View ‘The Plate of Security’

‘The Plate of Security’

Something happened this month that left me feeling a little insecure: I was featured in the May edition of ‘The Psychologist’. My article is about me and my mum. Leaving, and losing. Separating. A search for comfort. Eating. Reuniting through that eating. The strange situation of cooking a meal to somehow try and bring about…

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View ‘Some like it hot. Some like it to hurt.’

‘Some like it hot. Some like it to hurt.’

I have heard this story before: ‘I thought ‘fuck him’ and chucked a load of chilli into his dinner that night.’ This was clearly not a romantic dinner à deux. My client was telling me about making dinner for her husband. But this was no ordinary weeknight supper; this was the meal she cooked for…

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View ‘Be my guest’

‘Be my guest’

In therapy, there is a guest. That’s you. And there is a host. That’s me. Our roles are defined. They have to be. After all, if you don’t know where you stand, you won’t know if it is safe to fall, or to be vulnerable. Therapy is, if you like, a form of hospitality. It…

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View ‘Let them eat dirty cake’

‘Let them eat dirty cake’

It appeared that my new client had been inspired by Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat their dirty cake. I don’t want it. I don’t know where their hands have been’ she said during one session early on in our work together. There was no chewing of words; she spat them straight out. Although her firing…

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View ‘All I want for Christmas is you, Deliveroo’

‘All I want for Christmas is you, Deliveroo’

Sleigh bells did not ring for my client at Christmas. There was only one sound he waited for on Christmas Day: the jingle bell of the front door. It meant that Deliveroo had arrived with his Christmas dinner – his gift to himself. ‘Kebabs, Indian, Chinese. I order exactly what I want. All different dishes…

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View ‘I should be souvlaki in love’

‘I should be souvlaki in love’

Therapy is about love. Freud himself even asserted that psychoanalytic treatment ‘is effected by love’. Here, Freud really meant the therapeutic relationship. The relationship between a client and a therapist is so important – it’s the part you feel the most. When I’m in the room, the stories I feel the most are those of…

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View ‘How to be a Domestic Therapist’

‘How to be a Domestic Therapist’

When I finished my psychotherapy training, I didn’t follow the ‘recipe’; I didn’t rent a consulting room and buy Freud’s Standard Edition. Instead, I bought knives, chefs’ whites and clogs; I decided to swap the couch for the kitchen; I went to Leiths School of Food and Wine to do an intensive course in classic…

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View ‘A MasterClass in life’

‘A MasterClass in life’

I have always loved MasterChef. It is a masterclass in emotional life – you can live Delia dreams vicariously through the contestants and you experience all their delight and disappointment along the way. The show is also a good reminder that in cooking, much like in therapy, there is no such thing as perfect, only…

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View ‘I’ve set the chicken on fire. Do you want me to go?’

‘I’ve set the chicken on fire. Do you want me to go?’

Those were my words. I said them during one of my finals at Leiths School of Food and Wine. The exam required us to cook a classic of French cuisine: a supreme of chicken with a tarragon sauce, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. On that particular day, however, I found that simple fare…

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