MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy
I am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and as such, I am bound by their Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
How safe we feel is crucial to our physical and mental health and happiness - Stephen Porges
I have a particular interest in attachment theory, neuroscience, relational and developmental psychotherapy, and mindfulness, and their capacity, when tailored to individual needs within the therapeutic relationship, to treat a range of difficulties.
Attachment Theory, which originated in the work of John Bowlby, described the importance of secure, attuned and sensitive parental presence in the development of a child's secure sense of self and stable ongoing identity. Without the experience of this early secure base, insecure, anxious and avoidant attachment styles can develop,and lead to difficulties in relationship, such as feeling isolated, or clinging to relationships that mimic the insecurities experienced in early life. The impact on the way we feel, think and act can be profound.
My work is also informed by an understanding of how the way in which we interpret experiences in our early life, can lead to beliefs about ourselves that deeply impact the way we think, feel and act in adulthood. Painful experiences that we were too young to make sense of might be pushed down or locked away inside, later emerging in adulthood in addictions, not only to substance and alcohol misuse or gambling as we may traditionally think, but also to work, shopping, pornography, fitness and food, amongst other things. Becoming aware of the use of these activities as ways to numb pain, is the first step to working through these early experiences and honouring the clever adaptatons made in childhood, which no longer serve us in relationship with ourselves and others. Therapy offers a way of understanding and working through these experiences, enabling freedom and choice, without being governed by our 'puppet master' (Gabor Maté) pulling the strings.
Gaining an understanding of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) through working with the principles of Polyvagal Theory (Stephen Porges) also offers the opportunity to befriend, and become an 'active operator' of our nervous system (Deb Dana).
I believe that in developing a genuine, secure, relationship together in therapy it is possible to find a way forward that is right for you as a unique person with your own individual experiences, beliefs and needs.
The theories and approaches described above also inform my work with couples. My approach to couples therapy is to gain an understanding of the relational dynamics at work within the couple; using attacnment theory and an understanding of how the experience of each partner's family of origin may be being replayed in the romantic relationship. The secure, sensitive and attuned therapeutic relationship is a necessity in the foundation of a space in which you can feel safe enough to explore and work towards shared relationship goals and better contact between you as a couple.
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