My philosophy and background
A holistic view of emotional health
I believe that effective therapy needs to focus on the whole person; mind, body and soul. I offer holistic, relational, trauma-informed therapy to best support your healing.
Is it possible to heal?
Healing is a process, and it's often part of a lifelong journey. However, I do think we can also experience being healed. It can be a moment where you notice that what used to really trouble you doesn't really seem so salient any more. When we do the inner work, things can change in profound ways.
Inner work means reflecting on your internal experience (your thoughts and feelings) and behaviour patterns together with a therapist. The therapist will help you understand your emotional issues in the light of your personality, life story and any adverse events or experiences that you have encountered.
How do I know the therapist is a good fit for me?
You will also build a 'therapeutic relationship' with your therapist, and this is at the centre of the process. We can only heal in relationship, when the cause of our suffering came from relationship injuries. You may have heard that it's important to find the right therapist. But you don't have to find the needle in the haystack! There is no such thing as the 'perfect' therapist - it is likely that there are many therapists out there who could be a good fit for you.
If you find someone who seems to understand where you're coming from, and who works in a way that suits you, go with that. You can always change later. That said, it's important to give yourself some time to settle in. Putting things off because you haven't found the 'right' therapist can be a form of procrastination!
My integrative model
I'm an integrative psychotherapist, which means I'm trained in more than one theoretical modality.
I use psychodynamic and humanistic-existential modalities as a foundation in my work.
I also integrate somatic and creative therapies in my model - please read more below.
My theoretical background
1. Psychodynamic theories help us understand how our past experiences and early-life trauma may shape our current feelings and behaviour pattern. This approach also helps us understand the impact of intergenerational trauma. This is where the trauma or hardship that our parents and grandparents suffered can be passed down via unprocessed emotional experience, which colours their child rearing methods and affect us in the present. In depth-therapy, part of the work is to join up the dots of past and present, making sense of your attachment pattern and emotional experiences in the light of your life story. This work also helps you understand and heal any core wounds around abandonment, rejection,
2. Existential theories look at the big questions that we all face as human beings: questions around meaning, the purpose of life, the pain of loneliness, bereavement and death, and the tension between freedom, responsibility and making choices. Sometimes there's regret, where we may have made certain life choices, or failed to make the most of opportunities. In therapy, we can reflect on these experiences through the lens of self-compassion.
3. Humanistic theories focus on our uniqueness as human beings and our capacity to grow and develop, even after hardship. This modality uses the metaphor of a flower, and how the right soil, sunlight, and water is necessary for it to grow. In the same way, our early environment may have lacked certain 'nutrients' that meant we couldn't develop our full potential. Attending to our needs through self-awareness and self-care can be a way to improve your own emotional health.
If we want to truly honour the mind-body connection, we must include the body in the therapeutic work. Attending to what is happening in the body and, finding ways to work with this, is known as 'somatic therapy.' The narrative of 'what happened' is not the only point of trauma therapy - a big part is learning to feel safe and connected in your body. Ultimately, it's about restoring regulation to the nervous system.
So how does this work?
It is common, if you have suffered trauma, to feel disconnected from your body and living 'all in your head.'
During therapy, you may notice some body sensations, such as tension or anxiety. I help you tune into these feelings and find ways to listen inward and connect with them. This is called body intuition or neuroception.
We may use simple breathing, or other grounding techniques that you can also practise on your own between sessions.
I will also explain to you how the nervous system works so that you can learn to recognise emotional dysregulation and find ways to regulate on your own.
Using the creative arts in therapy can be a wonderful way to express thoughts and feelings in a way that goes 'deeper than words.' Sometimes, it's easier to express something in an image or using simple objects to represent different 'parts' of us. We may draw on the whiteboard in Zoom, use the Online Sandtray or simply choose some objects that you have to hand on your desk to explore a specific experience or relationship dynamic in your life.
I am trained in the '7 Art Forms' for therapy. You can read more here.
My way of working
A relational, depth-oriented approach to therapy
My way of working is for you if you want to go beyond merely looking for symptom relief or a quick fix.
I work with those would like to go a bit deeper, who want to examine themselves in-depth and make sense of their feelings and life story as a whole. This is known as depth-oriented therapy.
That doesn't mean that you won't experience symptom relief too - in addition to the therapeutic work, I will help you figure out some simple but effective tools for emotional regulation that you can implement in your life every day with positive effects.
I use a combination of talk-therapy, somatic and creative methods to give you lots of options of how you prefer to work in each session. My work is client-led, which means that I meet you where you are and support your process at a pace that feels comfortable to you.
What is relational therapy?
At the heart of trauma healing is the process of repairing the core issues of safety and trust. This is why a relational approach is so important in trauma work. It means that I will relate to you with warmth and engagement, rather than being emotionally cold and distant (no 'blank screen!'). That said, you will find that I won't share many personal details with you; that's because the therapy session is your space.
I've developed my own holistic model, the Hexagon system, which is specifically designed to help people heal from anxiety, depression, early-life trauma and C-PTSD (also known as complex trauma). You can read more here.