Sophie Barnes MPhil, MA(Cantab), PgDip, MBACP
Counselling and psychotherapy can help when we encounter challenges in our inner and outer world that call for a deeper attention. The consistent and dedicated space of therapy offers a unique opportunity for supported self-exploration within an environment that is accepting and safe, founded upon a relationship of compassion and respect.
I am a qualified and experienced BACP registered therapist grounded in a psychodynamic psychotherapeutic approach. My way of working is additionally informed by somatic (body-based) and transpersonal (spiritually-informed) psychologies, supported by my own long-term Buddhist and somatic meditation practice.
In addition to a general practice, I offer specialism in the fields of trauma, sexual violence, and Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity (GSRD). I am LGBTQ+ affirmative.
How we work together
Weekly sessions provide a reflective, confidential space in which to look together at any areas of concern to you. As we begin to make sense of troubling, confusing or conflicting feelings and experiences, a deepening self-understanding can enable us to discover new choices in ways of being and relating, liberating us from the restrictive patterns of our past. Together we work collaboratively and at your pace to explore the roots of present issues and to move towards greater clarity in relation to areas of difficulty.
As well as being a way of alleviating the pain and struggle in our lives, therapy also aims to help us live more fully, in a greater sense of aliveness, authenticity and connection. Over time, the building of a reliable, trusting therapeutic relationship becomes the container in which a deeper healing can occur.
A Psychodynamic, Somatic and Transpersonal approach
As a psychodynamic therapist, my way of working brings attention to the ways in which we may have internalised and adapted to past situations and relationships in ways that shape our present experience. Within a secure and compassionately attuned relationship, together we work towards an emotional, rather than intellectual, understanding of the roots of present difficulties as a path to growth and healing in inner and outer life and relationships.
My way of working is additionally informed by long-term study and practice in the fields of somatic (body-based) and transpersonal (spiritually-informed) psychologies. The practice and study of Buddhist psychology and its integration with Western psychotherapies forms a cornerstone of my practice. I take a non-pathologising attitude, recognising the adaptive nature of even our greatest difficulties, including issues that have attracted psychiatric diagnoses.
Experiences of relationships throughout life, including the relationship between us as client and therapist, can provide important references for what is happening for you, and what is most calling for your attention at this time. The psychotherapeutic approach I take recognises the therapeutic relationship itself as a central factor in the transformative process that therapy can be.
Training, qualifications & experience
Training and Qualifications
- Post-graduate Diploma Psychodynamic Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Distinction), University of Brighton
- The Empowerment Model of Working with Female Survivors of Sexual Violence, OCN London/ RCSAS
- MPhil Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies, University of Cambridge
- MA (Cantab) Theology & Religious Studies, University of Cambridge
- Continued Professional Development Trainings
- Hakomi: Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy
- Working with Trauma
- Gender, Sexuality & Relationship Diversity (GSRD)
- LGBTQ+ affirmative practice
- Substance use & addiction
- Suicide prevention (ASIST)
I am a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and abide by their ethical framework.
Since 2016 I have served as a therapist in specialist mental health, charity and university settings, where I've had the privilege of working alongside clients from a diversity of backgrounds seeking support in relation to a wide range of issues.
I have particular experience counselling those who have attracted mental health and psychiatric diagnoses of Borderline/ Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, PTSD and Dissociative Disorders. I take a non-pathologising approach and seek always to understand and respect a client's own relationship to any diagnoses held or suspected.
In addition to a Brighton-based private practice, I am currently a therapist at Brighton Therapy Centre, a community counselling charity, and at Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex, counselling survivors of sexual violence.
Sexual Violence and Trauma
Whatever the root cause, I bring an awareness of trauma in its many dimensions to my work with all clients, with a particular focus on gentle, body-centred approaches to safely processing traumatic states and easing their symptoms.
I have completed in-depth training (currently pending accreditation) as a Sexual Violence Therapist with OCN Network London and Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex (RCSAS), where I work as a therapist with survivors of sexual violence.
I am trained to offer empowering therapeutic support and practical tools to help survivors to cope with and safely process the often confusing and overwhelming feelings and trauma that result from sexual violence. I am also trained to work with survivors of ritual abuse and those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), who can face additional barriers to accessing appropriate support.
LGBTQ+ and GSRD Affirmative Practice
I offer specialism in working with clients across the spectrum of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity (GRSD), taking an affirmative approach to working with LGBTQ+ clients; those practicing non-normative relationship styles, such as non-monogamy, kink; and sex workers.
My affirmative approach is informed by my experience as a therapist within an LGBTQ+ specific counselling service and specialist therapeutic GSRD training. I hold an MPhil in Gender Studies and, prior to working full-time as a therapist, I spent many years working and volunteering in the women's and LGBTQ + sectors.
Working through an anti-oppression lens, my therapeutic approach takes account of the impact of societal systems of oppression and the intersections of identity and cultural background with mental and emotional wellbeing.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anorexia nervosa
- Attachment disorder
- Binge-eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bulimia nervosa
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Health anxiety
- Hearing voices
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Relationship problems
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
Other areas of counselling I deal with
- Body image
- Childhood abuse & neglect
- Crises of meaning, purpose, direction
- Emotional numbness
- Experiences of oppression
- Gender identity: exploring and questioning
- Hate crime
- Lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer & asexual experiences
- Life transitions
- Low self-esteem & self-worth
- Medically unexplained symptoms
- Perfectionism & self-criticism
- Personal development
- Polyamory & non-monogamy
- Ritual abuse
- Sexual orientation & identity
- Sexual Violence
- Sex work
- Social anxiety
- Spiritual crises
- Trans, non-binary and gender non-confirming experiences
My fee is £50 per session.
Some sliding scale concession spaces are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please enquire for availability.
I offer a lower-cost initial consultation, at £30.
What to expect
The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to meet me and get a sense of what working together in a therapeutic relationship might be like. We can discuss what brings you to consider therapy and consider whether fixed-term or open-ended therapy would best meet your needs. It's also an opportunity for me to understand what you are looking for through therapy and if this is something I am able to support you with.
There is no expectation that you begin therapy with me after the initial session. You are very welcome to take time to reflect and consider whether you would like to work together, and you may be considering several therapists. Or you may decide straight away that you would like to go ahead, and we can arrange a date for our first session.
It can take real courage to face the causes of our distress and to entrust these with another person. It is important to find therapist you feel confidence in and with whom you feel safe.
Whether your reasons for seeking counselling and psychotherapy feel vague or specific, I welcome you get in touch with any questions you might have, or to arrange an initial consultation.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Monday - Thursday
Morning, afternoon and evening slots available.
Types of client