I work in a holistic way, meaning that rather than looking at one single issue, like medicine tends to, I consider as much of your life and situation that you wish to share, understanding that different things work for different people. I think this is important when choosing a counsellor you want to work with because all the experiences and intersecting elements of who you are, need to be understood, respected and responded to in an open, non-judgemental way.
I offer therapy that has a number of integrated but different models of working with trauma. I trained and worked in the women's sector for many years with women and girls affected by domestic and sexual violence and those who had been gang affiliated. The different effects of traumatic experience like flashbacks, nightmares and an inability to concentrate can be alleviated through a holistic approach which includes interventions such as Lifespan Integration, art or imaginal based counselling and self-soothing and empowerment work. This tends to be open-ended work that takes as long as it needs. Each person has their own unique timeline for recovery.
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.
Empowerment is a thread running through all the therapy I offer. Empowerment comes from a need to survive and rebuild a strong sense of self from a base of feelings of worthlessness or disempowerment and oppression that may have always been present in an individual's life or have emerged after certain life experiences. Either way, I see this as coming from the unique relational work developing organically from what experiences you bring as an individual and the holistic approach I can bring to the therapeutic space.
I encourage feedback in sessions and will regularly check if counselling is helping and if there is more or less of something that would make the process a better fit.