The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.
On Becoming a Person, Constable, 1961: 186
How can I help you?
My aim is to support you through any difficulty you are experiencing now. I offer a warm, non-judgemental and confidential setting where you can talk about the issues that are distressing you. Together I hope we can gain an understanding of what you want from life, what fulfils you and what holds you back.
You may find yourself in therapy expressing thoughts, feelings and fears that no one has listened to before. Sharing and exploring your inner world with me may give you a different perspective on what is troubling you, and, hopefully, together, we can find a way forward.
Should you try therapy?
Normal people go to therapy. They worry about life, relationships, family, fulfilment, have suffered trauma, have caused trauma, have loved and lost.
It is entirely reasonable to have times in your life when you’re finding it difficult to cope. Yet going to therapy is a brave decision and one that’s often put off.
The saddest words I hear in the therapy room are “there’s someone worse off than me”. Many people don’t feel they have a right to express their pain or uncertainty, or even the right to have a voice. But talking things through can be a huge relief. What people hear from their own mouths in the therapy room can often make a big difference to how they see themselves and their problems.
You’ve taken a bold first step towards support by just looking at this website. Choosing a therapist at a time when you’re not confident about making a decision can also be very difficult. So I’ve tried in the following pages to give you a sense of who I am, how I work and what to expect when working with me. Get in touch if you need any more information.
Counselling can be a very scary thing – talking about traumatic or difficult subjects to a person you don’t know is never going to be easy. So, below are a few things that might be discussed in our sessions.
“What has brought you here today?”
Therapy works well as a place of collaboration and interaction. I go on the journey with you and we explore your issues together but I don’t tell you what to do. It’s a journey that isn’t devoid of challenge or humour but it’s a journey of your choosing.
Most of all I will be listening, actively listening, to what you say. Many clients I’ve encountered rarely have the chance to voice their problems or indeed never have. Many have never been listened to, and although it sounds simple, someone listening to what you’ve gone through can give great relief.
“Have you got a sense of what you’d like to get out of our work together?”
Equally we will go at the pace that you choose and the topic of your choice. Difficult subjects can take time to be voiced. It can also take time to clarify what is important for you to talk about. We may touch upon the past – family, relationships, career – or we may talk about the present and a crisis that overwhelms you. You will voice the issues that you feel are important.
“Are you wanting to change something in your life?”
The meeting between client and therapist can feel like an unequal encounter but although trained and qualified as a psychotherapist, I am not the expert on you. Therapy can help people to fulfil their potential, to find their passion, their own meaning of life – and academic research and personal experience shows that we all have the ability to change. Therapy allows you to consider and plan a future of possibilities.
Sometimes the aim of therapy is to achieve a sense of who we are – where do our motivations come from? Why and how do we form relationships? What have we taken from the past and what can we leave behind? Therapy often allows the time and space to think about ourselves in more depth than we ever have before.
It’s important that therapy works for you and every few sessions we’ll look back at what has happened in previous sessions and see if you feel that the process is on track.
Labelling people and diagnosing people is a very contentious issue in the world of psychotherapy. Labels in mental health can be very stigmatising and simplistic. There is sometimes an attitude of “You have a mental health problem, or you don’t have a mental problem and therefore you are well.” In reality there are good days, bad days, days where a combination of things might dominate.
My belief is that the ethical and compassionate ideal is to see you rather than your problem and that means getting to understand the environment in which you live, your background, your education, your relationships – many of the things that have contributed to who you are and what makes you unique.
I have worked with a wide range of people of different ages, as well as social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Below are some of the issues that I’ve worked with over the years but issues overlap and because people are unique it really acts as a guide rather than a rule.
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Attachment disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Gender dysphoria
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship problems
- Separation and divorce
- Work-related stress
Short term therapy
Therapy is often open-ended but not everybody is sure whether therapy is for them, or they might be curious to see what it’s like. Generally the longer the therapy the more depth you can achieve and more time can be spent on particular issues.
Short term therapy often focuses on one or two issues and can be more goal-orientated but it can give a good indication of what long term therapy might feel like and which issues need longer-term attention.
I am a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist based in London. I have the required insurance to work as a private practitioner and an enhanced DBS.
I am an accreditted member of the British Association of Counselling Practitioners (BACP), who are the largest body for psychotherapists in the UK and whose ethical and training standards are among the highest. As part of their regulations I attend regular supervison.
I have worked as a counsellor for three years in voluntary practices in east London, south London and the Isle of Dogs. Before becoming a counsellor I worked in publishing, journalism, international development and communications. I have lived in northeast London for over twenty years.
I have an MA in Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling from the University of Roehampton. I have trained for four years, have received personal therapy, and have a lot of life experience but I am still curious and still learning. I regularly attend CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses and training, and I read widely.
What are the first steps?
The first step is to contact me via email or phone. I will then phone you back at a convenient time to see what you are looking for and if I can help. This call should take no more than ten minutes. If we agree then we can schedule an initial session which will help me understand where you are and what you hope therapy will help you with.
I understand that it is difficult to go to therapy – particularly for the first time – so this session is really a gentle introduction with no obligation to have any more sessions.
This initial session will last 50 minutes and there is a fee which is payable in advance. See Fees.
Is my information confidential?
As a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) I am bound by my profession’s ethical Code of Conduct, including very high standards of confidentiality. There are specific occasions when I would be required to “break confidentiality” which include my feeling that you are about to harm yourself or harm someone else. Other than that I will not give information to your GP or anyone else without your permission. There are also some very rare cases when I am required to break confidentiality by law. I would always discuss this with you first. If you attend an initial chat then privacy and confidentiality will be discussed in much more detail.
Do you keep notes?
I keep brief, handwritten, anonymised notes which are kept securely and destroyed six months after therapy has finished.
How long does therapy take?
This is very much up to you. Generally speaking, the bigger the problem, the more therapy. But it’s difficult to make that judgement until you start. Reviews of the therapy take place to ensure that things are on track.
Where will sessions be held?
The sessions are held in a consulting room in my house near Walthamstow Central and Walthamstow Village. See the Contact page.
What happens if I miss a session?
If a session is missed or you give less than 48 hours’ notice then the full fee is still charged.
What if I’m late?
Starting on time and finishing on time are important to the process of therapy – and needless to say there might be other people coming after you! If you’re late we will start the session when you arrive but we will have to end it on the original agreed time that it would normally finish.
What is the BACP?
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – www.bacp.co.uk – is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK. It has 48,000 members of which I am one. I work to the high standards of their Ethical Framework which is a requirement of membership and offers clear guidance on how counsellors should operate. They also have a clear complaints procedure.
£25 for an hour. This is a getting to know each other session where we can tell if we want to work together. It will involve practical things like timings but also an indication of areas that you would like to work on and maybe some personal history. You don’t have to tell me at this session whether you want to work with me or not, it’s best to have a think and then get back to me by email or phone.
£50 for an hour session.
Payment should be made a day before by online banking.
Sessions are weekly.
I am available Monday to Friday with some availability during weekends and evenings.
If you are interested in finding out more about my counselling services please feel free to contact me via phone or email. I will aim to contact you within 48 hours.
All phone calls will go directly to message. Please leave your name and number and I will contact you during office hours.
I work from my home which is in Walthamstow, near Bakers Arms.