Counselling & Psychotherapy

Therapy comes from the Greek word for ‘healing’, and this sums up how I feel about the process: whether it’s called ‘counselling’ or ‘psychotherapy’, it’s about healing a problem in life. Sometimes it’s about addressing and resolving a specific problem, other times it’s about a general or more deep-rooted issue. But whatever it is, you have to heal before you can flourish. Life happens – we all face challenges and difficulties at some point or another. What matters is not just what happens to us but how we make sense of it and how we deal with it. The choice to have therapy is about dealing with it. It shows strength and resilience.

I am trained in attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapy. This kind of therapy involves talking about, trying to understand, and sometimes challenge, our behaviours, thoughts and feelings, especially the ones that we might not be so aware of – particularly in our close relationships. The type of therapy I practice is also referred to as ‘psychodynamic’, which is really what it says on the tin – our psychology is dynamic. We change in relation to our experiences, especially the ones we have early in life. It’s our relationship experiences however that have the most powerful effect on us throughout our entire lives. That’s why in attachment-based therapy, the relationship that develops between us is a really important part of the process – you’re not just doing it by yourself, we work together on your difficulties.

What does therapy involve?

Quite simply: talking. I focus more on talking than doing. Each session is a conversation where you are invited to talk about any part of you and your experience – anything and everything can be put on the table, so to speak. My approach tends to be more emotional rather than practical – I won’t tell you what to do. But we will talk together, and think together, about your feelings, your life and what is and isn’t working for you. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been, so we will talk about your past, as well as your present and future, and join up the dots of your experience – what are the emotional roots? We will aim to make sense of, and try to change, things that are troubling you. Research has shown that creating a story from your experience is not only emotionally healing, but physically too – it helps heal physical wounds heal faster. I will help you to tell your story.

How can therapy change me?

The ‘big answer’ to this question is that you feel better and start to live more of a life that you want. But here are some specifics:

  • Experiencing feelings that are less ‘raw’
  • Improved ability to identify and express your feelings
  • Feeling less stuck, weighed down, defeated or in ‘knots’ about things
  • Feeling less like you need to have your defences up all the time
  • Better strategies for coping when you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious
  • Better understanding of yourself and others, particularly attachment needs
  • Greater capacity to seek support from others
  • Feeling more able to trust others – like the world is a safer place
  • Greater engagement and interest in having relationships
  • Less of that internal critical voice that gives you a hard time
  • A stronger sense of who you are and what you want from life
  • Feeling like your life is less limited
  • Greater pleasure and satisfaction in taking part in a range of things in life, from work to relationships.

Frequently asked questions about therapy

What issues can you help me with?

I work with most issues depending on what you are looking for. Over the years I have worked with a variety of clients, from all walks of life.

Sometimes people want support because things have happened to them, life events such as a death, a divorce or a break-up. I work a lot with individuals who have experienced difficulties early on in life, particularly losses and separations. My background in the field of attachment is helpful for working with relationship issues, whether its relationships with people or with other things in life, for example, food – part of my PhD included working with individuals diagnosed with eating disorders. Some individuals have specific symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. Others struggle with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence.

You don’t have to have a specific reason to come to therapy – you could just feel lost and lonely. Maybe you can’t pinpoint what’s wrong, things just don’t feel right and life simply isn’t going the way you expected. If you’re asking yourself, ‘why am I feeling the way that I’m feeling?’ then exploring this in therapy can be very helpful.

How often will I need to come?

If we decide to proceed with therapy then we would meet weekly. We would agree a day and time for our sessions that works for both of us. Maintaining regularity and consistency is important to give you the best chance of progressing.

Weekly therapy is standard and preferable, as it creates an environment to ‘hold’ you; if sessions happen less often there can be a sense that we are just ‘catching up’ with each other, rather than getting to the heart of the difficulty you are experiencing.

 

How long will it take?

My aim is to help you to get where you want to be, in the shortest amount of time possible. I don’t believe in people being in therapy for longer than they need and along the way I will check in with you to see how you feel our work is going. We can work short-term for a designated number of sessions, or in a more long-term and open-ended way, which tends to be mostly how I work. At the start, if it’s helpful, we will can agree a way of working, and we can always adjust as we go. It really depends on what you’re experiencing and how long it’s been going on for. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are like ‘spirals’ or ‘vicious cycles’ generally need more time to work through. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t get better.

Even though the issue can take some time to more fully resolve, having a safe space where you can talk openly and honestly can immediately help you to feel better.

How much will it cost?

Life/relationship ‘MOT’: £400(4 sessions, including an Attachment Style Interview)

Therapy sessions: £75

All sessions are 50 minutes and can be face to face, online or via telephone. I am based in North London. 

Sometimes I am able to offer concessionary fees (£60-£70) depending on your circumstances, if our work is likely to be long-term, and spaces being available.

Are you accredited with my health insurance?

I am approved with all of the major private health insurance providers but please get in touch if you are unsure and I can confirm for you.

Is therapy confidential?

Yes. Everything you say to me is confidential, and this is important for establishing trust in our relationship. The only time I will break confidentiality is if I am concerned that you are at risk of harming yourself or others, and this is a legal and ethical requirement. In this case, I will always try speak to you before I take any further action.

Can therapy help me right now?

If you feel that you need immediate help please call the Samaritans on 116 123 or text ‘SHOUT’ to contact Shout Crisis Text Line. The NHS urgent mental health helpline also provides 24-hour advice and support. I do not offer emergency help in the way that these services do.

Is online therapy different from face to face therapy?

Whether we work online or face to face, it’s still the quality of the relationship between us that is most important aspect and predictor of whether this experience will be of help to you; research consistently shows this.

I am a member of the association for counselling and therapy online (ACTO) and I conduct online sessions using appropriate digital platforms that are safe and secure. My experience of working online is a positive one; I have found that it has opened up a valuable opportunity for so many people during the time of coronavirus. Working online offers more flexibility, especially geographically, but it’s important to ensure a person has an appropriate private space with good Wi-Fi for sessions. We will discuss whether online or face to face will be most appropriate before starting our work together.

I think I’d like you to help me – what do I do?

Please get in touch with me: call or email me or use the contact page. I’ll respond quickly (always within 48 hours) to arrange an initial conversation – a free 20 minute phone call so that I can learn more about you and we can talk about what would be the best way to help you (see here for information on the services I offer).

Infrequently asked questions about therapy

What if I don’t feel like attending my session?

I can understand that feeling, but consistency and continuity is an important part of the work – it gives you the best chance of making progress and it helps to develop our relationship. For therapy to be most effective, it needs regular engagement and commitment; I can’t do the work for you or without you.

What if I don’t have anything to say in my session?

I don’t expect preparation for our sessions; please come just as you are. Sometimes we might have silences in our sessions, and that is absolutely fine – it’s important to have some time to reflect and see where that takes us. In my experience, I have never had a client with nothing to say during a session. I am confident that we will always find something interesting, relevant and meaningful in your life to talk about

What if therapy feels uncomfortable?

Talking about how you feel, particularly if you’ve had a negative experience or have never really done so before, can be uncomfortable. I do understand that. But there are things I can do to help: I will be warm and welcoming. I will listen non-judgmentally. I will tune in and be empathic. I will be there for our session each week. This all helps to create a safe space where we can work on your difficulties together.

What if I feel upset or angry with you?

That is perfectly ok. We experience good and bad feelings in all relationships, and the therapeutic relationship is no different. Exploring these kinds of feelings is an important part of the work in therapy.