How I Work

I am trained integratively which means that I make use of a number of different approaches to counselling and therapy. I use the image of a fruit-bearing tree to illustrate my broad approach:

The fruit of the tree: The fruit represents the behaviours in your life that are causing you problems and that you would like to change. This might be an addiction; a pattern of relationships that is difficult; anxiety, depression, a phobia or an eating disorder for example. I may sometimes tackle this unwanted 'fruit' using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. This is a way of working which aims to directly change thought patterns which lead to unwanted behaviour. I see this as plucking the fruit, and equipping the client to go on plucking after counselling has ended. It is a way of managing the unwanted behaviours. Please note that I almost never work in a purely Cognitive Behavioural way - only ever as part of an overall integrative approach. For a pure CBT therapist, look here.

The roots of the tree: The tree also has roots which caused the fruit to appear in the first place. The issues listed above do not appear out of nowhere - they are the fruit of unresolved or unhealed issues from the past. Unless some 'digging' is done to tackle these roots, the fruit may continue to grow. The ultimate aim is not just to learn how to pluck the fruit (by managing the behaviour) but to uproot the whole poisonous tree to solve the issues long term and experience complete freedom. The root tackling is done through my skills in Psychodynamic Counselling.

All of this is underpinned by a Person Centred approach, a way of working which focusses on your inherent value as a person and the belief that each individual has the internal resources needed to grow. Person Centred counselling is underpinned by three core conditions: Unconditional Positive Regard - my stance of accepting you just as you are, unconditionally and without judgement; Empathic Understanding - my skills in putting myself in your shoes, seeing the world through your eyes and communicating that to you; and Congruence - my authenticity and genuineness. You will be sitting opposite a human being with a beating heart, not a cold professional facade.

In addition to the above, I have also received training in couple psychotherapy and in Play and Art Therapies. I have a lot of experience in using these skills in therapeutic work with children, but these ways of working are very transferable to adults and are particularly useful when it's hard to put things into words. Creative ways of working like these (such as drawing, painting, drama, visualisation, clay work and sand tray) are not for everyone though, and I would never insist on a client using them if they didn't feel comfortable.