Talking therapy is mostly about being in conversation with another person, even though, sometimes, silences can be part of that conversation and, in some modalities, other activities, such as drawing, walking or meditating, can also take place, if you have agreed to them. 

Therapy looks like a conversation with a friend, but an essential difference is that the focus is entirely on you. It is about bringing to the fore things that up until then were out of your awareness. Often, our experience and the issues we face don’t fall neatly into any one category, and I will work with you to identify and address whatever is troubling you at this particular moment in time.

I believe that a collaborative, compassionate and trusting relationship is the most important aspect of therapy. In practice, we will work together towards a joint understanding of your difficulties, that will take into consideration your past experiences as well as your present situation and your views of your future. My task as a therapist is to help you to reflect on the issues that trouble you and to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and sensations. This is so that you can make sense of them and start processing them differently, gradually easing feelings of ‘stuckness’, sadness, confusion, anxiety or other feelings that are affecting you.

Just as there are many reasons and contexts for therapy, there are different ways you can choose your therapist, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. From looking at their photo and see if you feel you can relate to them, to weighing their credentials or the description of their practice, every way is valid if it resonates with you. Or you may already know how you want to work, and choose a therapist who specialises in one specific approach. The important thing is to ask yourself what matters the most to you.

One central factor in therapy is the relationship between client and practitioner. In fact, research has shown that, beyond skills, techniques, and modalities, the relationship between client and therapist “makes substantial and consistent contributions to outcome” (Norcross & Wampold, 2018, p. 1896). It is therefore crucial that you spend some time during the initial session to consider if you will be comfortable working with me as your therapist.

If you find that my style of therapy doesn’t suit you, either in the initial session or at any point during therapy, we will work together to find other sources of support that may be more suitable to you.

After you have contacted me and told me about what is bringing you to counselling, we will organise a first meeting. When we first meet, we will talk about and agree on the terms of our work together. This is to help you make an informed choice about what to expect from me as your therapist and also about what is expected of you during therapy. This first session usually last about 50 minutes. It is not a counselling session but it aims to give you an idea of what having counselling might be like.

I will ask you some questions to better understand your background and the issues that are bringing you to counselling, as well as your hopes and goals.

You will be able to ask me any questions you may have about therapy approaches, about how to prioritise issues (or not), or anything else you feel is important. We will also talk about practical aspects such as payment and attendance. This is a two-way process which gives you an opportunity to see whether we can be a good fit working together.

There is no obligation to continue after this first session.

If you decide you want to go ahead, we will agree a mutually convenient time, day and format (e.g., time-limited or ongoing) for the sessions. I will then send you a copy of the counselling agreement. Agreements usually contain two broad parts concerning the practical aspects (the terms and conditions) and the therapeutic aspects (which describes your needs and choices).

I aim to be present with you at a deep emotional level. Working collaboratively means that I will listen to you with care and deep attention, so that I can more fully understand you. Different therapies use different skills and techniques, and can be more or less directive. However, in my view, no counselling should be prescriptive. That is, you, as the client, always have a say in how counselling is conducted. Counselling psychology relies on evidence-based knowledge. This means that the ways of working and being that I offer derive from research and from therapeutic practices that have shown their utility. Sometimes, I will offer a different perspective for you to consider, and/or I might share and discuss with you current psychological knowledge and research, about how our minds work. In this way, counselling will be a space for you to safely experiment with different ways of being and doingso that you can identify your own solutions.

I work pluralistically, which means I can draw on more than one theory to understand and meet your needs. The modalities I use in my practice include humanistic and psychodynamic approaches but also second and third-wave cognitive-behavioural therapies (CBT).

More specifically, I draw from:
  • Person-centred therapy (PCT)
  • Existential-phenomenological therapy (EPT)
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive-Analytic Therapy (CAT)

There are many ways of approaching emotional or psychological issues, and you can click on the link below for more detail about the way I work. It is by no means necessary to read this information before we meet. It is here if you prefer to see terms in writing but it is only indicative.
I will always talk with you about the various options that may be helpful in your specific situation and respond to your own preference.

Importantly, in counselling you will be encouraged to notice your emotions, as they arise in the course of the session, safe in the knowledge that I will not judge.

In a nutshell, humanistic counselling emphasises self-awareness and personal growth. In this context, I encourage you to explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences to gain insight and promote positive changes in your life. In particular, from a person-centred approach, I aim to provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment, seeking to understand your perspective and experience, from a position of empathy, genuineness and unconditional positive regard. In this way of working, you are seen as the expert on your own experience. In addition, when I approach work from an existentialist perspective, I may focus more on your search for meaning and purpose, if this is relevant to your situation. One aim of doing so, is to help you become aware of your choices, even when you feel you don’t have any, so that you can develop a sense of your personal agency and responsibility in creating your own life path.

As the name suggests, cognitive-behavioural approaches (CBT) focus on identifying and changing the thoughts and behaviours that contribute to psychological distress. When I work from this perspective, my aim is to help you identify some of your thought patterns and behaviours, and see in what ways they may hinder or block you or drive you in a direction you don’t want. The idea is that you can then challenge them and develop new, more helpful ways of thinking and behaving through some exercises and activities that we design together. In addition to this, when it is appropriate, we can use a third-wave CBT perspective. In this case the emphasis is on the importance of acceptance, mindfulness and compassion. For instance, when our work is based on ACT, you learn to “observe yourself” without negative judgment. We also aim to clarify what your values are – that is, what really matters to you, so that you can develop more self-awareness and motivation for change.

On the other hand, our initial or subsequent conversations may bring our attention on to the potential impact of unconscious thoughts and past experiences and how they may affect your current behaviour and emotions. In this case, a psychodynamic approach may be helpful. Our work together would aim to uncover and understand underlying patterns that may be contributing to your current difficulties. The intention is to develop insight to promote healing and personal growth. In particular, I may use CAT principles. This type of therapy integrates psychodynamic and CBT concepts. Our work together, if we use this approach, is about becoming aware of the ways your developmental history may shape your current patterns of relating, which in turn influence how people respond to you. To help in that process, we talk about your past experience, sometimes in childhood, or about the way you relate to others and others relate to you. You may then feel better equipped to develop alternative ways of being with others.