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My Therapeutic Approach

My initial formal therapeutic training was based on Existential Psychotherapy (see more below), but since gaining further experience working with a variety of individuals and environments, I have incorporated a wider range of styles and approaches into my own eclectic way of working with people. Essential and foundational to all my approaches is my Interpersonal Style formed by ideas from Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic, Family Systems, and Schema-Based therapies. The main thrust of this style is in how the relationship between us--client and therapist--evokes feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that originated in earlier life experiences. By identifying these patterns in therapy directly through our relationship, we can more readily break the cycles that have kept you trapped or stuck.

In my experience, I've found that sticking dogmatically to any one approach is less effective, and my clients have commented on my attentive, flexible, and accommodating style. So, while Existential Psychotherapy and my Interpersonal Style serve as a general "philosophical" and scientific foundation for how I work with clients, I also incorporate a variety of ideas and methods that are helpful or effective according to your own personal needs and circumstances. These primarily include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) (see more below) and Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy (see more below).

In practice, my role is to facilitate a safe confidential space for you to process and understand your uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, and discover alternative ways of dealing with your difficulties through growing awareness and autonomy. I aim to be present and interactive with you, helping you to discover the relationship you have with yourself and others, the role you play in your current situation, how the past has contributed to your current circumstances, and the difficulties you want to understand or resolve. I will also be reflecting back what I have observed and heard so that you can gain valuable insights, enabling and empowering you to see things from different perspectives, and opening up opportunities to make more informed and authentic decisions.


Existential/Humanistic Therapy

Existential therapy has its modern roots in the 19th and 20th century philosophical movement called "existentialism". This movement centres around notions of human purpose and the general and present experience of human existence. From this idea, many thinkers acknowledged that to exist is to live in a world with existential "givens", that is, unavoidable facts or tendencies, such as the idea that life can be difficult, confusing, overwhelming and full of uncertainty; that we all are mortal and not invulnerable; that we all perceive the world through our unique subjective perspective; and that we bear some responsibility for our decisions. In response to these "givens" or life-challenges, said thinkers believed that we must find ways to accept them, and in so doing, to discover ways of taking ownership over our lives so that we strive to make the best of the valuable time we have. The existential therapist attempts to work closely with the client’s present-experience in order to connect with their authentic selves, encouraging and challenging clients to develop their own authenticity in the world.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is widely used in the NHS and in the private sector, and relies heavily upon scientific research and logical or rational analysis. It aims to help people identify the nature and relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This can help to develop insight into our problems and what maintains them. CBT does not generally seek to understand how past experiences caused or influenced present problems, but rather to work on current problem areas in an effort to help clients change their thinking habits and behaviours. Whilst CBT therapists tend to be more generally directive in sessions, the therapeutic relationship in CBT is collaborative. Relative to other "talking therapies", CBT is sometimes considered to be a more practical approach to changing symptoms with specified techniques or skills, and sometimes, clients are asked to do "homework" tasks. It's important to clarify that I am trained in CBT techniques and approaches but I am not an accredited CBT therapist, who are also more specialised when treating more severe or complex problems.


Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

This is primarily a trauma-focused approach that has been shown to be very effective with trauma victims or people with PTSD, but it can also be effective with other problems, such as anxiety, depression, grief, and others. In a nutshell, EMDR works by unblocking unprocessed traumatic or difficult memories so that the body's natural healing can resume. The "EM" part of "EMDR" stands for "Eye-Movement" because it tends to rely on helping people to move their line of sight from left to right multiple times, stimulating both sides of the brain and, in theory, accelerating the processing of unblocked memories. However, eye-movements aren't the only way to stimulate the brain in this way, and some people prefer to tap their shoulders or laps with their hands from left to right instead. The "D" stands for "Desensitisation" which involves reducing the intensity and vividness of the traumatic memories, while the "R" stands for "Reprocessing", which means updating the memory so that it is not out of control but stored alongside other non-traumatic memories you have.

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