There are three elements to my approach. Firstly, I seek to create a space in which a client feels safe enough to share whatever they need to. Secondly, I listen, deeply and attentively, with compassion and without judgement. Thirdly, I work collaboratively to help the client to gain greater awareness of the issues that have brought them to therapy and to start to understand how change is possible. I believe that change needs a lot of support and a bit of of healthy challenge, it needs old experiences to be reworked in the light of new insights and it needs to unfold within relationship.
The therapeutic relationship is the most important feature of the therapy that I provide. Humans are social beings, and we depend on one another for survival and happiness. Relationships are always complicated and sometimes harmful. As children, we learn everything we know, feel and do through relationships with our caregivers. We also need relationships to create meaning and work out answers to our most fundamental existential questions; who am I, who are these others and what are we supposed to be doing in the world?
Our knowledge, experiences and beliefs about ourselves, other people and the world can also be reworked in relationship. The exploration of the unique relationship between therapist and client illuminates our patterns of relating to ourselves and then to others. It brings into focus past dynamics and events and helps us to understand how unhelpful (although originally useful) patterns of relating endure in the present. The co-constructed therapeutic relationship then offers a world of possibilities for different ways of being in the world.
Psychotherapy research increasingly shows that it is the relationship that heals. My approach involves bringing my personality into the therapy room and being real with clients. Therapy can be painful, cathartic, funny, joyous, exciting and I am more than happy to meet clients in the full range of emotional states.
I would hope that we can draw our work to an end at a point when you feel that you enjoy greater self-awareness and exercise more choice about how you live your life.
I am an Integrative Psychotherapist. This means the following;
Integration of theoretical approach
I integrate several different psychotherapeutic and psychological theories which are either complementary or overlapping. The majority of these are humanistic approaches which believe in the innate capacity of people to develop, grow and exercise choice given the right relational conditions. I have a particular interest in Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Existential Therapy and Object Relations Theory. Mindfulness theory and practices feature centrally in my approach. I also draw on motivational interviewing and coaching skills to support change. Science and Art Integration
Psychotherapy is an exploration of what it is to be human and inevitably draw on both science and art. Therapy would lack meaning without the use of metaphor, symbolism, and creative expression and efficacy without the ability to track the alleviation of symptoms.
My approach to therapy is informed by research, particularly within neuroscience. Neuroscience is producing evidence of many long-established concepts for psychotherapy such as the ability of the brain to change (neuroplasticity), the neurobiological basis of empathy, the importance of relationship, and the intricate interactions between mind and body. Mind and Body Integration
D H Lawrence wrote ‘My belief is in the blood and flesh in being wiser than the intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos’
Most symptoms of mental health issues are felt initially in the body. Think of butterflies in your tummy when anxious or the heavy lethargy of depression. Our nervous system connects our minds and bodies together in intricate ways. The Vagus Nerve or wandering nerve runs from the brain stem to the abdomen, connecting the gut, heart, and most major organs and it is thought that 80-90% of its nerve fibres communicate ‘upwards’ from the body to the brain. Psychotherapy can help us to listen to our bodies’ feedback.
Integration of concepts of time
Psychotherapy seeks to change the future by unlocking the hold that the past has on the present. The present moment is the only place in time where the past present and future can coexist. In each and every moment that we live our lives, there is a micro-moment in which numerous possibilities exists and in which a historical pattern of behaviour or a way of experiencing the world can change. Together psychotherapist and client will create a series of unique moments in time which abound with possibilities for change.
My approach to Couples Therapy
The most important relationship in couples therapy is the couple. Therapy provides a more facilitative role, exploring current impasses in communication and affection in the context of historical patterns, both for the relationship and each partner. By exploring each partners relational needs and how they are or are not currently being met, couples therapy can create the possibility of individual growth as well as the necessary maturation of the relationship.
I decided to train as a counsellor in 2007 after a chance meeting with a man who was suicidal who needed someone to talk to. I was moved by the difference that a half hour conversation seemed to have on him and starting exploring training options. I had previously worked in poverty alleviation, community development and human rights work in the UK, Africa and Central America.
I obtained a certificate in counselling from the University of West of England in 2009. I subsequently trained in Group Analysis with the Institute of Group Analysis. I later decided to train as a psychotherapist because I believe that the depth of training involved is essential to support people effectively and at depth.
I have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from the Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership and now working towards full UKCP accreditation. I am registered with UKCP as a trainee member.
Since 2007 I have worked as a trainer on group psycho-education courses using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a motivational interviewer on a trail run by Cardiff University and as a mental health mentor for students at Swansea University.
I have provided counselling and therapy psychotherapy placement at Swansea University Wellbeing Services and currently work with the NHS Psychological Therapies team in Swansea in addition to seeing private clients.