What my training says about how I work ...
I am a Person-Centred psychotherapist, which probably doesn't mean very much to you, but there are different approaches to counselling and psychotherapy, and some of the approaches offer clients quite different things. There are some important differences to note.
As a Person-Centred therapist, I believe in the positive nature of all of us. I think we will always strive to cope with adversity and do the best for ourselves, no matter what life throws at us. Sometimes, the way in which we cope can look quite strange or seem incomprehensible to outsiders, or people who don't really understand what we're trying to cope with. You might not even recognise or understand your coping strategies yourself. Your emotions might seem too complex to fathom, or they might feel very remote and inaccessible. You might be trying to cope by over-working, drinking, hurting yourself, lashing out at others. Or you might be cutting significant others out, putting distance between yourself and those you care about. You could be experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, or body pain which doesn't seem related to an ill-health condition. If you have experienced trauma, your body might have developed more complex coping strategies which are commonly referred to as mental health disorders. This might include OCD, hearing voices or psychosis.
So how do I work? Well, as a client, I believe in your individuality and worth as a person. I strongly believe you should have the freedom to choose your own direction in life and to find your own set of values to live your life by. I also want you to be able to identify coping strategies that work for you. This strongly influences the way that I work with my clients.
Fundamentally, I believe that you are the best authority on your life and experiences, and my aim is to help you explore yourself, your life, your emotions, and to better understand what is going on and how it is impacting you. Ultimately, I want you to be able to make sense of your situation and your feelings so that you can make choices that are right for you at this point in your life. I truly believe that only you know how you feel and that you are the only person who can decide who to be and how to live your life. I don't aim to act as an expert on your life, someone to whom you come to ask for solutions. I don't see myself as that person, because I feel that the answers, if there are any, lie within you. I also don't believe in quick fixes and I won't offer you any! I believe that working together like this will help you to develop resilience and empower you to make the right choices for you at the right time. Once you are more able to connect with your emotions and work through them, I believe that you will rely less on your previous coping strategies and find more positive ways to cope. Hopefully, these will be ways that leave you feeling happier and more in control.
In terms of our work together, I believe that it's the strength of our therapeutic relationship that will make the most difference. For this reason, I will try to create an environment in which you will feel safe, heard and understood. I also hope that you will experience me as a real, warm and genuine person in our work together. I will be very accepting of what you share with me; you won't be judged by me or offered an alternative way of feeling or being. I hope that by learning to identify, own and value your feelings, you will be better equipped to manage them going forwards.
We can work together in the short or long-term, depending on what your needs are.
Please be aware, I won't provide you with a mental health diagnosis, offer advice or suggest specific behavioural changes for you.
You might spend a while thinking about therapy before starting; it is an important and sometimes difficult decision. You could be worried about committing to it, or you might be uncertain if therapy can help; you can email me to discuss that. Or you might be considering if I am the right therapist for you; About Me tells you a bit more about me.