My approach to counselling/psychotherapy
People usually come to therapy because they are unhappy with aspects of their life and they would like to be able to change the way they respond to their circumstances. My approach to helping is person-centred, rather than problem-centred. I aim to offer deeply respectful, non-judgmental listening and to be a skilled facilitator.
I am interested in the aspects of your life that lead you to feel the way you do. I tend not to focus on mental health diagnoses, unless a client finds that helpful. Most of the clients I see suffer to some degree from feeling depressed and anxious and many have low self-esteem. There are many different reasons that people come to feel that way: critical parents, difficult life transitions, loss, work-related stress, bullying, trauma, abuse, sexual issues, identity issues, existential issues, spiritual issues, inter-cultural issues, relationship issues. People often find ways of coping that themselves are problematic: addictions, dissociation, self-harm. I have experience of working with all these issues and ways of coping. The way forward for each person generally depends on the details of their life situation and the way they are responding to it.
I don’t give advice or tell people what to do, but will sometimes offer suggestions or personal opinions if they are sought. My focus is on helping clients to find their own way forward in life, rather than recommending a ready-made route. However, if the client thinks it would be helpful, I will also share my knowledge of certain topics like assertiveness, cognitive/behavioural techniques or mindfulness.
Patterns of relating
Very often the difficulties people face are connected with interactions in friendships, romantic relationships (whether same-sex, different-sex, monogamous or polyamorous), family relationships or relationships at work. Difficulties can range from feeling awkward about making conversation in social situations to serious mental disorders brought about by abusive relationships. Important relationships with others also have an influence on how we relate to ourselves and on our sense of identity.
Relationships have a significant effect on the quality of our lives. Good relationships can give rise to happiness, fulfilment and purpose. Poor relationships often give rise to discontent, anxiety, depression, anger and conflict. The absence of relationship through separation or death can cause psychological pain and loneliness.
I have an interest in the way people relate to each other and to themselves, and also in the way certain modes of relating are embedded in societal norms. I can often help clients gain a fuller understanding of their patterns of relating and help them then find better ways of relating to others and to themselves.