Sylvia Karathanos, Registered Member BACP
Counselling and Psychotherapy
I am an experienced counsellor and psychotherapist, offering a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to enable you to address any issues that bring you to counselling; this could be feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, or struggling with any other difficulties that life can bring, for example trauma, relationship issues, ill health, loss, and many other.
I consider respect, understanding and compassion as fundamental in our work together. My underlying orientation in our sessions is mindfulness: cultivating caring present moment awareness; thereby re-educating and soothing the nervous system to enhance well-being.
How counselling can help: While we can’t change the fact that life can be challenging, painful and overwhelming at times, we can change how we relate to these difficult experiences and to ourselves. This is where counselling and psychotherapy can be helpful. Through counselling we can develop new resources, understanding, awareness, compassion as well as direction, and begin to feel safer, more alive and whole.
How I work: I work with an integrative approach, which means I draw from a range of therapies and tools. This enables us to address all aspects of our humanity in the work together: the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. We will use approaches and tools most appropriate and useful for you and your situation on your unique path towards wholeness and self-compassion. Importantly, we go at your pace, and you are 'in the driving seat'.
How we might explore your experience together during sessions:
With simple, gentle body awareness exercises we are able to explore our physical experience and access information that the body holds. This can deepen our understanding of ourselves, often beyond what we are conscious of. Over time we can heal old, held patterns, and integrate them. This leads to a greater sense of safety and freedom.
At times we might be working with the feelings and emotions, not only to understand the historic origins of emotional patters but also to develop a greater ability to process, experience and release even strong emotions. It can be very empowering to discover new ways of handling difficult emotions. It is a great discovery to find that these emotions can be met safely, skillfully, with understanding, and be 'set free'.
We can address limiting thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that we may have learned – often unconsciously – along the way and that are now causing us unnecessary stress. By exploring, gently challenging and inquiring into these thoughts we gradually develop more helpful ways of thinking, and use the creative powers of the mind to our advantage.
Sometimes we might work creatively. This may include drawing, the use of sand-tray and figurines, as well as movement. Working creatively can often allow surprising aspects, insights or solutions to surface, and offers us resources that haven't been available before. (This does not require any 'talent' or training on your part!)
Occasionally I will offer simple mindfulness practices, which can be very effective to connect to the part in ourselves that is already whole, unharmed and well, beyond – or prior to - any sense of difficulties and limitations we might have.
Sometimes sessions will be more active and engaging; this can include conversations about 'psycho-education', especially when past trauma is involved. At other times there can be more quietness, a more contemplative atmosphere.
Areas of my work include:
The after-effects of trauma (such as accidents, abuse, illness and loss). Relationship difficulties, bereavement, anxiety, depression, stress, panic, parenting difficulties, unhappiness, hopelessness, dissatisfaction, loss of meaning and more.
I offer short term as well as longer term work.
I am a registered member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and aspire to follow their ethical framework.
I am also a Yoga teacher with 20 years experience of teaching individuals and groups. I am teaching general classes as well as a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Class in the Totnes Area. (see below for further detail).
Training, qualifications & experience
- Certificate in Expressive Art Therapy
- Advanced Diploma in Psycho-Therapeutic Counselling
- Sensorimotor Trauma Psychotherapy (Level 1)
- Internal Family System Therapy
- Training in Grief Counselling
- Training in Counselling bereaved children and young people
- Intermediate Level Certificate in Acceptance and Commitment therapy
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Training Level 1 and 2
- Facilitator for Inquiry Based Stress Reduction: 'The Work of Byron Katie', certified by VTW (Verband fuer the Work of Byron Katie, Germany)
- Certified Yoga teacher
- a long term Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga practice
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Asperger's syndrome
- Attachment disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Career counselling
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Panic disorder
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship problems
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
Other areas of counselling I deal with
the Work of Byron Katie
£45 per one hour session
1 h introductory session £25
Some concessionary spaces available for those who are unable to meet the full cost
'The Work of Byron Katie': Mindful Self-Inquiry – group and individual sessions
I offer 'the Work of Byron Katie', in individual sessions and for couples, in person in Totnes as well as over the phone/internet. I also facilitate a fortnightly group that runs termly and I offer regular daylong and weekend workshops in Totnes.
This simple yet profound mindfulness process of Self-Inquiry can be helpful and effective with relationship issues, and many situations of emotional difficulty.
It can also valuable to those who are 'just' curious, longing to know themselves more intimately and to develop more self-compassion.
With ‘The Work of Byron Katie’™ we identify and question the stressful thoughts that prevent us from enjoying life and addressing its challenges with clarity.
‘The Work’ meets us wherever we are. When we immerse ourselves in the meditative practice of inquiry, we can discover the freedom, peace & creativity that lie beyond our conditioned stressful beliefs and assumptions about life, others and ourselves. Through ‘The Work’ as a meditation we begin to bring everything within ourselves into the ‘light’ of conscious awareness and finally begin to meet it all with love and understanding.
‘The Work’ is simply four questions and a ‘turnaround’, which is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. It is so simple that anyone with an open mind can do it. It allows us to tap into our own innate stillness and wisdom, rather than relying on the knowledge, answers or experience of others. With this practice we find that all the answers we ever need are always available inside us if we are still, quiet and open to them. Through practicing ‘The Work’ we wake up to our own kind and loving nature. Gradually we can grow into Presence, a Presence which is undisturbed by even challenging emotions.
In that way, it is immensely re-assuring as well as liberating.
'The Work of Byron Katie', is a kind of enhanced mindfulness practice. 'The Work has been called Self-help, but it is far more than that: it is self-realisation. As we question a stressful thought, we see for ourselves what is untrue; we get to look at cause and effect of it, to observe in sobering detail exactly what modes of pain and confusion result from believing it; then we get a glimpse into the empty mirror the world beyond our story of the world, and see what our life would be like without the thought; and finally we get to experience the opposite of what we have so firmly believed and to find specific examples of his these opposites are true. Once we deeply question a thought, it loses its power to make us suffer, and eventually it even ceases to arise. "I don't let go of my stressful thoughts", Katie says. "I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me." (From Byron Katie's new book: ‘A mind at home with itself. Finding Freedom in a World of Suffering' 2017)
No one needs to have experienced depression or trauma to benefit from ‘The Work’, even though those issues can be explore with The Work also. Anyone who has an interest in peace and more clarity of mind can gain from this simple tool. To find out more, go to www.TheWork.com.
I have been practicing ‘The Work’ for nearly 20 years, am certified by ‘Verband fuer The Work' (VTW)in Germany as a Coach for The Work and have completed the Certification Programme with Byron Katie International. I have staffed in several of Byron Katie’s events, and have facilitated others in The Work for nearly ten years.
Trauma sensitive Yoga – Reclaiming your body
I have been a Yoga teacher for over 20 years and have experienced myself how profoundly the practice of Yoga can help overcome the aftereffects of trauma. This makes sense, as ‘one of the common denominators of all trauma is an alienation and disconnection from the body, and a reduced capacity to be present in the here and now’ (Peter Lavine, 2011). Through Yoga we look inwardly, and gradually befriend our physical sensations, relearn to inhabit our body and overcome the imprints of trauma. (Bessel van der Kolk 2011).
However, a general Yoga class can easily be overwhelming and triggering for students who are affected by the aftermaths of trauma.
Mindful, trauma-sensitive Yoga can provide a safe and healing context for the body to experience a calming of the nervous system, and for the practitioner to find safe ways to sooth themselves. This in turn helps to have increased present moment experience, and to regain a sense of safety and relaxation. As we increase our capacity to stay present with our inner sensations, we can develop our self-compassion.
This Yoga class can be supportive of any Trauma- or Psychotherapy you might be undergoing.
David Emerson, Elizabeth Hopper: Overcoming Trauma through Yoga. Reclaiming your Body. (2011)
David Emerson: Trauma-sensitive Yoga in Therapy. Bringing the Body into treatment.(2015)
Deirdre Fay: Attachment-Based Yoga and Meditation for Trauma Recovery. (2017)
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I have currently some availability
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|