individual therapy for adults

I offer depth-oriented psychotherapy, somatic work and creative arts therapy for both men and women. I also welcome both trainee and qualified therapists to my practice. 

My holistic understanding of human emotional experience is informed both by my extensive training and my own personal journey from trauma, grief and loss towards profound healing and recovery.

You can read more about my integrative model, that is, my philosophy and way of working, in the section below.

Image by Jené Stephaniuk
 

Reasons for Seeking Therapy

Maybe you can't quite put a finger on why you feel the way you do. All you know is that you are not flourishing in life, despite doing well academically and/or professionally. You may have a vague sense of doom or emptiness that stops you from finding joy and contentment.

Stressful life events can often bring up unhealed emotional pain. Perhaps you are becoming aware that certain patterns repeat themselves in your life, and you wonder why the same issues seem to come up again and again.

We don't always have the words to articulate the painful parts of our story. Instead, we may put on a mask that hides the pain, yet it remains as white noise running in the background.

It may also be the case that you have a good understanding of the events that have caused you to feel this way. You have decided that now is a good time to process and heal from earlier experiences. Whatever the reason, therapy can help.

It is often helpful to reflect on your emotional difficulties in the light of your life story as a whole. Seeing the bigger picture can help you find ways towards self-compassion and sustainable emotional health and well-being. 

Finding the Words to Explain

If you are seen to be doing well in your adult life, it can be all the more difficult to explain to others why you feel unhappy. It can be hard to talk to others about painful things that happened to you in childhood, without being met with disbelief or having your experiences minimized.

Shame and fear can often stop us from facing the pain. This makes it difficult to identify and articulate how you feel, and you may try to escape your feelings by dissociating from them, for example,  by staying busy or numbing them with alcohol or food. This then becomes a habitual way of dealing with things.

As a trauma specialist, I know that successful outer appearances can conceal immense pain and confusion which is difficult to put into words. My job is to listen to you in a way that supports you to tell your story, and help you find the words to make sense of it.

Using Somatic Work and the Creative Arts in Therapy

Sometimes it can be easier to tune into our feelings if we become aware of our physical body and its inner signals and sensations. Traumatic experiences are held in the body, and Todres (2001) said that 'the body can be a vehicle for the unsaid.'


I use somatic work to help you tune into your feelings in the body, such as tension or pain that may hold memories of stress and trauma. Through mindfulness and gentle exercises it can be possible to connect to your body and give it a voice.

You can try this simple activity for yourself. Take a few deep breaths. Spend some time mindfully attending to any sensations in your body, scanning it from head to toe. Then ask yourself this question: "If my body could talk, what would it say?"

In a similar way, it can be easier to get in touch with our inner emotions through creating a simple art image, for example, drawing some lines, shapes, or colour blobs to express how you feel.

Using the arts engages the right hemisphere of the brain which is known as the 'emotional brain.' The right brain holds our early, non-verbal memories, as well as other emotional experiences, in the form of pictures and bodily sensations.

You can read more here. 


What is Early Relational Trauma?

My integrative model of therapy lends itself particularly well to help you with emotional difficulties that are rooted in early relational trauma.


Childhood trauma can take many forms. Whether you have experienced war, accidents, bereavement, physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, medical injury, bullying, or any other adverse experiences, you are at risk of suffering mental health problems if you didn't get effective support at the time.

Early relational trauma is the trauma of disconnection. For whatever reason, your parent or parents weren't able to provide you with the emotional care and nurture that you needed as a young child. Perhaps there were glimpses of love and connection mixed with emotional distance, where you felt that those closest to you weren't emotionally available in the way that you needed them to be.


It has been described as 'living in an emotional desert.' It develops from adverse childhood experiences where there was a lack of emotional connection between parent and child.

Perhaps you had everything you needed from a practical perspective, but there was an absence of emotional nurture and care, and you didn't feel seen or heard as a child. These early experiences can underpin many emotional states in adulthood, including anxiety and depression.

Early relational trauma can cause 'hidden' symptoms that are difficult to put your finger on. You may experience a sense of fragmentation, of wondering "Who am I?"

Other common symptoms is having a feeling of being numb or disconnected, of second-guessing yourself in relationships, and being a 'people pleaser.' You may occasionally have feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

You may feel easily overwhelmed and find it difficult to self-soothe or regulate your emotions. If you had a narcissistic parent, you very likely missed out on essential building blocks necessary for healthy emotional development.

Therapy is FOR you, and ABOUT you. When you find out what is really going on, you can begin to heal. In therapy, you have a safe container to explore who you are, your thoughts, feelings, and life experiences so that you can integrate them into a whole.

My Therapeutic Model

My integrative model is based on a solid foundation of psychodynamic and humanistic-existential modalities.​

Psychodynamic theory acknowledges that we are influenced by our childhood experiences, and gaining an understanding of this can help you 'join the dots' and getting a clearer sense of your life story as a whole and how it has impacted you. This can lead to a sense of self-compassion and can help you make decisions that help support you in your daily life.

Humanistic theory focuses on the potential of each human being to heal and grow. There are so many things that are 'right' with you, even in your struggles. We all have a 'healthy part' that supports our growth and healing. Humanistic theories use the metaphor of a flower. If it doesn't grow, we don't criticise it; instead we change the conditions to help it grow.

Existential psychotherapy is about the 'big questions' that we all face in life; questions around meaning, loss, death, and isolation. The things that can make us despair as human beings and as a human race with all its failings. Yet there is hope too, for connection, for forgiveness, for compassion and reconciliation.

Traumatic stress lives on and is held in the body. You may have read Bessel van der Kolk's book "The Body Keeps the Score." For this reason, it is important to include somatic work when healing trauma.

I trained in somatic work as part of my diploma in the creative arts, which focused on the 7 art forms:

- Art/image

- Sandtray

- Music

- Drama/puppetry

- Movement/bodywork

- Clay

- Poetry

All of these can help access the 'photo album' of the right brain, where our feeling memories are held in visual and sensory form.

Early memories are often non-verbal and difficult to express in talk therapy. For this reason, we need deeper ways to process them. The creative arts and bodywork are both helpful ways to explore your emotions in a safe and contained way, in order to avoid re-traumatisation.

Interwoven in all my therapeutic training is an extensive understanding of how the brain and nervous system respond to traumatic stress. This is the field of neuroscience, which underpin all my client work and informs my practice. 

 

ready to book?

I offer a 20-minute initial consultation. If you are interested in working with me, book your free appointment now.