Richard Palmer MNCS (Accred), Social Anxiety Specialist
Anxiety can be an awful and lonely condition to live with. It is fantastic at making us believe that we’re not worthy, we’re useless, pathetic, ugly, stupid, not good enough and that everything that goes wrong must be our fault. It can make us feel panic for no apparent reason, have anxiety and panic attacks that drain us of energy for days and drive a wedge between us and the people we love and care about.
I know this because that’s how I felt for most of my teens and early twenties. At school and in my social life I really struggled with the belief that I wasn’t good enough. There were so many things that I wanted to do but couldn’t because inside I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do them without failing and looking stupid in front of everyone. Even little things like asking for help in a shop felt too difficult at times.
Approaching mid-twenties I faced the choice that we must all make – the same choice that has led you to read this story. I had to make the choice of whether to try to beat my anxiety or to let it beat me and spend the rest of my life with it.
I decided to try to beat my anxiety and take back control of my life. I started learning about psychology, researched methods that had helped other people to manage their anxiety and I had two lots of therapy – one of traditional counselling and one of CBT with the NHS.
Putting all of this together helped me to manage my anxieties, keeping the useful bits (because some anxiety is useful!) and discarding the not so useful bits.
As this process was coming to an end I started training to become a counsellor, certain that I wanted to help other people be happy. I qualified when I was 28 after 4 years of studying and now in my thirties, I help people to take control of their anxiety.
How can I help you to beat your anxiety?
If you read self-help books, access CBT through the NHS or Google ‘how to beat anxiety’ you’ll end up with loads of information about how to try to rationalise your thoughts and use logic to manage anxiety. This kind of information only looks at controlling the symptoms of anxiety, not the underlying cause. Doing this can be enough but the majority of people find that finding and resolving the underlying cause leads to a more permanent solution.
How we will work to manage your anxiety is to understand it. Anxiety is a perfectly natural and normal response to a real or perceived threat. By finding out what is threatening to you we can work on resolving that and you can hopefully carry on living your life.
These are three of the most common causes of anxiety:
- Anxiety can be caused by emotionally painful things that happened when we were growing up. These can shape how we view ourselves and if we view ourselves as useless or not good enough this can make us believe that we can’t deal with life.
- Comparing ourselves to other people can leave us feeling that we’re being left behind. We can start wondering why we’re not as happy or successful as they are which again can lead to the belief of not being good enough.
- Not knowing where we are heading with our life. We all have those moments when the future looks and feels uncertain, it’s a pretty uncomfortable feeling! And to a certain extent, the future is uncertain because we never really know what is coming. It’s easy to become lost here and not be able to move out of this moment.
You are a unique individual and your experience of anxiety will be unique. Because of this, I am trained to use a number of different types of therapy that we can use:
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a powerful way of identifying the cause of anxiety, the processes which are keeping it going and helping us to plan the best way to beat it.
Person-centred exploration allows you take the lead in what to discuss each session. It is very useful for working through the original cause of anxiety and finding a way for you to move forward.
Creative techniques, such as drawing or using clay, are a fantastic way to help you show what is going on for you. Being creative is also a great way to have some fun and is helpful if you are very anxious during the session.
Transactional analysis (TA) can help us to explore how anxiety affects you when talking to other people. We can use TA to help you learn ways of talking to other people whilst keeping any anxiety in check.
Regardless of the method that we use the basic principles are the same. We will work together in a friendly, supportive and collaborative way. You will never be judged or criticised by me. Counselling is a highly confidential activity which is focused on helping you.
I have a private and comfortable room in the centre of Bridgwater so it's easy to find and there is plenty of parking nearby.
Training, qualifications & experience
My qualifications include:
- Advanced Certificate in Relationship Therapy - 2 years of training
- Higher Diploma in Counselling Practice - 2 years of training
- Advanced Certificate in Counselling Skills - 1 year of training
- Certificate in Counselling Skills - 1 year of training
It is important to me that I am able to offer you the very best chance to reach your goals. To do this I attend additional regular training sessions throughout the year which include:
- Sex and love addiction
- Advanced couples counselling - sex and ageing
- Working creatively with clients
- Treating social anxiety disorder
- Advanced couples counselling - couples in conflict
- Working with anxiety
- Working with clients using techniques form Gestalt theory
- Pregnancy loss
- Working with clients using techniques from transactional analysis
- Domestic abuse training
My main training placement was with New Dawn Counselling Service in Weston-super-Mare. I successfully worked with a variety of clients of all ages, backgrounds and difficulties.
Aside from experience of working with clients I also:
- Mentor trainee and newly qualified counsellors
- Give presentations to trainees in colleges
- I am the Chairman of one of the largest counselling charities in the South West
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Family issues
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Internet addiction
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- Panic disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Photos & videos
Our initial meeting can last for up to 1 hour and is free. The initial meeting is a chance for us to meet and discuss your anxiety. I will give you some information about how I work and you will have a chance to ask me any questions that you have.
Fees for individual sessions are £40 for 60 minutes.
Fees for relationship counselling are £50 for 60 minutes.
I am able to offer concessions if it would be difficult for you to pay the full fee.
You can pay by cash at the start of each session or by bank transfer before each session.
Appointments can be held weekly or fortnightly.
Are you ready to beat your anxiety?
The first step is to give me a call or text me on 07908 861505 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may not answer straight away but I will always reply as quickly as I can. If you don't like talking on the phone that's not a problem, just let me know in your text or email and I'll make sure that I text or email you back instead of calling.
I'll invite you in to have a free initial meeting with me which, depending on availability, will usually be within a couple of days. This meeting can last up to an hour but normally only takes 30 minutes. During the meeting I'll take some basic admin information from you, explain my confidentiality and data protection policies, we'll discuss how you're feeling and I'll give you some information about how we might work to manage your anxiety.
You'll also have a chance to ask me any questions that you want and you can then decide if you'd like to work with me or not. If you're not sure if you want to work with me that's not a problem at all, I'm perfectly happy for you to take a few days to consider it. It's important that you work with the counsellor who feels right for you, if I'm not that counsellor then I'll be very happy to give you the details of some other people in this area who may be able to help you.
If you would like to work with me then we'll book our first appointment which will usually be within a week of us meeting.
I know that the thought of opening up to someone can be scary (if not terrifying!) but remember, you are in control. We'll go at your pace to discuss what is important for you. I work very hard to be friendly and supportive during counselling and so far no one has left because I'm scary!
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I offer flexible appointments Monday-Friday from 9:30-20:00. I may be able to offer you a Saturday appointment if you cannot come during the week.
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|