Counselling Psychotherapy London

Counselling and Psychotherapy: space to explore

Counselling & Psychotherapy 

Counselling is usually quite short-term and might be focussed on a specific issue, whilst psychotherapy tends to be a longer-term and more wide-ranging exploration of yourself and your life.  However, I do not make a clear distinction between counselling and psychotherapy; you might decide to start with something specific that's troubling you, and then later stay for a longer period of time to explore other aspects of your life.  

Both are about having a confidential, safe space to talk about yourself and your concerns.  I aim to offer you a supportive and non-judgemental relationship in which you can explore whatever is troubling you in life, express your feelings and thoughts, and come to a clearer understanding of yourself.  

How do I work?

I describe my approach to therapy as existential, integrative, relational, and trauma-informed.  Those words might not mean much to you, so I will try to explain a bit what that means.

My training as an existential psychotherapist means that I draw on philosophy as well as psychology to inform how I understand the sorts of concerns that might lead someone to seek therapy.  

There are some life experiences that we all have to face and that we might feel anxious about: making life decisions about relationships or work, relating to others, facing illness, ageing and loss.  The particular ways in which we encounter these experiences are unique to each individual.   We are all seeking to make our lives meaningful in our own personal way, to understand our difficulties, and to find our way to living as fully and freely as we can.  We are never isolated individuals, but always living in the context of our personal relationships, our social and cultural environments, and our own values and aspirations.   We often hold ourselves back from living fully, or find ourselves in difficulties in our close relationships, or struggle to find a sense of purpose in our lives.  Therapy can help in unravelling some of the knots that we have tied for ourselves.  

Therapy is concerned with exploring and clarifying your choices, values, or meanings, and addressing how you deal with the inevitable challenges of life. It aims to help you understand yourself, how you might repeat patterns of behaviour or relationship which are limiting or destructive, and how you might make different choices for yourself in the future. 

My integrative approach means that I also draw on knowledge about the ways in which earlier life experiences might influence how we feel about ourselves today and how we approach the challenges we are facing.  Sometimes the origins of our difficulties lie in childhood and family experiences which have affected us as adults; therapy can be helpful in enabling us to understand these influences and to overcome the ways in which they might limit us.  My initial training was in Gestalt counselling, which shares many of these ideas and includes creative ways of exploring them in therapy.

By a relational approach, I mean that I aim to offer a therapeutic relationship which is warm, supportive, and engaged.  Sometimes things can feel a bit awkward or “sticky” in the therapy relationship, and then it is important that we talk this through together.

A trauma-informed approach means that I have a good understanding of the ways in which traumatic experiences can affect people, and how to explore that safely in therapy.  I have a specialist training in Trauma Therapy and many years experience of working with people affected by trauma.