I offer gestalt psychotherapy for individuals and couples in a welcoming dedicated therapy room on the ground floor of my home.
What is Gestalt Psychotherapy?
Gestalt is a holistic psychotherapy that can help you own and express your strengths as well as your vulnerabilities. Gestalt means 'configuration' and so we make sense of what is troubling you within the context of your life experience. Many things which people think of as wrong or bad are actually very sensible adaptations to harmful circumstances. Sometimes having to cope with difficult circumstances can leave us feeling blocked, overwhelmed, despairing, anxious, frustrated, lonely, deeply unhappy... to a degree beyond the usual 'bad patch'. This is when psychotherapy can really help.
What is different about it?
I think it is fair to say that in gestalt psychotherapy the therapist is more pro-active than with a person-centred approach. Through gentle dialogue, I can help you recognise aspects of your experience which you may be only partly aware of, or have discounted altogether. I may also help you pay attention to what is happening in your body, a resource which many of us become either numb or over-sensitised to, especially as a result of trauma.
Together we can identify and track the patterns which you may have set up in childhood, or as a result of trauma, in order to manage a particularly tough time. Such patterns often become entrenched, making it difficult to move on to a bolder, easier, happier way of being. And these stuck states can affect our relationships, or get in the way of us allowing someone to get close. Especially after trauma, learning to trust, and to hope, again, can be the main task of the therapy.
How does it work?
Most sessions are purely talk-based but Gestalt can also involve 'experiments' such as role-play or psychodrama, visualisation, or creating representations of issues using objects. When things feel stuck, doing something different like this can bring surprising new insights or emotional shifts. But there is never any pressure to work this way and clients who do not want to, do just as well sitting and talking.
The therapy room is well-equipped with art materials and I have led many groups in the therapeutic use of art and creative writing. Again, it is entirely a personal choice whether or not to include some creative expression in your work with me and I won't be disappointed if you don't!
What would happen if I make an appointment?
We would arrange an initial assessment session where we both check whether we are likely to work well together. It's important that you feel comfortable enough with me to have some confidence that I'm the right sort of therapist for you and to begin, at your own pace, to engage with the work. You can ask questions and get a feel for how I work. On my side I need to check that the issues you want to work on fall within my area of expertise. At this first meeting there is no obligation to continue. Sometimes people want to visit more than one therapist before making up their mind.
If we go ahead, I usually recommend a series of six weekly sessions with a review at the end. At this point, we will both be clearer about whether we need to continue and what our focus needs to be.
I also offer online psychotherapy by video link and email.
I have undertaken training in online therapy which enables me to work safely in this way, avoiding the common pitfalls which can befall those practitioners who haven't been trained in this modality.
Both video link and email can suit those who find it difficult to travel to face-to-face sessions or, for whatever reason, to leave their home. Video sessions are of course similar to working in person, though there are extra safety concerns that need to be addressed. I find that working by email suits those who like to write, perhaps by keeping a journal, and who can gain extra value from having time to reflect on each exchange. This method also leaves you with a written record of our dialogues which can be useful in the future.
What else can you tell me about you that might help me take the first step?
My original training required a minimum of four years personal work as a client; I did much more. I will probably never tell you about it but when I am working with clients I often draw internally on my many years of personal therapy and plain old life experience, through many challenging times. My approach is one of having 'been there', or 'for the grace of....'
Training, qualifications & experience
1997 Postgraduate Certificate in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI)
1998 Postgraduate Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy (SPTI)
1999 MA Gestalt Psychotherapy (Distinction) University of Derby
2000 Mairi Evans Prize for Outstanding Achievement (SPTI)
Between 2006 and 2012 I ran many groups and workshops in Creative Writing for Self-Discovery, Splodging (expressive art), Writing Your Life Story, and self-exploratory work 'in the field' (outdoors) including several residential therapeutic courses on the Summer Isles off the West Coast.
2018 OCST Online Counselling Skills Diploma (with Distinction)
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Asperger's syndrome
- Attachment disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Panic attacks
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship problems
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
Other areas of counselling I deal with
- Childhood emotional neglect
- Complex PTSD
- Cult recovery
Sessions for individuals last for one hour and cost £50, payable in cash at the end of each session or in advance by bank transfer.
I recommend 90 minute sessions for couples for which the fee is £70.
I have a special interest in 'minority stress', a topic rarely mentioned in most practitioner trainings. I like to support people who feel marginalised by cultural conventions to find ways to thrive within, around, or outwith those 'norms'.
LGBTQIA people including non-binary and those questioning their sexuality or gender identity, are very welcome. I also work with partners or family members affected by a loved one's 'coming out'.
I also have an interest in recovery from involvement with cults and in reclaiming one's life after Narcissistic Abuse or having a parent, partner or boss with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Monday to Thursday
Types of client