A holistic approach to counselling involves understanding the many aspects of you as a person, rather than focussing on particular problems alone. I consider as much of your life and situation that you wish to share, and at a pace that feels comfortable we can explore the difficulties you face and what impact they are having on your wellbeing and mental health. Sometimes talking with someone who will be fully present and listen empathically is enough to create some space and time to rethink old patterns or habits and recalibrate things to allow you to feel better. I mostly work long term with clients who want to work at some depth and examine old wounds that are causing difficulties in the present. This may be trauma, depression, anxiety, loss, the need for a spiritual exploration of what really matters in life, or unravelling identity; whether that is to do with gender, sexuality, body fragility, illness, life changes or loss and grief. Perhaps you are struggling with a number of different problems.
How trauma is treated is becoming more consolidated around understanding the connections between early development, regulation of emotions and behaviours and the role of the nervous system and the ways in which the right and left brain hemispheres are affected by traumatic events in life and often problems happen because of the difficulty integrating the negative experiences and feeling unable to regulate emotions that hijack the body.
Gender and Identity
I have many years experience working and studying the complex field of Gender. My therapeutic approach draws on various philosophical traditions including feminism, intersectionality, existentialism and queer theory as well as an understanding of a variety of belief systems. I work with many transgender, non-binary and a-gender people, but also with people who struggle against the various forms of gender policing that prevent us all being our authentic selves. Identity, like gender, is a very complex phenomenon that differs with life experience and heritage and many other factors. It may be connected to gender, sexuality or life change and I aim to honour all the complexities that you may bring in searching for who you are.
Over time I have developed a way of working with clients that includes elements of Lifespan Integration, Imaginal Formulation and Empowerment Work. I also believe that therapy is never purely an individual thing in the sense that we belong to and have been shaped by systems and events that we cannot control. That said, we can be agents of change in how we look at and participate in the world. This existential approach is also a part of how I hold a therapeutic space.
Lifespan Integration (LI) was created by Peggy Pace in the USA, bringing together important understandings about neuroscience, attachment theory and the way in which this operates when people are traumatised and become disassociated. It uses the repetition of a timeline, using a range of protocols to safely clear trauma energetically from the body and can often be a much quicker route to healing in this holistic approach. It is important to note that LI is quite a new form of therapy and research into its efficacy is mainly observational. More information can be found at www.lifespanintergration.com
This way of working draws on more arts-based therapies and aspects of LI (above). Using symbolism, metaphor and the use of imaginative strategies to explore identity, attachment deficits, loss and emotional repair, using different art/narrative based media to strengthen a sense of self by reimagining and re-formulating one's life experiences. Often we can find ourselves stuck in particular ways of seeing or understanding what has happened to us, thus preventing the change needed to integrate trauma or adjust the scripts we have inherited so that they no longer dominate, but instead can be integrated alongside all our other experiences.