Peter De Santis, M.A., Registered MBACP (Accred)
Hello and welcome, I am an experienced, accredited psychotherapist/counsellor working in Shoreditch. People come to see me for a variety of reasons, such as:
- anxiety and stress
- relationship issues and family issues
- depression, low mood, feeling sad, and lack of motivation
- panic attacks
- gender/sexual identity issues
- loss or bereavement
- low self-esteem or low self-confidence
- social anxiety
- feeling lost and lacking general meaning or direction in life
I aim to provide a secure, open, non-judgemental, and trusting environment so that through self-understanding you are able to discover effective ways of supporting yourself.
My client base is varied, and my clients often describe me as warm and attentive.
My therapeutic approach is based on Existential Psychotherapy, but it also incorporates other approaches, making my style overall eclectic.
Existential Psychotherapy is based on philosophical ideas that acknowledge people's tendencies to feel uncomfortable or distressed as a result of dealing with life circumstances, whilst also encouraging people to take ownership of their lives by making meaningful decisions based on their own unique set of values.
While Existential Psychotherapy serves as a general foundation for how I work with clients, my approach also involves my incorporating a variety of ideas and methods that are helpful or effective according to your own personal needs and circumstances. These include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Gestalt Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Compassion-Focused Therapy. I also value evidence-based findings which help inform my work.
In practice, my role is to facilitate a space for you so that you can process and understand your uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, and gain awareness and autonomy in dealing with your difficulties. I aim to be present and interactive with you, helping you to discover the relationship you have with yourself and others, the role you play in your current situation, and the difficulties you want to understand or resolve. I will also be reflecting back what I have observed and heard so that you can gain valuable insights, enabling and empowering you to see things from different perspectives, and opening up opportunities to make more informed and authentic decisions.
Other relevant information
Every individual processes things at different speeds, and so the work we do will accommodate the pace in which you feel most comfortable. Moreover, while much of the work occurs in the counselling room, the majority of personal work can be done in-between sessions. I offer both short and long-term limited work, and we will discuss how appropriate whatever option would be best for you.
A major aspect of psychotherapy or counselling tends to be about facing uncomfortable feelings. Understandably, this can be overwhelming and distressing. My role is help you discover effective ways of approaching and coping with uncomfortable feelings, which is part of the therapeutic process.
The past can be a major source for understanding why you may feel the way you do, or why you’re currently experiencing a difficult situation, and this is an area that I am open to explore. However, it is important to consider working with how you are in the present, as it is only in the present that any change or clarity might occur.
I offer both short and long-term limited work, and we will discuss how appropriate whatever option would be best for you. Short-term work usually involves working between 1 to 15 sessions, and long-term work covers any period longer than 15 sessions. Longer-term work enables you to explore your difficulties at much greater depth.
As a practitioner I am offering to share my time, knowledge and experience with you so that we can work through things together in ways that may be challenging but also life-changing.
Some background information
After completing a Fine Art degree and working in a career as an artist/designer for many years, I became a little dissatisfied. I have always been curious about the big questions in life and the complex nature of people's mental and social lives. This motivated me to try something different that involved a more intimate kind of engagement with people. Having now spent many years working in this profession, I feel grateful to be able to practice something I feel passionate about, not to mention that it is a great privilege to be invited into people's personal lives with the aim of supporting them.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have a Masters in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling from the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. For the past 10 years I have worked with many people dealing with a range of difficulties in a variety of contexts, including a charitable counselling centre, a prison, drug and alcohol recovery/rehabilitation centres, a secondary school, and I currently work as a student counsellor in a higher-education setting. This experience has encouraged me to develop my knowledge and skills in order to accommodate such a wide range of issues, which I still continue to develop and refine. My further training in other therapeutic approaches includes Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, and Solution-Focused Therapy, as well as having group facilitation training and experience.
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Career counselling
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship problems
- Work-related stress
My standard fee per 50 minute session is £70.
Below is some information about the therapeutic approaches I may use. Please note that I integrate aspects of different methods and ideas flexibly and fluidly, rather than just employing one main approach to deal with whatever difficulties clients bring. My general approach is to work moment-by-moment, sessions-by-session with clients, so as to personalise the experience to their needs as much as is possible in order to be helpful and for therapy to be effective.
Existential therapy is based upon existentialism, a philosophical movement that centres on the themes of individualism, self-awareness, and autonomy. The core principles of existential philosophy and existential therapy arise out of the idea that at times life can be difficult, confusing, overwhelming, and full of uncertainty, but that by discovering a clearer sense of who we are and how we relate with ourselves and others, we can more courageously face these challenges. Working closely with client’s present-experience empowers them to develop a stronger sense of themselves, and thus enabling them to take more ownership of their lives.
Solution-focused therapy attempts to shift attention from focusing on problems to focusing on solutions. The more one spends thinking about problems (that either don’t change or become amplified) the more stuck in their problems people feel. By changing your focus in a positive way towards solutions you can begin to realise the hidden potential you have in approaching problems in general. In therapy, I will encourage you to spend time talking about solutions in an attempt to help you acquire new abilities in managing your difficulties. These new abilities can be used to channel your energy into more constructive, personalised, and practical ways of changing your situation.
Mindfulness is a method that has been growing rapidly over the last few decades. Being mindful is about observing, noticing or being aware of your moment-to-moment experiences. For example, you might notice the sensation that your feet have against the floor as you read this, or the way in which you're drawing breath. Mindfulness allows you to just notice these sensations or observations without engaging them analytically or emotionally. The general idea is that by not engaging you can realise that experience and sensation are transitory processes, that is, things change all the time; and by not engaging with your experiences you can liberate yourself from the habitual thinking and feeling that occupies your life which may be contributing to your difficulties. This also opens up a wider world for you to experience and explore as you notice many things that you may usually take for granted, and find some added peace in your life. Furthermore, one practises mindfulness non-judgementally, so that one can develop a stronger sense of self-compassion and understanding of one-self and others.
This is a very popular kind of therapy that is typically defined by three major principles: (1) empathy, in which the therapist attempts to understand a client’s perspectives from the client’s point of view; (2) unconditional positive regard, relating to a client in a consistent, non-judgemental way; and (3) congruence, in which the therapist is genuine and transparent in how they relate and react to whatever the client brings. A person-centred counsellor offers clients a path to discover their own sense of themselves, enabling them to develop capacities for further growth.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
This method generally relies on the idea that how we think about things influences how we feel and behave. In therapy, the aim of both client and therapist would therefore be to learn about one's thinking patterns, and to discover alternative ways of thinking to make effective and helpful changes to one's emotional and behavioural responses in their lives. I tend to adopt some CBT ideas and techniques, which may include homework tasks, drawing connections between thought and behavioural patterns, using diagrams, conducting experiments, and psychoeducation.
What's the difference between psychotherapy and counselling?
Traditionally, counselling offers short-term work and focuses upon present problems, whereas psychotherapy offers more open-ended work, which therefore allows both for a “deeper” and broader exploration into any issues that may need more time and focus to work through. However, many features of both psychotherapy and counselling overlap and so I do not tend to make wide distinctions between them.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I see clients on Thursdays in Shoreditch.
Types of client
Supervision & training
Integrative Supervision with Peter.