How I work.
I am an Integrative Counsellor, and have been since 2011. I take from a range of models and theories and integrate them into a coherent approach. The core and basis of all that I do is Person-Centred, this means that I value the contribution and self-knowledge clients bring, I seek to enable a secure relational environment for you to explore your difficulties. I find that the more we can accept ourselves and show ourselves compassion, the greater our ability to change and be resilient.
I am informed by Transactional Analysis which I find a useful model for understanding our internal processes and how we relate (and want to relate) to others. It can also be helpful in trying to unpick any problematic relationships with food/eating/weight/size.
In Attachment Theory the early experiences have a strong influence in how we are in the present, how we build and maintain relationships, how we value ourselves. It is useful to bear in mind during any therapeutic work although it varies how much each of us needs to focus on it.
Mindfulness is a valuable way to help us be in the here and now, rather than dragged along by our anxious thoughts. There are great courses and books out there for those who want to explore it in more depth. For me the stance of sitting with our thoughts and feelings, yet sometimes choosing not to focus on them, invaluable. Using breathing and grounding techniques to help us be and react differently.
For some clients I make use of some of the tools from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, these might be Thoughts Diaries to track anxious thoughts, Situation Analysis to give us greater insight into why we think/feel/behave in response to certain situations, thinking about things we might avoid doing because of anxiety and working towards doing them with a gradual, stepped approach.
I find it useful at times to experiment with a range of creative, experiential tools such as therapeutic writing and using art to express our thoughts and feelings. This can be done in the session or between sessions. I find it vital to reassure clients that the outcome is not important, we're not in an art class or writing group, no one need ever see what you make or write. What is important is the process, using the tool of writing/drawing/painting/collage/craft for self-exploration, giving yourself the permission to try something, and not worry about it being 'good'. Experimenting with art or writing can provide tools to look after yourself and reflect on between sessions, and after the therapy ends.
I work in an LGBTQ+ Affirmative way and within an Anti-Discriminatory Framework.