to let me know at least 24hrs beforehand if they cannot make a session and I will endeavour to rearrange our meeting to minimise the disruption.
If you have any questions I'm happy to have a conversation, you can ring or email me whichever you prefer. I'm available for daytime and evening appointments, Monday to Thursday.
General information: Anxiety and Depression
Around one in five people in the UK suffer from anxiety, one third from anxiety or panic attacks and the same number from depression at some point in their lives. Two thirds of adults say they have experienced mental ill health at some point. In the midst of this pain people wish the illness to be acknowledged but also wish to deny it because of its bad reputation. The stigma relating to mental ill health persists to this day, despite more and more brave individuals in the press and elsewhere writing about their suffering
So how can counselling/psychotherapy help?
Where there is a relationship of mutual trust and respect, difficult thoughts and feelings can be expressed. For couples, things can be said that have sometimes never been said before to each other once it feels safe. Then when they are understood and accepted, it becomes possible to open up communication and to see things differently in order to bring back harmony, vitality and creativity in both the individual and the couple.