Counselling, psychotherapy and supervision in Market Harborough and near Kensington, Central London.
I am a psychotherapist and counsellor with a private practice in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, and Bayswater in central London. I am a senior therapist at the 'Mindtalk' group in Market Harborough, and also provide professional group or individual supervision to other therapists. I work with sensitivity and respect together with you, to offer help in the face of particular problems or the most prolonged and intense difficulties.
For example, I work with the following issues:
Stress and anxiety
Problems with confidence, self-esteem
Dealing with loss
Family and parenting difficulties
Problems at work
Eating disorders, self harm
Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress
Unresolved issues from the past, abuse
Dreams and nightmares
I provide caring and sensitive counselling and psychotherapy for a wide range of problems and blocks and use psychotherapy for growth and life's enhancement. My approach is transpersonal and integrative, including the use of EMDR when appropriate - see the FAQ page for an explanation. You can see a video of me introducing myself on YouTube.
If you live or work in the Central London areas of Bayswater, Kensington or near Market Harborough in Leicestershire and are interested in counselling or psychotherapy, supervision or EMDR, to discuss how I might be able to help you please contact me and I will be happy to arrange an appointment for you.
My approach is guided by you, and depends on trust in the relationship. Sometimes therapy looks like 'just talking' - although a great deal is going on in that process, with the client doing most of the talking as they explore their thoughts and feelings about the issues they bring.
As counsellor in central London my rooms are conveniently located 5 minutes walk from the tube station at Bayswater and a stone's throw from Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park in a characterful Edwardian building that used to house the offices of Spike Milligan. In Market Harborough my psychotherapy practice is located in discreet cosy rooms with easy parking right in the town center.
Below I outline two other aspects of the way I sometimes work.
Working through body awareness
Increasingly, I have become convinced that an effective, gentle and profound way to access real and permanent change is through working with the way feelings and traumatic reactions become trapped in the body. Many of us go through life in the mistaken belief that the key to control how we feel is by the power of our rational mind. However our mind-body link is much more complex than this. By gently guiding the client to bring sensations to awareness as they are sharing their thoughts and feelings, and working with them positively it is possible to create release from trauma which may have unconsciously been trapped for years. How this looks is like the client simply sitting in their chair, concentrating on the sensations in their body, and sharing with, being watched and guided by the therapist. The release of previously trapped feeling is experienced as a sense of gentle expansion, of awareness of the wider room and the world outside in central London or Market Harborough, and a shift to lightness of mood, pleasant humour and a sense of connection both inside the self, and to the therapist and others. There is a wealth of neurological research - polyvagal theory is one angle, Somatic Experiencing another - to explain and support why and how this works.
Working with dreams and images
Have a look at my Articles and Workshops page to read about the value of working with dreams. Their powerful images, feelings, and their freedom from the 'sense' imposed by your consious self offer a way to connect with yourself - that 'aha! awareness - that we simply can't gain by ourselves or with the aid of books. The purpose is not to impose a generalised meaning, but instead to find the meaning that is unique to the individual, through exploring by way of the dreamer's own associations. Often the deep meaning is accessed by making contact with with the essence of feeling in the dream. When a deeper level of connection with self is made, change happens.
I regularly run a series of experiential workshops for counsellors and therapists in Market Harborough and Little Venice, Central London, on Working with Dreams.
Endorsements: "Brilliant day, enjoyed it, left feeling uplifted, not overwhelmed. Pace of day was just right." "Really enjoyed the day and powerful learning", "Stimulating and valuable content, practical and helpful in my work", "Very useful content. Great to put into practise.
Do enquire if you would like to know more. For counsellors and psychotherapists and those in training.
This Month's Blog: Anxiety and Depression and the need to be Good Enough
One of the most basic needs we have as human beings is to feel confirmed in our being, and good about ourselves. Stripped of intellectual language and science-speak, we need to know that we are loveable. This need is stronger perhaps even than that of food and shelter; infant animals deprived of a parent or caregiver's touch yet given shelter and food have been seen to die through the lack of a caring touch. Our basic patterns of reaction and response are created at this time.
The more secure we are in our sense of self worth, the less we are vulnerable to anxiety and self-critical beliefs; the more we can thrive.
Even in the healthiest upbringing as infants we experience the pain of disappointing our care-givers. The fear of the withdrawal of their approval teaches us about what guilt feels like and to adapt and 'be good' to avoid it. It's a huge fear - withdrawal of approval is like the threat of death to a dependent child and the body responds accordingly with stress. The brain is given a boost of the stress hormone cortisol linked with adrenaline, which facilitates all the physical responses to stress.
If the caregiver is insensitive sometimes the guilt tips over into something even more self-harming: shame - the sense that we are intrinsically bad. This is not a rational thing - it is held in our bodies (like blushing) through sensation, and plays out through our primitive survival reactions. For some of us, even with otherwise happy upbringing, the sensitivity meter is more finely calibrated than others. We're accordingly more driven to avoid the pain, more driven to be good, to be successful, have a fear of failure, and may be more prone to anxiety.
The symptoms of anxiety are many, for example feelings of free-floating worry or excessive tension, or panic, a racing heart, choking and breathlessness. Alternatively it may appear as obsessions or compulsions, or a phobia, or social embarrassment. So with a list like this anxiety and pride may seem at first glance to be an unlikely pairing. However when we look closer, they are often two sides of the same coin. Many of us are not aware that the driving energy behind our general anxiety is the fear of being exposed as not good enough - or worse, of being bad. The feeling of being not good enough - or failure - is so harrowing that the mind suppresses awareness of it and devises subtle strategies to avoid and compensate.
There are different ways this fear of exposure can play out: one response to this is to be invested in anything that brings a feeling of being MORE than good enough - of being the best! And 'best' might mean superior in any number of ways: physically or spiritually, or the richest, cleverest, most efficient, strongest, most loving.
"Tyrannical fantasies of our own perfectibility lurk in even our simplest ideals… so that any ideal can become another excuse for punishment. Lives dominated by impossible ideals, complete honesty, absolute knowledge, perfect happiness, eternal love are experienced as continuous failure." (Adam Phillips 'Darwin's Worms', 1999)
Fear of failure can be inward focussed and self-burdening which might lead to masochistic or addictive behaviour, or turned outwards and quite aggressive and power-hungry. Whether you succeed or fail at maintaining the high standard you set yourself, you can't win so long as the underlying fear-inducing cause remains hidden. Depression and anxiety is the result.
You may rightly argue: "surely it's good to be proud of oneself! After all, we teach our children to be proud of themselves don't we?" I still feel great about myself every time I remember my name being announced as the winner of an essay competition at school and I'm not about to suggest that feeling is wrong. Nevertheless, most of us have learnt somewhere along the line that pride is a sin. How can we make sense of this contradiction, and stop burdening ourselves with guilt when we have every right - in fact in counselling we are positively encouraged - to appreciate ourselves?
The key is to notice the difference between appreciating one self and being driven to feel pride about oneself.
In the counselling room this compulsive need to be good enough and its underlying sense of the void of unloveability might play itself out through a highly critical awareness and hypersensitivity to criticism. At the far extreme it appears as narcissism and an inability to make or receive relationship. It will be experienced by both therapist and client, though the experienced therapist will be using awareness of these signs as pointers to the need for validation and confirmation of being. Without having the validity of their pride questioned, the client can be led to wonder what is driving the need to feel that.
The clue to recognising the 'investment' in pride might be in noticing how sensitive we are to challenges to it, or perhaps in how judgemental we are about the failings of others, or how sensitive we are to the envy of others. Healthy pride is something which increases our sense of being connected to others. Unhealthy compulsion to be good enough drives a need to get things right at all costs, leads to anxiety, and separates us from others.
With the unconditional acceptance, compassion and support of a counsellor or psychotherapist it is possible for these deep wounds and their compulsive power to be faced and understood. And then understanding, self-compassion and deep healing can manifest.
See my Articles and Workshops page to read more of my articles.
My counselling and psychotherapy, supervision and EMDR are based in 9 Orme Court, Central London W2 near Kensington and in Market Harborough in Leicestershire within easy reach of Leicester, Northampton, Peterborough, Kettering, Corby, Uppingham, Melton Mowbray, Oakham and Rutland.
BACP registered counsellor and psychotherapist – UKCP accredited