How will therapy work?
Therapy is first and foremost an opportunity to talk to someone about what is bothering you, hear it spoken out loud, and have a conversation. Different approaches to therapy have much in common, and can be integrated, but they don't take precedent over the offer of a reflective and non-judgmental space for you to use in the way that you need.
Research suggests that the quality of the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client, and in particular the therapist's ability to empathise, is what helps therapy make a difference. Sometimes talking about experience with purpose can be calming and illuminating in itself.
Regardless of approach, any therapy will vary in the balance between how much support or challenge, and insight or change is warranted. My aim is to help you clarify where you are, and where you might want to be, if this is different, and will respond to what you tell me with what I have to offer, given where I am coming from.
What will non-judgmental mean?
People can mean different things by "non-judgmental." For my work, this is about not judging what you think or feel as either good or bad. We all need to find a way to live despite the inevitability of pain and loss. There is no one right way to do this.
"Symptoms" are that "fall together" - the happenstance as we go along, which help us to notice something is wrong. Sometimes they feel like the problem and if so, this is what can be worked on. Other times they might be a solution or a response to the problem, and can be explored from that perspective. How are your solutions working for you?
In approaching this without judgment, I mean I have no view as to whether your solutions are right or wrong. I prefer the idea that there need be no normal or right way to go about life. Understandings of what works, what helps or doesn't help, are centred around what works for you and not imposed.
In therapy, we can sift through your repertoire, investigate possible reasons why you operate in the way you do, celebrate your successes, and find new possibilities where these are wanted or needed. I hope this way of working will always be consistent with pluralist, postmodern and anti-discriminatory practice.
What is counselling psychology?
Counselling psychology is a discipline informed by theory and research but is also open to the influences of art, literature, the social world, politics, and philosophy. Like many counselling psychologists, I would describe myself as pluralist in outlook, subcribing to the view that there is more than one way of knowing about, for instance, our lives, our distress, what it is like to be in the world or be with others.
As a counselling psychologist, I have been formally trained in more than one way of working therapeutically. I am trained in CBT and solution focused approaches, including ACT, CFT and mindfulness. These can be especially helpful if you have a specific issue you would like to overcome, are hoping to cope better generally or in a particular context, or would like short-term psychotherapy.
Psychoanalytic and existential psychotherapy approaches tend to be more open-ended and exploratory, oriented towards understanding how you relate to others, or to freedom, uncertainty, time or place. These can be helpful if you feel that your problems are situated mainly in a relationship or a relationship pattern, or if you find you are facing difficult life choices or circumstances.
What kinds of issue do I work with?
I am most interested in the words you bring to talk about your life. However, to give an indication using words found in some places, I have worked the following sorts of areas:
I hope this background is helpful. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like more information.