Introduction to Specialities
As a transpersonal and integrative psychotherapist, I am able to help with a broad range of issues.
Below I have provided information surrounding my main specialist areas. Please feel free to scroll down through each specialist therapy area, or use the 'Quick Menu' provided to jump directly to the area you would like to learn more about.
If there is something you would like to discuss that is not covered on this page, please simply contact me.
Abuse comes in many forms. Abuse can happen to anyone and often the situation has developed so gradually that victims are not even aware that they’re being abused. It’s impossible to detail the many ways abuse is meted out, but here’s a broad sweep of the subject.
Where we are prevented from making choices or expressing opinions, subjected to threats, bullied, intimidated, etc.
Where we are hit, slapped, kicked or punched.
This can include theft of possessions, money, benefits; we may be subjected to fraud, scams, rogue traders and so on.
We may be abused on the basis of race, religion, gender or gender identity, age, disability or sexual orientation.
We may have received unwanted sexual attention such as touching, teasing or innuendos or forced into non-consensual sexual activity.
Addiction or Dependency
Addiction is a huge subject, so let me try to convey some of the main points.
There’s a fine line between dependency and addiction.
Dependence can lead to addiction. Dependence can occur with the chronic use of drugs (including alcohol). We are dependent when we are using to the point where it is causing significant difficulties in our lives and we are losing the willpower to control our drug use.
When someone is addicted the use of drugs causes major problems with school, work or home life (or all three). They may act out-of-character, lie or even steal to get the drug They may suffer physical issues such as ulcers, kidney or liver damage.
Addiction is the disease which is called the ‘disease of denial’. Why is that? Why would anyone wish to be in denial of any disease? Usually, we run to the doctor and hope to be reassured, or have a diagnosis confirmed and a clear treatment plan outlined.
The roots of addiction may be far-reaching. It may be genetic, trans-generational, trauma-based, environmental or psychological.
The drug-of-choice which is causing the problems usually feels (to the person suffering from the dependency) like their best friend. Their salvation. The drug-of-choice is usually helping them to compensate for, or avoid, something they may not even be aware of!
Essentially, we may, for a variety of reasons, not have sufficient internal resources to soothe ourselves and we may, therefore, be in the position of seeking that outside of ourselves. And in an attempt to find a way of coping with stress, we may engage in unhelpful behaviours which are not conducive to a balanced, healthy life such as overeating, drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, sexual addiction, impulsive and unnecessary shopping, workaholism, etc.
In therapy, we work on exploring the ways we can soothe ourselves. We will look at many aspects of this difficult and sometimes life-threatening disease and begin to find ways of developing new adaptive behaviours to help us deal with those difficult situations which trigger us to use the very thing that seems to comfort us - but can kill us in the end.
Anger is a normal human emotion. But the ways we express our anger can be healthy or unhealthy.
There are two types of unhelpful expressions of anger:
This includes behaviours such as sulking, procrastinating, smirking, ’forgetting’ to do certain things.
Overt (Open) Aggression
Examples of behaviours include physically lashing out, shouting, verbally abusing others, bullying, sarcasm, criticism, shouting and bickering.
If you think you have anger management issues and you want to work on making different choices, counselling can help you develop new, healthy, assertive behavioural skills in response to triggering situations.
Anxiety is an emotion we experience when we are worried or afraid.
It is a future-oriented emotion and it’s usually about what might happen.
It can be mild or severe.
Some people suffer from anxiety every day as if they are hard-wired for worry. It can make your heart race, cause you to sweat, shake or become short of breath. Anxiety can also cause you to become overly careful or avoid anxiety-provoking situations. You may begin to worry in relatively harmless situations. It can feel overwhelming and interfere with your life and relationships.
It can be totally debilitating.
Counselling is highly effective in the treatment of the symptoms of anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by demonstrating how you think directly impacts the way you behave.
It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can also be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
In my opinion, CBT is a fantastic therapy when used as an integrative package to the other therapies I offer to my clients.
I run courses on CBT for fellow-professionals, and the public, that deliver a host of techniques around how to best free yourself from any distorted beliefs that may be getting in the way of you living the best life you can!
Feeling down from time to time is perfectly normal, but if you find that you’re feeling hopeless and despairing, if your low mood is affecting how you think, feel and perform your daily activities such as working, eating, studying sleeping and having fun, you may be suffering from depression.
Counselling can help with depression in many ways — let me name just two!
(1) We can explore the way negative or distorted thoughts lead to emotional, behavioural and physical consequences.
(2) We can examine the stressors in your life and see how these impact on you. We then play with ideas about making new choices which will help you change the way you live and see your life.
Don't suffer in silence. If you feel you could be suffering from depression, take your first steps towards a better life and book an initial consultation with me today.
Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)
This type of fast-trauma reduction has, with good reason, grown steadily in popularity for the past couple of decades and is a treatment recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence).
It is particularly indicated for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD often occurs after experiences such as military combat, physical assault, rape, or car accidents.
Complex PTSD can be the result of repeated traumas, such as an extremely unsafe environment whilst growing up due to emotional, mental or physical abuse or even being born into a war environment or having to flee one’s homeland for example.
To explore the use of this therapy, please book an initial consultation or simply contact me to obtain more information.
Grief & Bereavement
We all lose a loved one eventually.
Your loved one may be a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a companion animal. The loss may be sudden or it may be expected.
Everyone experiences grief in their own way. Some commonly experienced emotions are rage, shock, anger, guilt and longing. Other feelings, such as relief, are more difficult to address. It’s as if we feel there are acceptable and unacceptable emotions.
There are recognisable stages to the grieving process. These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But the stages don’t necessarily follow neatly in order - they may be experienced more like a pinball machine, bouncing back and forth for a while.
If you’re struggling with your grief, counselling can offer a safe, empathic space for you to explore your loss whilst coming to terms with a ‘new normal’.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a common condition which has two main parts: 'obsessions' and 'compulsions'.
Obsessions are unwelcome and irrational thoughts, images or urges, that repeatedly come into your mind. They cause you to feel anxious or uncomfortable.
Compulsions are repetitive activities that you carry out to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. These may be things like repeatedly washing your hands or checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.
OCD is no laughing matter. It can disrupt your daily life, your relationships and cause you to feel ashamed. It’s often accompanied by anxiety and depression. It’s often not diagnosed because it can be accompanied by other mental health conditions.
The good news is that counselling can help OCD sufferers a great deal.
A panic attack comes on suddenly.
It is a feeling of intense anxiety and can include shaking, sweating, feeling disoriented, nauseous, irregular heartbeats, breathlessness and dizziness. It can be very frightening. People sometimes feel like they’re going to die. Most panic attacks last between five to thirty minutes.
If you feel you are suffering a panic attack, try this...
(1) Breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose.
(2) Breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath.
(3) Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
(4) You should start to feel better in a few minutes and you may feel tired afterwards.
If you’ve had more than one panic attack and you’re struggling to deal with them, do seek help for your anxiety.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma occurs when there is a shock to the body or mind, or to both.
It results from a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and although armed services personnel are commonly diagnosed with PTSD, it can occur in all walks of life.
The symptoms of PTSD are varied and can include flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, panic attacks, avoidance of things that trigger memories of the original trauma, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, eating disorders, cognitive delays (sluggish mind) and lowered verbal memory ability (forgetting words).
Symptoms start within 3 months of an incident but they may not be particularly discernible until years later. Without treatment, it can remain with you for life.
The best way to treat PTSD is a fast trauma-reduction method called EMDR, a therapy discussed in more detail in the EMDR section of my website.
People can also suffer from a condition called Complex PTSD. This a psychological disorder that can develop in response to prolonged, repeated experience of trauma in an environment in which the individual has little or no chance of escape such as an abusive childhood featuring physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse, neglect, ongoing intimate relationship abuse, prolonged school bullying, victims of kidnapping, slavery, trafficking, unhappy boarding school experiences, cult membership. Such experiences can include protracted feelings of terror, worthlessness, helplessness and loss of a sense of identity.
Treatment for C-PTSD requires longer-term therapeutic work, as a good therapeutic relationship needs to be built, trust issues will need addressing, EMDR will need to be used to reduce the more debilitating symptoms of trauma before work can be done on helping the client to work on unresolved issues from the past, to establish good boundaries, a support network of trusted people and more.
Couples counselling is a specialised form of therapy where two people meet with a couples counsellor to discuss their relationship difficulties.
You may feel your relationship is on the rocks for some reason — perhaps there has been infidelity or betrayal of some kind — or just going stale, or other stresses. Perhaps you feel that your attempts to communicate either escalate into arguments or go nowhere.
With willingness on both sides, I can help you learn to listen to each other, and much more.
Couples counselling can save relationships.
It surely has to be worth a try? You can book a 12-week course with me, after which, whatever your decision, you will both be equipped with some communication skills and insight into relationships that you didn’t have prior to therapy, which will either enhance your current relationship or at least stop you continuing to make the same mistakes over again!
The most common signs of stress are low energy, recurrent headaches, pains, tense muscles, diarrhoea, constipation and nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, loss of sexual desire or ability to ‘perform’ sexually, anxiety, a feeling of being overwhelmed, an inability to motivate yourself, racing thoughts...and the list goes on...and I know we could all tick these boxes at times!
Long-term stress is however extremely debilitating and finding ways to deal with it can feel like pushing a rock uphill. Often, people who’re suffering from stress have fallen into particular ways of thinking or behaving which they think are helpful, but are actually not.
There are ways of dealing with stress and exploring alternative, helpful ways of dealing with it which are proven to be extremely helpful. If your car isn’t working well, you take it to a mechanic. If you are not functioning well under pressure, counselling can definitely help you.
Before you’re tempted to dismiss this as 'new-age nonsense', have a read of this...
The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC recorded within some of the oldest written texts called the Vedas.
The chakras have been described as centres of organisation for the reception, assimilation, transformation and expression of life energy (known variously as chi, ki, prana, the life force and so on).
The ancient chakra system can be used as a map for the process of becoming whole. The chakras are formed throughout childhood and traumas occurring during childhood can cause imbalances in the chakra system.
When the chakras are out of balance, the currents of the life force can be blocked. Which means we become stuck in repetitive patterns of behaviour, either focusing excessively on a particular type of energy or spending a lot of time avoiding it.
Although I don’t force any type of system of learning on my clients, I do lean on the chakras as a map to understand what’s going wrong and why, and in twenty or more years of practice, this wonderful theoretical model has never failed me.
My chakra courses are open to both professional colleagues and the public. See my Workshops page for further information.