I offer a talking therapy that combines psychodynamic, humanistic and existential ways of working (see the bottom of this page for more details on each). Simply put, this means that whilst I may take an interest in your past, I am just as curious about your present and future. I encourage you to identify your internal and external resources, to reflect on the choices you have and, if you desire, to open up new possibilities for moving forwards.
I value your individuality, so sessions can vary and fluctuate in style. For example, some clients prefer a more pragmatic approach; perhaps involving tasks or reflections to consider between sessions; whilst others prefer a more philosophical outlook, with space to reflect and explore. Some are interested in using breathing and relaxation skills, and others prefer to just talk.
Coming to therapy can feel daunting at first, and it is important to find a practitioner you feel comfortable with. Many studies on the efficacy of therapy have concluded that the relationship between therapist and client is the most important factor in determining positive outcomes, even more so than the style of therapy offered. For this reason, I hope we can establish a genuine connection with one another, creating a trusting and safe place for you to express yourself as honestly as possible.
I believe that emotional distress is our way of trying to express something that needs to be heard and understood, because it is often telling us something very important. In keeping with this, I do not generally aim to “fix” or “solve”, although I have found in my work that disturbances do tend to lift when given the space to be listened to, explored and understood. I am aware, however, that our distress can sometimes be deeply overwhelming, and so I am able to teach some simple breathing and relaxation techniques with the aim of relieving some of the immediate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The goal of therapy will differ for each person. During our initial consultation I will ask you about your hopes and expectations for coming, which we can review along the way as the work unfolds. We can also decide on whether you would prefer to work short or long term.
A brief description of Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Existential therapies:
Psychodynamic therapy has its roots in classical, Freudian analysis. It focuses on our past experiences and how they may have impacted on our development, often creating patterns of relating to ourselves and others that can become problematic. It takes great interest in our unconscious experience, often through exploring our childhood, our dreams, fantasies, desires and revulsions.
Humanistic therapy formed in reaction to psychoanalysis and aimed to equalise the relationship between therapist and client; to make the client the expert on their own lives. This approach fundamentally prioritises the idea that we are all capable of ‘healing’ ourselves when given access to right supportive conditions. Typically, these conditions are empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence. Therapists are therefore encouraged to be client-led, non-judgemental, and honest.
Existential therapy looks at universal human conditions such as loneliness, anxiety and the inevitability of death, and how we uniquely respond to these. It takes great interest in how we create meaning and value in our lives, and in empowering clients to re-discover their own potential through their individual agency. Existential therapy is relatively new and so lesser known. Though it has many similarities to Humanistic therapy, there is greater emphasis on a philosophical exploration of one’s values, and on individual freedom and choice.
I have listed the types of therapy in the historical order in which they were established; with Psychodynamic therapy originating from classical Freudian Psychoanalysis in the early 20th century, and Humanistic/Existential therapies emerging more prominently in the middle of the 20th century.
Combined together, these therapies can form an Integrative approach; using Psychodynamic developmental theories as a basis from which to explore issues in a Humanistic or Existential way.