I offer professional and confidential therapy to adults. I also offer EMDR.
Most of us need support when life gets difficult and it is at those times that counselling or psychotherapy can help.
What is psychotherapy?
I see psychotherapy as a process of discovery when the therapist gives her time, attention, understanding and support to the client who wants to explore a problem, clarify confusion, make a decision, or perhaps to learn some new ways of living.
Therapy does not involve giving advice or directing a client to take a particular course of action. My approach is underpinned by the ethical guidelines provided by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
How does therapy help?
There are many different reasons why people come for therapy. These can include clearly identifiable issues such as depression, anxiety, loss, or anger that seems to take over at times. Sometimes distress is less well-defined, and manifest by unexplained bodily symptoms, nightmares, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts or images. Sometimes people experience troubling memories of past events that are unresolved and may be causing difficulties in relationships. There may be problems related to work roles; career decisions; or unemployment; difficulties within the family; illness, divorce, infertility, adoption, or coping with an aging relative. Or maybe the difficulties are related to lack of confidence, or a sense of isolation or rejection..
What happens in therapy?
When I contract to work with a client I offer an initial commitment to meet for 6 sessions when we can both get a feel of whether or not the relationship is going to be useful. If the client wishes to continue after those 6 weeks we can continue the work until a mutually agreed time. However, as I am now semi-retired I do not take on very long term clients. So after every 12 sessions we engage in a collaborative evaluation where decisions can be made to end, to re-engage for another 12 sessions or to be referred on to a suitable therapist who can offer open-ended work.
Appointments last for an hour (usually 90 minutes for EMDR) and during the last ten minutes we will wind down in order that you are ready to leave on time.
What approach do I use?
My approach to therapy is underpinned by a belief in the uniqueness of each person and the value of an accepting and trusting therapeutic relationship. I was initially trained in humanistic, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioural theories and have since explored other models, notably narrative therapy, and integrated aspects of those into my practice.
I am also an EMDR therapist, accredited by EMDR UK and Ireland. Research has shown EMDR to be a treatment of choice for those wanting to recover and move on from traumatic experiences. This might include people who have recently been involved in one-off traumatic events such as road traffic accidents, rape or muggings etc or those who are still experiencing the aftermath of childhood trauma such as abuse, loss, bullying etc. It is a treatment recommended by NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
Simple one-off trauma may require 6-12 sessions of one and a half hours. Complex trauma that has been repeated over time will take longer and may be integrated into ongoing psychotherapy.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is an acronym for 'Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing'. It is a powerful method of dealing with distress that was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. She first published research that showed the benefits of EMDR in 1989.
Since then many more studies have shown the benefits of using this method particularly to deal with psychological trauma.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
When people are exposed to traumatic events the brain may be unable to process the experiences in the usual ways. Distressing events may become 'frozen in time', stored with all the intensity of the original experience. When something reminds the person (consciously or unconsciously) of the traumatic events, the frozen material may become activated and the person feels as though they are currently reliving the experience: they may become disturbed by intrusive thoughts, images, sounds, smells, and feelings that belong in the past. These reactions can have a negative effect on the way people see themselves, the world and other people. It can affect parts or all of their lives, including their ability to work or study.
How does it help?
EMDR helps people access their natural resources for dealing with distress by activating the brain's ability to process the traumatic or distressing material. After successful processing, a person can still recall difficult events but without the distress. EMDR seems to act on the brain in a way that is similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Whichever approach is used confidentiality is assured - that means that I will not talk about your work with anybody without your permission. However all counsellors are required by their professional code of ethics (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) to work with a supervisor, so from time to time I will talk to my supervisor about our work. The other exception is: if at any time during our work I judge you may be a danger to yourself or somebody else I will not keep that information confidential. I would normally inform clients if I considered this action necessary.