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- Brainwashing Clients
In the wake of the publicity around Prince Harry’s book ‘Spare’, and the allegation that Prince William accused his brother of being ‘brainwashed by therapy’, I’m tempted to say ‘if only!’. On the other hand, I have some sympathy with Prince William’s alleged viewpoint. Let’s unpack this subject. Firstly, why do I say ‘if only’? I’m being facetious by saying if it were so easy brainwash our clients perhaps we’d save them a lot of time and money. It isn’t easy sitting for weeks, months or years at a time whilst a client purports to desire a change in behaviour whilst doing the opposite. But having attended therapy for years, I know my own changes were not easy. And I’m so grateful that my therapist never exhibited frustration at my resistance. Just as you wouldn’t push a little child into the deep end of a swimming pool without arm bands and lots of encouragement, nor would any therapist worth their salt try to crash through a client’s defences - developed for good reasons, usually in childhood - and attempt to force a change before they were ready. When change happens, it often happens incrementally. This is due to the nature of the brain and the ego (who we believe ourselves to be) and the ego’s astonishing will to survive intact. Making change is difficult. Period. Good psychotherapists put aside their own agenda and take the view that they don’t know what’s best for the client. The client knows what’s best for themselves. At some level they know. And although it might sometimes appear that wrong choices are being made, therapists must hold a position of humility and curiosity. We may wonder with the client what might happen downstream if they were to make this or that decision, and so on. But we need to remember that the client has a soul and that soul has its journey and what may look like a mistake to us might be the perfect healing journey that client needs to undertake in order to develop a particular quality or set of qualities to help them become more whole. To individuate. Gestalt therapy refers to the process of individuation (or becoming whole) as ‘selfing’. Selfing is a dynamic process. So, when we respond in the same old way to challenging situations (choosing to avoid confrontation, for example, or choosing full-scale confrontation as opposed to calm dialogue), we are in a very real sense avoiding our wholeness. When we take a leap of faith and choose a different way of responding to challenges, we are ‘selfing’ - taking a step towards becoming whole. So, back to Prince William’s alleged viewpoint - can therapists brainwash clients? Can they influence their clients? Of course! People can be influenced by many things - nature, nurture, our experiences, our friendship groups, what we choose to read and so on. So when we are in crisis and reach out and find a therapist in whom we place our trust - yes, of course there is the potential for undue influence. Psychotherapy training is about not influencing our clients. It’s about providing the right environment, holding space and allowing clients to find their own, best way forward. Ideally, we therapists are like Sherpa guides - we know the terrain, we have plenty of experience of the territory in all kinds of weather, we can to some extent suggest the best paths to take. But we don’t direct or decide. The route, the speed, the stops en-route, changes of direction - all these are the client’s decisions. We assist the explorer as best we can. In the therapy process, we do this by asking open questions (questions not requiring a yes/no answer) and allowing the client to explore their inner and outer worlds without interference from outside influences. However, some people are very receptive, searching for somebody authoritative to make decisions on their behalf. This can be alluring for some therapists and there’s a need to avoid being unconsciously recruited by clients wishing for this.
- The Coots' Nest
I wrote this in the Spring of 2012 and I can still feel the impact of the experience now. I thought I’d share it as I continue researching death, dying and grieving for my Matter of Life and Death workshops. The nest was eye-catching. Balanced on the rudder of a moored canal boat, twigs were woven together with rubbish - strips of blue, green and red plastic. A waterbird recycling project. Mummy and Daddy Coot - taking turns to sit on their five eggs - quickly became a canal-side sensation, with the birds growing accustomed to amateur photographers and commentators discussing the nest, its construction and the commitment of mother and father Coot to their eggs. Onlookers eagerly awaited the sight of the baby coots. In London, where etiquette discourages eye contact, the coots drew us together for a while. We gathered on the towpath to photograph the birds, their colourful nest and their eggs, to allow ourselves to be captured for a while by nature in the midst of a busy city. The prosaic became poetic, as we waited excitedly for an anticipated new life - beauty emerging from a pile of rubbish. How those little Coots and their five little chicks brightened the last few weeks of a dull, rain-sodden Spring. But today the nest is gone. I cover my mouth in horror. My breath becomes shallow and rapid. The adult coots are stamping on freshly-gathered twigs with their oversized webbed feet, determinedly re-building their vandalised nest. Of their five little babies, there is no sign, and as I frantically cast around hoping for a sighting, I hear someone say “Shame they nested through weeks of rain and then their chicks get eaten.” As if punched in the stomach, I exhale sharply, then feel a horrible soreness where my heart is. I wipe my tear-filled eyes with my hand and flee the scene as if distance will help. And as I trudge heavily back to work I feel the familiar sensation of shock as I wonder how I didn’t see this coming. How I never see it coming. "I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life" (Rumi)
- Goodbye 2022
As the year draws to a close, I offer you my first blog. What’s on my mind today? Love - and dogs. On Boxing Day my neighbour, his little Staffordshire terrier in its harness, ready for a walk, waved goodbye to a couple of Christmas guests in their car. As he strode off the dog turned around and stared, aghast, at the visitors’ car about to leave. His daddy gently tugged on the lead to encourage him to keep walking and the dog pushed his paws into the road in a Disney stop. “No!” (I voice-overed) “I thought we were all going together! I don’t want to go with just you daddy!”. No stiff upper lip. No promises of not leaving it so long in future. No “Phew, thank God that’s over for another year…”. Just genuine doggy remorse that his expectations were not met. Thirty seconds later, he was feeling better as he sniffed the local lamppost for new and interesting smells. The resilience! Today I’ve been watching dogs in the park. Not one without its tail wagging. Each and every one seemingly thrilled to meet new friends, old friends, two-legged and four-legged, it seems to matter not. Everything is a source of amazement, but not for long. Then they’re onto the next amazing thing with barely a backward glance. How much easier life would be if we could be more dog. Relishing the moment, throwing ourselves into relationships with complete abandon. Grieving endings briefly and then moving on to the next lamppost. I know we can’t. I know the human brain is more complex and it needs to reconfigure itself after a loss. I get it. But as I prepare to say goodbye to 2022, I’ll be looking for my own metaphorical new lampposts. Grateful to have had 2022 when so many didn’t make it through. Intent upon relishing 2023 with every ounce of my being. Wishing everyone who reads this a Happy New Year and leaving you with the words of Meher Baba (February 25, 1894–January 31, 1969) Love is essentially self-communicative: Those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. True love is unconquerable and irresistible; and it goes on gathering power and spreading itself, until eventually it transforms everyone whom it touches. Lynn
- Workshops | Lynn Somerfield | Psychotherapy & Counselling
Workshops Introduction I run a number of workshops for members of the public as well as for professional CPD. Please come back and check this page regularly to see what workshops are planned or simply Contact Me for more information. Information about current workshops is detailed and most are held in Central or West London but I’m happy to consider travelling to other locations on request. Workshops A Question of Love A workshop (open to members of the public, as well as interested professionals) designed to explore the theory or romantic relationships and shed light on what causes us to get trapped in repetitive patterns of dysfunctional relationships or to have difficulty developing them at all. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Addiction? Affliction? Or a Guide to Wholeness? A 2-day workshop, part-lecture and part-experiential, aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists, students of counselling and psychotherapy, life coaches, trainers, and members of the public. I have over 30 years’ experience in the field of addiction. This exciting workshop is designed to get to the root of the addiction and help the layperson understand their addiction and student and graduate counsellors and psychotherapists assist people suffering from this debilitating condition. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest CBT: Multi-Modal CBT (with a touch of the transpersonal) This has been a popular workshop since 2002! This 3-day workshop, part-lecture and part- experiential, is aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists, students of counselling and psychotherapy, life coaches, trainers, and members of the public. The workshop makes integrating CBT easy and my transpersonal and integrative training helps bring CBT to life. £350 Price is per person for a 3-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Balancing the Chakras This workshop is open to members of the public as well as interested professionals. When the chakras are out of balance, the liberating and manifesting currents of the life force are blocked, causing many symptoms and is the reason many of us become stuck in repetitive patterns of behaviour. In this workshop, we will learn how to balance the chakra system by working psychologically, physically and spiritually. Techniques will include massage (clothed), reflexology points, sound and breath work, Hatha yoga postures and others. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Psychology & the Chakras This workshop is open to members of the public as well as interested professionals. A wonderful journey through the chakra system first laid down thousands of years ago in the yoga Upanishads ~ direct teachings received from the ancient Indian sages. In this workshop, drawing upon the model formulated by Anodea Judith, we will learn how the chakras have relevance in life today, how they pertain to developmental stages, how the chakras become out of balance, the types of issues this causes and how to diagnose chakra imbalances. Everybody will leave with their own ‘chakra map’. The follow-up workshop ‘Balancing the Chakras’ goes into more detail on how to work with imbalances in the chakra system. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Gestalt: Gestalt and the Dreambody A two-day experiential workshop for counsellors, psychotherapists and student practitioners. Drawing on gestalt and process-oriented psychotherapeutic techniques, I will teach you how to work with a variety of modalities to help assist the client out of their comfort zone. Working in this way bypasses the intellect and facilitates the process known by Gestaltists as ‘selfing’. By working subtly, using advanced skills, the call of the soul is more easily heard and inner guidance becomes more accessible. By learning to listen to our dreaming body and its changing modalities; from talking to seeing; from hearing to sensing; from movement to feeling; we learn to harmonise with the natural process of life and to move with that, not seeking to control it, but simply observing its direction and facilitating that. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Gestalt: One Day Gestalt Refresher A one-day experiential workshop for counsellors, psychotherapists and those in training, who have already attended my 3-day gestalt seminar at CCPE. The workshop is intended to be a refresher day and participants are invited to bring along cases for supervision and guidance in gestalt techniques ~ although this isn’t essential ~ participants can work on their own material too. £115 Price is per person for a 1-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest A Matter of Life and Death This two-day workshop is designed for those working with the subject of dying, death and bereavement. Our beliefs about death and dying affect how we live - to fear death is to fear life. It follows therefore that to embrace life to the full we must first come to terms with loving, loss of all types, and bereavement. Through experiential and creative exercises we will explore the subject of death. We'll examine losses we may have experienced in our lives so far, and what we have learned. During the workshop, we'll be drawing on the works of some of the great teachers including the Dalai Lama, Stephen Levine, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Deepak Chopra, Rumi, and others. And for those of us who work as therapists, we’ll be asking - how can we help others in their suffering? And how can we help others if we have unfinished grief of our own? £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest Women and Weight In this 2-day workshop we will explore our unwanted excess weight and look at this from a different point-of-view. Is our weight a burden we’re forced to carry or does it hold a message from the unconscious that we need to hear? When we discuss our struggles with food and weight, we are talking not just about bodily urges but issues such as emotional appetites and wanting to be loved. £250 Price is per person for a 2-day workshop inclusive of course materials. Download Leaflet Register Interest
- Lynn Somerfield | Psychotherapy & Counselling
Welcome Welcome to Lynn Somerfield Psychotherapy, delivering therapy services across London and Bedfordshire. People seek support from a therapist for all sorts of reasons. You may be struggling with anxiety or depression, your relationship may be in trouble due to an affair, communication problems or family stress. Perhaps you’ve suffered a bereavement, or you have a serious illness. Maybe you struggle with OCD and it’s causing relationship and work problems, or you’re suffering from insomnia, panic attacks, or flashbacks related to a traumatic incident. You may have an eating disorder. Maybe you can’t seem to form relationships with others. Perhaps you’re anxious in relationships, or too distant. Perhaps you have a problem with dependency on alcohol or drugs, maybe even an addiction. Believe or not, none of these things is abnormal. They are the things that make us human! Recognising your own mental health issues and then finding a counsellor or psychotherapist sometimes isn’t an easy process. I have designed my website with this in mind... Over the coming pages, I have provided information to help you understand more about psychotherapy, find out more about me, my background and training, and my approach to my work. Should there be a topic I have not covered or you would like to arrange an initial consultation with me, simply contact me . I look forward to hearing from you. Reach For A Helping Hand Take your first step to a life of positive mental health Book an Inital Consultation Specialities As a transpersonal and integrative psychotherapist, I am able to support clients with a broad range of mental health worries. Below I have provided a summary of my primary specialist support areas. You can find more information by clicking through on the 'Learn More' buttons, or by simply contacting me . Abuse Issues Learn More Addiction or Dependency Learn More Anger Issues Learn More Anxiety Learn More Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Learn More Depression Learn More Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) Learn More Grief & Bereavement Learn More Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Learn More Panic Attacks Learn More Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Learn More Relationships Learn More Stress Learn More The Chakras Learn More And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous Jalaluddin Rumi | Poetry Writings | 13th Century
- Contact | Lynn Somerfield | Psychotherapy & Counselling
Contact Me Contact Me There are a number of ways to contact me so please choose your preferred method from the options below and I will respond to you at my very earliest opportunity! Email My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Email Me Phone My mobile phone number is 07762 738 238 Call Me Location I tend to work at different locations throughout each week. You can view my locations using the button below. My Locations Contact Forms I have made a number of Contact Forms available on this page. Please select the one you require from the list below. Ask a Question Book an Initial Consultation Workshop Sign Up My Locations & Days Mondays & Tuesdays Room 11, 9 Orme Court Bayswater London, W2 4RL Wednesdays CCPE, Beauchamp Lodge 2 Warwick Crescent London, W2 6NE Thursdays & Fridays Lidlington Bedfordshire MK43 0RJ Locations Ask a Question Ask me anything, but please keep in mind that my expertise will be best utilised if your questions are related to Psychotherapy and Counselling! Please subscribe me to future communications and offers. Your personal details will remain confidential and will never be shared with any party outside my therapy practice. Submit Your Question Ask a Question Book an Initial Consultation The first step in any therapy journey is for us to meet for an initial consultation and get to know each other a little. At this first meeting, I will be asking you lots of questions about the issues you’re struggling with right now and what you’re hoping to address in therapy. If you would like to book an initial consultation with me, please complete the form below. Your County... arrow&v What issues would you like support wth (select all that apply)? Abuse Issues Addiction or Dependency Anger Issues Anxiety Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Depression Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) Grief & Bereavement Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Panic Attacks Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Relationships Stress The Chakras OTHER (please specify below) Please subscribe me to future communications and offers. Your personal details will remain confidential and will never be shared with any party outside my therapy practice. Submit Your Enquiry Book an Initial Consulation Workshop Interest Registration Please use the form below to register your interest in one or more of my workshops. Once I receive your interest form, I will get in touch with you with workshop dates and locations. Which workshop(s) you would like to register interest in (select all that apply)? Integrating Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Public & Professionals - 3 Day) Addictions, Altered States and Uncontrollable Urges (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) Fat, Food and Body Image (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) Gestalt and the Dreambody (Professionals Only - 2 Day) One Day Gestalt Refresher (Professionals Only - 1 Day) Chakras and the Development Stages (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) Balancing the Chakras (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) A Question of Love (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) Good Grief (Public & Professionals - 2 Day) Please indicate which type of workshop attendee you are... Private Attendee Professional Attendee I understand that a 50% non-refundable deposit payment is required to reserve my seat for this event. Please subscribe me to future communications and offers. Your personal details will remain confidential and will never be shared with any party outside my therapy practice. Register Your Interest Workshop Interest Registration