The Way I Work

I offer a talking therapy that combines psychodynamic, humanistic and existential world-views (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 lean further towards a more pragmatic approach; perhaps involving tasks or strategies to experiment with between sessions; whilst others prefer a more philosophical outlook, with space to reflect and explore.

I believe that emotional distress is our way of trying to express something that needs to be heard and understood, as it is often alerting us to something very important. In keeping with this, I do not generally aim to “fix” or “solve” your problems in a prescriptive manner; rather, I have found in my work that disturbances tend to lift most effectively when given proper space to be explored and understood. I am aware, however, that this distress can sometimes be deeply overwhelming, so I am able to teach some simple breathing and relaxation techniques with the aim of relieving some of the more persistent symptoms of anxiety and depression. Above all, 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.

Coming to therapy can be daunting at first, and it is important to find a therapist you feel comfortable enough with to be vulnerable. Some clients choose to book in several initial consultations with different practitioners in order to choose the right therapist for them, before committing to regular sessions. Others feel content to decide after their first initial consultation. During your initial consultation I will ask about your hopes and expectations, and offer ideas as to how we might approach them, which we can review along the way as the work unfolds. We can also decide on whether you would prefer to work in a short-term or open-ended way.

A brief description of Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Existential therapies:

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on our past experiences and how they may have impacted our development, often creating patterns of relating to ourselves and others that can become problematic. It takes great interest in subconscious understanding, often through exploring childhood and dreams, fantasies, desires and revulsions. My approach is most closely linked to ‘relational psychoanalysis’ which highlights the dynamic between us and how this might play out in your other important relationships.

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, intimacy, anxiety, joy, mortality, 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 somewhat lesser known. There is great emphasis on 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.

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