What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy and counselling offer a potent crucible for change. I see therapy/counselling as a creative partnership where client and therapist journey together towards growth and healing. Therapy is a confidential relationship with you at the centre, and includes a mixture of support and constructive challenge. Change is possible by expanding awareness of your experience and choices, and receiving support/challenge to try out new ways of being. The therapeutic relationship itself can be healing.
Relational, embodied and interconnected
My approach to therapy is relational and embodied, as is much contemporary gestalt psychotherapy. I focus on relationship because most of our wounds occur in relationship, and profound healing can come through relationship. Key life themes manifest in the present moment encounter in the therapeutic relationship, and I believe this is the place where change can best be supported. Research provides evidence that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is central to effective therapy. For all these reasons, I give attention to the relational process between us as therapist and client: how we affect each other; the ebb and flow of our changing felt experience; the impact of our personal histories, our life situations and the narratives we make. I see all people as part of a profoundly interconnected world, influenced by and influencing our situations, relationships, environment and culture. Our experience is felt and known in our bodies, and so I will be ongoingly interested in your felt body experience as well as your thoughts and emotions. I will also share my felt experience with you when this seems to be helpful.
What might we do?
That depends......on you and on me; on how we bring ourselves to our work together; on your interests and what is growthful for you.
We might talk or be silent. We might move or be still. I will be interested in exploring your experience, honouring your history and freeing up new possibilities. I might invite you to notice what's happening with your breath and body. I might enquire about what you are experiencing right now, or about your personal history or life situation. I might simply listen closely and deeply. I might share how I am experiencing you. I might share some relevant information with you, for example about therapy, human development or neurobiology You are welcome to ask me questions. I might offer the possibility of creative approaches such as working with metaphor, images, dreams, art materials, movement, touch, liminal experience, voice, sound, working outdoors in nature.... You might make suggestions too. Sometimes being together in a gentle, kind and connected way with what you are feeling, thinking and sensing makes a profound difference. Sometimes a different kind of challenge or experiment is important. We will explore your sense of what's safe enough/too much/too little risk. We might be together in a wide range of emotional states. In short we will explore what it is to be human in this world.
Gestalt is very much about the unique therapeutic relationship, and so it is 'done differently' by each client-therapist combination. Ultimately I believe what matters is the sense of fit and the feeling that there is a potential for growth, witnessing, understanding and change.
My personal style
Clients often comment on my collaborative horizontal style, compassion, precision and authenticity. Open-mindedness, respectfulness, ethical practice and careful, close listening are important to me in how I am with people. I enjoy playfulness and creativity. Please read my other pages, especially 'gestalt' and 'about me' for a more full sense of what it might be like for you to work with me.
Who do I work with?
I enjoy working with a diverse range of people with a wide spectrum of needs and difficulties, with a wide range of cultural backgrounds and identities. My most longstanding professional interests are in attachment, trauma, joy, shame and spirituality. I am interested in the processes underlying 'symptoms' or 'problems' - these experiences of pain and suffering are often portals to growth. You are welcome to check out with me whether I feel I can work well with you.
Ethics, supervision and ongoing learning
I subscribe to the UKCP code of ethics - please click to view. I support myself and people I work with through ongoing engagement in my own clinical supervision, advanced training and personal development. I love learning, and I learn a lot from the people I work with.
Therapy can be short term or open-ended. I find open-ended work most effective and satisfying. We usually meet weekly at a regular time, as this tends to be the best rhythm to support the work. Sessions last 50 minutes and cost £70. I offer daytime and evening sessions. Initially I suggest we meet for an exploratory session, to give us both the chance to find out whether we feel we can work well together. As well as exploring what has brought you to therapy, we will discuss confidentiality, and privacy of information, cancellations, holidays, reviews of the work and payment arrangements. If you decide to work with me, we will discuss and sign a written contract together, including privacy and data protection aspects, then review our work regularly thereafter.
Appointments and enquiries
'Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.' Brene Brown