About me

Hello – and thanks for visiting my profile page. I provide what I hope is thoughtful and engaging talking therapy via Zoom, as well as face-to-face work at Battersea Rise, London. If you've got something on your mind that's been bothering you, then perhaps 2021 will be the year where you finally choose to start talking about it.

In brief
I see my job as a counsellor as helping people find ways of dealing with the difficult stuff that comes at us during our lives. It could be an immediate crisis, or long-running family or relationship issues, or a deep anxiety that seems to come from nowhere, or the gathering storm clouds of depression, or perhaps an issue or a sense of unease that has been nagging at us all our lives that we have never felt fully able to address.

My approach
Empathy, warmth, and, sometimes, just a bit of gentle humour: these are three aspects which I feel characterise my approach to counselling. There is science behind this too. Most clinical evidence on the effectiveness of talking therapies shows that the relationship between therapist and client is the biggest single factor in bringing about change – whatever ‘brand’ of therapy is being used.

More about my style of therapy
The therapy I offer falls broadly into the ‘psychodynamic’ category. This means we can think a bit about your past and explore how things might be getting repeated in the present. And it also means we can use aspects of the therapy room conversation to provide clues about patterns of relating in the world outside.

Some past experiences are so painful that talking about them can bring back overwhelming emotions: you may prefer simply to 'not go there'. Instead, we can work on how those experiences may still be affecting your life today, and how we can help you to get a bit more control over this.

By observing and noticing how we feel, behave and react in response to certain situations, we can ask whether it has to be like this, every time. Experience shows us that nothing in our lives is fixed forever. Our capacity for change is a constant surprise.


SOME PRACTICALITIES...

Getting started
If you drop me an email or text, we can fix up a 40-minute phone (or Zoom) session. There is no fee for this session, and it's a chance for you to talk about what’s prompted you to seek counselling, to ask me any questions you have, to think about how many sessions we'll need, and see if we there is availability that works for us both. Following the call, if you decide to go ahead with counselling, we choose a suitable day and time for the sessions, and book in the start date.

How many sessions?
We agree this between the two of us. We can have a focussed set of sessions (say just a half dozen or less) aimed at just one specific issue. However, the full benefit of talking therapy tends to play out over a longer time-frame. A set of 12 or 16 sessions, with the opportunity to renew, is a popular option. Some patients then choose to shift to an 'open-ended' contract with no specific end date.

Payment methods
There is no need to book a whole bunch of sessions in advance. Payment is made at the end of each session (I just send you a link to make a secure payment online). You can, of course, choose to end your counselling at any time.

Training, qualifications & experience

  • MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy; Birkbeck, University of London
  • Cert Higher Ed. in Psychodynamic Counselling and Organisational Behaviour; Birkbeck, University of London
  • BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics & Economics; Keble College, University of Oxford
  • MBACP - registered member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
  • More than 400 hours as a listening volunteer at Samaritans
  • Three years' experience as a therapist in a community counselling centre in south London
  • Author of Psychology: A Crash Course (Ivy Press, Brighton, 2019);
  • Book Review: Workplace intelligence: unconscious forces and how to manage them, Psychodynamic Practice, 2021.

Member organisations

BACP

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.

Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.

All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Accredited register membership

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

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.

Photos & videos

Fees

From £51.00 to £55.00
Free initial online session

Additional information

Online Therapy (via Zoom)
£51 per hour (off-peak, sessions starting 10am to 3pm)
£55 per hour (peak hours - sessions starting 8am & 9am,  4pm & 5pm)

Face-to-face therapy
£75 per hour (Central London, City, West End)
£65 per hour (South London area)

Outdoor Therapy (Walk + Talk)
£55 per hour
(Battersea Park, Clapham Common, Wandsworth Common, Tooting Common)

Availability

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning
Afternoon
Evening
Night

Monday to Friday: 7.30am to 6pm

Further information

Here are a few thoughts on how I work.

The free introductory session: this lasts up to 40 minutes, and is an opportunity for you to talk a bit about what's brought you to think about counselling, as well as to get a sense of what it's like actually talking to a therapist about what's going on in your life right now. It's a chance to get a sense of what the counselling relationship might feel like - and perhaps to 'try out' a few different counsellors on your shortlist.

Starting counselling: if you decide to go ahead, then the first couple of sessions will usually involve a look at your family history, so we can get a sense of your story right up to the present day, and some of the factors that may have helped to form your attitudes, beliefs, ways of dealing with others, or dealing with adversity. 

You're in the driving seat: as the sessions progress, what we talk about each week is driven by you. Rather than me saying 'let's focus on this today', the content of the session will be determined by you. There may be something pressing that has happened during the week, or which you have been mulling over - or you may come to the session with no specific idea of what you may talk about. Invariably, some kind of thought will bubble to the surface, and provide a clue as to what's on your mind, which will lead us into the work for that session.

Three related areas of experience: therapy draws on three related areas of experience that we all have: our earlier formative experiences with our families; our current lives and relationships with the people we know today; and the relationship that evolves with the therapist in the room (or over Zoom). These experiences from 'back then', 'out there' and the 'in here' tend to play off each other. If, for example, I developed a dislike for a man with a moustache in my early life, and my therapist happens to be a man with a moustache, then the 'back then' may be playing out with the 'in here.' 

Making and breaking connections: recognising patterns of behaviour or set ways of thinking can sometimes reveal old habits that are past their use-by date. What may have been a useful defence earlier in our lives may not be relevant any more, but we still use it.

Making sense of emotions: in a similar way, events in our lives today can sometimes trigger an unexpected emotional response. Why does someone go ballistic when someone else arrives late for a drink in a bar? Maybe 10% of this is ordinary irritation at being kept waiting around. But 90% could be left-over anger from a childhood spent waiting for an unreliable parent to turn up on time. Recognising these kinds of connections can help explain our feelings, which in turn makes them feel more controllable. 

A few milliseconds: the time it takes to be able to stand aside from ourselves and observe what's going on - to notice the emotion building and then let the thinking part of your brain kick in, noticing the surge of emotion and realising it may have nothing to do with what's going on in the moment.

Keeping the lid on the box: sometimes, we have unpleasant memories that we want to leave undisturbed, and with good reason. Rather than looking at those experiences themselves, we can talk about how they may play out as triggers in your life today. So we can then very carefully and sensitively start to approach looking at the triggers, and try to manage them so they impinge less on your life.

Of course, reading these brief notes you may not feel any of this applies to you right now - this is a very general set of thoughts aimed at giving just a flavour of how I think and work. Please do get in touch to talk further.

76a Battersea Rise
London
SW11 1EH

Clapham Common Clinic
151-153 Clapham High Street
London
SW4 7SS

Type of session

In person
Online
Phone

Types of client

Adults
Older adults

Online platforms

Zoom
Paul Carslake

Paul Carslake