Silvia Baba Neal, CTA (P), MSc. TA Psychotherapy, UKCP reg
I am a fully qualified psychotherapist informed by neuroscience, attachment theory and research. I seek to engage with my clients fully in a two-way dialogue about how the quality of our relatedness informs us and shapes our sense of self and our perceptions.
Over the years I have worked with people from all walks of life and backgrounds: students, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, builders, pensioners.
My style of working is interactive, compassionate and here-and-now focused (relational).
*I run a special clinic for men, conducting gender-sensitive psychotherapy
I have a particular interest in working with anxiety disorders (panic attacks, generalised anxiety, avoidant and compulsive behaviour, social and performance anxiety, obsessive thoughts, body dysmorphia).
I write academic research papers using qualitative methodology (single case studies and auto-ethnography). I have published in the Transactional Analysis Journal and the International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research and Practice. I am an assessor and supervisor with Marches Counselling Service and Lecturer in Counselling at Herefordshire and Ludlow College.
Anxiety is a complex, fascinating body/mind state which is usually manifested in unpleasant bodily sensations:
- racing pulse, sweatiness, dizziness, nausea, restlessness, tension, headaches, indigestion, muscular pain, irritable bowel
- You may be feeling numb, ashamed, out of control, unable to stop worrying. You may believe you are fundamentally "wrong" and no one can love youn and perhaps thinking that you are better off dead.
The biological aspect of anxiety includes key brain centres such as the amygdala and the hipothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which regulates the stress hormone cortisol. Fear is a crucial emotion which ensures our survival by sharpening our senses and directing all available resources towards escape. The bad news is that the emotional brain can also be activated by "dangers" which are not life-threatening but rather more symbolic in nature.
Another part of the puzzle is epigenetics - how our genes are switched on or off by our experience/environment. Trauma has a lasting impact on the brain and inhibits our capacity to down-regulate the stress-response. We also know from research that those who experience themselves as being at the bottom of the social and economical hierarchy and have less control over their environment experience higher levels of anxiety and a higher level of illness associated with stress (this is controlling for lifestyle factors such as how much someone smokes, drinks, etc).
More broadly, culture is a subtle but penetrating influence. Cultural norms dictate what it means to be "a man", which attributes and skills are desirable and which ones need to be inhibited. Men feel pressured into presenting themselves as competent, strong and self-sufficient and feel shame about being seen as vulnerable or not functioning well. As result they develop a "false self" or a performing self to meet the demands of the world around them, whilst feeling cut off and empty inside.
Cultural norms also dictate the most acceptable ways of expressing psychological suffering. Many men feel there is an unspoken injunction against speaking about their own fears and vulnerability. They are more likely to be cared for if their vulnerability is manifested as physical symptoms.
You may have developed your own ways with coping, some of which really help and others which make you feel ashamed and empty and attract criticism from others including
- putting on a brave face, a "happy" mask
- secretly doing things which go against your values and if found out you would feel embarrassed and shamed
- lashing out when it feels "safe" to do so
- hating parts of your body
- intrusive thoughts
- compulsive behaviour
When it comes to psychotherapy as a treatment for anxiety, the facts are friendy. Research shows that in the context of a strong working alliance between client and therapist, symptoms of anxiety are alleviated.
I integrate neuroscience findings, attachment theory, transactional analysis, psychoanalytic concepts and cognitive-behavioural interventions.
Times and locations
Tuesdays (4pm - 8pm)
Fred Bulmer Centre (by appointment)
Training, qualifications & experience
Master of Science degree with Distinction in TA Psychotherapy from Metanoia Institute/Middlesex University
EATA Certified Relational Transactional Analyst with Psychotherapy speciality;
Diploma in Supervision
Certificate in education and training
Certificate in clinical assessment
- Herefordshire and Ludlow College - Lecturer in Counselling, Research and Mental Health
- Marches Counselling Service - Assessor and supervisor
- Sutton and Merton IAPT (NHS) - Honorary Group Psychotherapist/Researcher
- Metanoia Counselling and Psychotherapy Clinic - Assessor
- Ealing Abbey Counselling Centre - Psychotherapist
- Surrey Docks Health Centre (NHS) - Counsellor/Researcher
- Greenford Medical Centre (NHS) - Psychotherapist/Researcher
- Copleston Centre - Mental Health Project - Mentor
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Attachment disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Career counselling
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship problems
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
A limited number of concessions available
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Face-to-face By appointment
Types of client
Supervision & training
I currently provide trans-modality group supervision at the Marches Counselling Service in Hereford. .