I genuinely believe that no matter how bad, overwhelming or confusing life seems, we can all find our way. I see therapy as a genuinely collaborative effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on for you and why, what you can accept and what you want to be different, and how to get to where you want to be.
I'll listen to you, encourage and support you, and help you clarify exactly what you are grappling with. Are there unhelpful thought patterns? Assumptions? Expectations? What are your thoughts and fears? Where are you stuck? Sometimes that might be all you need to better hear yourself and understand what you need to do now. At other times, you may want information, new perspectives and ideas to reframe what you are going through or understand it better; or may wish to explicitly work on managing symptoms, changing the internal dialogue or making changes.
I think humour can have its place in the therapy room - alongside serious reflection and exploration, of course. Change takes guts and courage, but it needn’t always be grim...
In therapy, I prefer to focus on what is going on now - as that is what we can change. However, our feelings, thoughts and behaviours in the present are obviously rooted in learning from the past. Understanding our underlying motivations, beliefs and expectations - acquired from past experiences - can often help make sense of current feelings, thoughts and behaviours that may seem unhelpful or negative in the present. This can help us see how to move forward whether in acceptance or change. Challenging habitual patterns of thinking is often the key to positive change.
Alternatively, you may have a sense something is wrong, but ongoing counselling does not feel like the right answer just now. If so, a 'Way of Life' assessment - that helps identify limiting beliefs, expectations, fears and strengths - might help get you unstuck.
Competent counsellors recognise the value of drawing on a variety of approaches, tools and models to aid their work with clients. I am an ‘integrative therapist’, with a Humanistic positive view of people and their potential, and I tend to focus primarily on the present. I also draw on the Adlerian approach of how people operate in the world (which is primarily psycho-dynamic), and often work quite cognitively, looking at thoughts and beliefs and how they affect how we see and act in the world.
Neuro-scientific and psychological perspectives increasingly offer key insights and guidance into what really works, and what doesn't - this is a key part of the therapy I offer. Scientific research endorses the effectiveness of our historically intuitive practices (with a few exceptions and caveats), so clearly a 'scientific approach' is not always necessary for good therapy. However, used appropriately, neuro-scientific insights offer useful guidance on issues such as how to create the best conditions for change; how to understand and manage conditions such as anxiety, depression or trauma responses; or how to deal with unhelpful thought patterns. Research in neuroscience also offers important ideas for improving and maintaining our mental well-being.
Understanding things from a biological perspective gives hope too... We are literally wired for change, and whilst we may have learnt unhelpful patterns, we can unlearn them too…
For more information, see the FAQs or contact me. I will be adding more information about relevant theory here for those who are interested.