Suzanne Thurston Accredited Psychotherapist RMN SPN PG Dip BSc (Hons) DipN DipC
Does one size fit all? Perhaps this applies to magic winter gloves (you know the kind - gloves that seemingly are designed for teeny hands but actually stretch to adult size!) but not so much to Psychotherapy and Counselling. I’ve always been committed to the individual, trying always to get alongside people in the way that is most helpful and most workable for them.
My therapy approach
My foundational training is in the Cognitive Behaviour Therapies but I’ve also trained in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy models. This means that I’m able to offer therapies for specific difficulties, such as PTSD, Anxiety, Depression or Phobias but can also work with the processing of painful life experiences, that are often not within immediate awareness but are experienced in a more “felt” body sense, and I work with body-mind therapies to ease this process.
Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy are examples of approaches that are helpful in particularly shame-based difficulties, in learning to relate to self and others with kindness and compassion, while CBT offers practical and empowering ways to relate in a more objective way to our minds and the world around us, learning to embrace all that we are according to what matters most to us. Psychodynamic therapy is helpful in connecting with the past that continues to impact intrusively upon the present, affecting the relationships we have in every sphere of our lives.
While it’s important to choose the therapy that is the best fit for the difficulties you face, my experience has been that it is the therapeutic relationship itself that enables the therapy to work well. There is a special co-created space that develops between client and therapist, that enables a depth of trust to develop in which the journey of exploration becomes the destination of discovery, in which we all are continually learning that change is possible and we can be the best versions of ourselves.
This equally applies to couples wishing to work through challenges and stuckness. Through my training in varied couples therapy models, I've learnt that there is often a great deal of hope and encouragement to be found in learning to reconnect with each other, to rekindle friendship and commonality, and find shared meaning in life once again.
What to expect in your first session
It can be daunting to think about making enquiries about counselling and psychotherapy. The first step is to email or phone for a friendly chat. If this feels like a good fit for you, then I will offer you an initial assessment appointment and send you some information on my service.
The assessment session is really an opportunity for you to get to know me a little and see if my approach resonates with you, and for me to gain more detail on the difficulties you are facing, so that we can work out together a plan of therapy that would be the most helpful.
Getting going in therapy
It's not always necessary to have a specific goal in mind. Sometimes we reach a point in life where we want or need to work on self-development and to process some of the life experiences we've had. Often though, there will be specific outcomes you wish to work towards, and a helpful place to start with this can be exploring what matters most to you in life; what your values are, and whether your difficulties are getting in the way of you being able to live the life you ideally want for yourself.
How long will it take?
We all long to be free of suffering and to know peace of mind, and so quite naturally it's common for me to be asked how long therapy will last. If the difficulty is very specific and uncomplicated, it is possible to make good progress in 4-6 sessions. It's helpful to give yourself at least a few sessions to assess overall whether therapy is moving in the right direction for you, rather than judging on an individual session. Therapy is very much a process that's based on the development of a trusting relationship, and it can take a few initial sessions to get this process started. The middle phase of therapy, is where significant growth and change begin to take shape, and this is often a time when a new sense of self-identity begins to develop. New skills and interventions to handle difficult thoughts and emotions feel more familiar, and there is a natural development of personal relationships as boundaries and needs become clearer.
Occasionally there are sticky bits in the therapy process; where it feels like there's a block or it's too hard. These are opportunities for growth, and often together we can work through the areas that are feeling challenging. This can particularly be the case in exposure or trauma work, when working through extreme fear. This is work that needs a slow and gentle pace, and can take many more sessions to reach an active therapy phase, so that symptoms are not overwhelming and gradually have less and less impact.
Therapy is an opportunity for you to take a block of time in your life's journey to take stock and process, to recover and heal. It can be likened to stamps of ink on a clean piece of paper. The paper represents you, your true self, as you were meant to be, and the stamps represent all the experiences of life that leave their mark, until the paper is so full of marks that you can no longer distinguish yourself from your experiences. The paper beneath 'holds' the marks but it can be difficult to see, and through therapy we can create some distance between the paper and the stamps, so that you can get back to living according to what is most important to you.
The therapy process can be a profound life changing experience, and naturally will take time to bed in. As you approach the end phase of therapy, it can often feel like a stage of enlightenment as you claim your self-identity and are more free of the old patterns and ways of being. Ending therapy is a gradual process of working on relapse prevention and management, in which you may move from weekly to fortnightly to monthly sessions, with follow up sessions if required. This is an important stage, as you move to the point where you have done me out of a job and become your own therapist!
I look forward to working with you and I wish you well.
Accredited by BABCP, COSCA and regulated by NMC, ACBS membership.
Training, qualifications & experience
- DipN Mental Health Nursing
- Dip Integrative Counselling
- Certificate in Couple's Counselling
- SPN Specialist Practitioner Mental Health Nursing
- RMN Registered Mental Health Nurse
- CBT Clinical Supervisor (NES approved)
- BSc (hons) Mental Health Nursing
- PG Dip Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies
Wide and varied clinical experience of private and NHS counselling, psychotherapy and mental health nursing, in both inpatient and community settings. Alongside my client work, I have always studied to keep updated with developing practice in Psychological Therapies, provided staff training opportunities and provided supervision for colleagues and students.
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
The BABCP is the lead organisation for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the UK.
Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the practice, theory or development of CBT. BABCP also provides accreditation for CBT therapists.
BABCP accredited members adhere to the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics in the Practice of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, and are willing to be scrutinised in this adherence as required.
College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
COSCA is the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland, and seeks to advance all forms of counselling and psychotherapy and the use of counselling skills by promoting best practice and through the delivery of a range of sustainable services. COSCA Counsellor Accreditation is a pathway to entry onto the UKRC.
It is a requirement of all individual and organisational members of COSCA to abide by its Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice and be accountable to the Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Specific trauma, e.g. road traffic accident
Complex trauma, e.g. childhood neglect and abuse
Interpersonal difficulties, including shame, low self-esteem and difficulties regulating emotion.
Couples Counselling - affair recovery.
Individuals: £65 per session, which includes all handouts, worksheets and therapy materials, such as Mindfulness recordings.
Couples: £85 per session, which includes all handouts, worksheets and therapy materials.
Qualified Counsellors and Therapists £45
Registered with AXA PPP, BUPA, NUFFIELD, CIGNA and AVIVA, Healthcare insurance providers.
The range of therapies I offer is extensive. I am fortunate to have had opportunities to work in different clinical settings with a wide range of clients, and to have received training in different models of therapy, over the last 24 years:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapies – Disorder specific models of CBT (e.g. Phobias, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma), generalised CBT, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – Psychotherapy that specialises in combining acceptance, mindfulness, psychological flexibility with behaviour change, to increase values based living.
Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy – Integrated use of Psychological models, which includes Counselling, Compassion Focused, Psychodynamic, Existential, Positive Psychology and Combined CBT (e.g Cognitive Analytical Therapy)
Body-mind therapies such as Sensorimotor therapy that work to help process, contain and heal from complex trauma.
Couples Counselling - Combining evidence based therapy models, such as the Gottman method, Imago therapy and Emotion Focused therapy.