Pernille Finegan: Psychotherapy, Couple Counselling, Supervision, Focusing
Are you here because of a recent event or have you been considering counselling for a while? Do you know what the issues are or are you unsure about exactly what is going on? I might be able to help. I am a highly skilled and experienced therapist, couple counsellor and clinical supervisor, offering the kind of environment where you can make sense of what is happening and find a way forward.
How do you know if I am the right therapist for you? Let me tell you a bit about myself so you can make an informed decision. I qualified as an integrative psychotherapist in 2009 and since then have undertaken several more trainings (see separate heading below) and courses to become a well rounded and informed practitioner. My style is relational, conversational and collaborative. I will offer insight and suggestions to help clarify exactly ‘what’ you are thinking and feeling, and making sense of ‘why’ that is, while thinking constructively about how to affect change.
Many studies have shown that the strength of the relationship you build with your therapist is the greatest indicator of success. This is a lot about chemistry! But I believe that my experience and knowledge combined with personal qualities of a clear mind and a warm and caring attitude inspire confidence and trust.
Below is a list of my areas of experience.
I would be more than happy to have an informal chat about anything to do with my practice before you make a decision.
Therapy works slightly differently for individuals and couples - please have a look under the heading that applies to you.
Individuals - Generalised
Please note that the list is not exhaustive and I may well be able to help even if you do not find yourself under one of these headings:
- Anxiety, panic and stress
- Depression, feeling sad
- Trauma: situational, prolonged and developmental
- Abuse: including bullying/ emotional, physical, sexual abuse
- Relationship issues: abandonment, attachment, conflict, anger, isolation, affairs and betrayals
- Feeling not able to cope, overwhelm, powerlessness
- Feelings of emptiness, lack of sense of self, identity issues
- Lack of purpose and meaning in life
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self harm
- Lack of self esteem, insecurity, low self confidence, shyness, worthlessness
- Anger / difficulty managing strong feelings
- Lack of direction, existential issues, spiritual issues, alienation
- Isolation and loneliness
- Climate/eco anxiety
Individuals - more specific issues
- Separations and divorce
- Family issues: parents, siblings, children and unsatisfactory relationships
- Problematic friendships
- Psycho-sexual problems
- Fertility issues, miscarriage
- Post natal depression/anxiety
- Menopause, change in life stage
- Bereavement and loss
- Work: relationships, stress, career issues, redundancy
- Disordered eating
- Obsessions and Compulsions
Couples often come to counselling when they have lost connection and / or are having a break down in communication. This may be caused by an event or may have evolved over time. This can lead to pain, misunderstandings and isolation. Unhelpful dynamics can arise leading to more disconnecting behaviours, thoughts and actions leaving both parties feeling stuck in a rut with no discernible way out.
Of course, one or both of the parties may well be experiencing other difficulties in their life (see headings for Individuals above) which may have caused or contributed to the current difficulties in relating. These issues would also, where appropriate, be brought into the counselling, but sometimes it can be helpful for that person to have individual therapy with another therapist at the same time.
Couple counselling can be an extremely helpful space in which to identify events, feelings, beliefs, misunderstandings and patterns of behaviour which contribute to the present difficulties. Many couples report that being in the calm contained presence of an impartial third party, and the offer of insight into what is going on, has helped them to see different perspectives and to move out of their current difficulties.
In my couple work I an informed by psychodynamic, systemic and behavioural theories, and also work with emotionally focused therapy.
Supervision has been defined as:
“ a joint endeavour in which a practitioner with the help of a supervisor, attends to their clients, themselves as part of their client practitioner relationships and the wider systemic context, and by so doing improves the quality of their work, transforms their client relationships, continuously develops themselves, their practice and the wider profession” (Hawkins & Shohet: Supervision in the Helping Professions, p. 60)
I received my supervision certification from Centre for Supervision and Team Development where I was trained by Robin Shohet and Joan Wilmot, and I have attended many of their CPD training days as well as being in a closed supervision group with Robin for a number of years.
I believe passionately in the benefits of supervision and it has always been an integral part of my own practice as a therapist and supervisor. I receive professional supervision as well as being part of peer supervisory relationships and participating in peer 'supervision of supervision' groups and reflective practice.
I have experience of offering individual and group supervision to both trainees and qualified therapists. I use the 7-Eyed Model of supervision as a basis for looking at the different dynamics that may be at play. On top of that I am happy to give particular attention to psychodynamic or humanistic / person centred modalities. I also have some knowledge of systemic theory, CBT and EFT. I increasingly use a focusing stance in supervision, tuning into the felt sense of what’s presenting. In this way an issue can be looked at from many different angles, often creating more space and possibility of understanding to find a way forward.
I see supervision as a collaborative and creative endeavour. Just like the therapeutic relationship it is based on trust, reflection and exploration.
I was the Placement Co-ordinator at Balham Community Counselling Service, a low cost counselling service where I oversaw the intake of trainee counsellors, and supervised trainees from many different modalities, individually and in groups.
I offer some concessions to trainees and newly qualified therapists.
I offer group supervision by arrangement.
Training, qualifications & experience
Training and experience:
I have been working in busy private practice as a therapist, counsellor, couple counsellor and clinical supervisor since the 2000s.
I was the Placement Co-ordinator at Balham Community Counselling Service, a low cost counselling service, where I oversaw the intake of trainee counsellors and supervised trainees from many different modalities, individually and in groups.
I offer free short term counselling to climate activists under the auspice of Climate Psychology Alliance - see https://www.climatepsychologyalliance.org/
- PG Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy from CCPE (integrative training)
- Diploma in Couple Counselling from the Relate Institute
- Certificate in Psychosexual Relations and further training in psychodynamic couple work from the Tavistock Centre for Couples Relationships (now Tavistock Relationships)
- Certificate in clinical supervision from CSTD
- 2 year Focusing Oriented Therapy training with London Focusing Institute
- Further training in multi modal CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
- Certificate in Transpersonal Dreamwork (CCPE)
- Part 1 EMDR and Phase 1 Brainspotting (trauma)
- Reiki I
- Mediation Training
Many shorter CPD workshops and weekends on a multitude of topics.
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
"That humans are having an unsustainable impact on Earth may have a become a familiar message – but it is still a difficult message to hear. It presents us with a complex challenge given our reluctance to face change. I believe that psychological understanding can help with the wide range of complex individual and cultural responses to the environmental crisis. Feelings such as anger, guilt, grief, terror, shame, anxiety, despair and helplessness are all appropriate reactions. But defences against these feelings – denial and disavowal – mean we have avoided taking the necessary action to address their cause. “Climate psychology” is a different kind of psychology. Rather than see these feelings as something to be “fixed” or “cured”, we see them as healthy understandable responses – human reactions that empathise directly with the planet.
In practice, what we do in climate psychology may not look that different from other psychological approaches on the surface. What is different is what lies underneath – how we think, see, reflect and respond. This includes exploring the unconscious dynamics that get in the way of us facing climate change reality, and confronting our denial and apathy. By using our understanding of psychic pain to help people face ecological loss that is already happening, we legitimise their grief. And by adopting a “climate change lens” through which we can see how the crisis is increasingly shaping the world, and which can bring people to therapy, we help people understand their distress.
The result, if we are willing to engage, is what sustainability expert Jem Bendell calls “deep adaptation”. We can change the way we feel about the crises, bring about a new connection – and then act.
In cases of people suffering from eco-anxiety and similar issues, the hope is to find paths towards a new world shaped by a deepening understanding of our relationship with the planet and how our future is ultimately entwined with the survival of other creatures."
Hickman, C. (2019). What psychotherapy can do for the climate and biodiversity crises. [online] The Conversation.
Focusing was developed by Eugene Gendlin and his then colleague, Carl Rogers, when they were investigating how and why therapy works. What they discovered was that the main factor in the patient’s success in therapy was not the therapist or the type of therapy, but the client's own relationship with their inner experience. If, in the session, the client paused in their speech, searched within for the right words, fumbled around for an image, for a sense of rightness to what they said or heard… then the therapy was a success.
The mission statement of The International Focusing Institute begins with the question "Why Focusing?" and gives this answer:
Everyone has the potential to access and live from their unique bodily-felt knowing. Focusing, a process grounded in experiential listening, is a powerful way of interacting with this body-felt knowing that leads to mutual respect, authenticity and compassion.
Your body knows more about situations than you are explicitly aware of. For example, your body picks up more about another person than you consciously know. With some training, you can get a bodily feel for the 'more' that is happening in any situation. From that bodily feel come small steps that lead toward resolution.
“What is split off, not felt, remains the same. When it is felt, it changes. Most people don't know this. They think that by not permitting the feeling of their negative ways they make themselves good. On the contrary, that keeps these negatives static, the same from year to year. A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change. If there is in you something bad or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be, and breathe. That's the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs.” Eugene Gendlin
All sessions last 50 minutes unless otherwise agreed.
£70 for an individual session
£85 for a couple session
£70 for an individual supervision session, some concessions available. Groups by arrangement.
I practice from a dedicated therapy room in my house which is situated about equidistant between Clapham South and Balham stations, approx. a 10-15 minute walk away. Buses stop on the road.
If you come by car there is ample parking on the street, some of it metered, and parking for other modes of transport directly in front of the house.
I am a member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy which has strict training and ethical requirements for its members.
I am also a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance
Code of Ethics:
I adhere to the UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct.
I maintain an up to date professional indemnity insurance with a reputable insurer at all times.
I had a previous career as a solicitor in the banking sector in the City of London.