Psychotherapy and Counselling

When we experience life crises it can be challenging but it can also bring an opportunity to make major changes in our life. How we deal with the challenges affects the quality of our lives.

Psychotherapy and counselling can help you gain clarity and provide support to you during the challenges. In practice, counselling and psychotherapy do overlap in some aspects. Counselling tends to focus more on specific current life events, whereas psychotherapy tends to deal with more deep-seated issues that have built up over the years, it's a journey into yourself to discover what you don't know - or perhaps what you've forgotten - about yourself. It takes curiosity; courage and a commitment to yourself to bring about change.

As a transpersonal and integrative psychotherapist and counsellor I see my role as accompanying you along your journey; listening to your inner world and how you experience the outer world; reflecting what I hear so you can gain clarity on your thought process; offering observations and connections I hear so that you can gain an external perspective; supporting you to explore your inner world so that you can find your own unique way forward.  

Transpersonal Psychotherapy can help clients in the same way as any other type of therapy and can, if required, also help those clients who are interested in the spiritual aspect of life to make a stronger connection to the soul.

Through my own life's experience I have learnt that the better connection we have to our soul, the more authentic we become so we know who we are and what gives us purpose; the stronger our intuition so we know what is best for us; the louder our inner voice which is supportive and non-judgemental and ultimately we experience inner peace.

What might bring you to psychotherapy or counselling?

Anxiety - is an emotional response to what we perceive as a dangerous situation, it stems from the "fight and flight response" with which we are all biologically programmed. When we are in danger this is a an appropriate emotion. however if we've had many stressful experiences this reaction can get triggered inappropriately. 

Symptoms include: increased heart rate and muscle tension; difficulty with breathing or hyperventilation (panic attacks); dizziness; frequent use of toilet; nausea; headaches; shaking; dry mouth; hot flushes; tightness in chest; tingling in hands and feet.

Depression - we often use the expression "I'm feeling depressed" when we're feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings pass. But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're depressed in the medical sense of the term.

In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life, but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, major depression (clinical depression) can be life-threatening, because it can make people suicidal or simply give up the will to live.

Symptoms include:

  • Being restless and agitated
  • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Doing less and less
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight
  • Crying a lot; difficulty remembering things
  • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day
  • Being unusually irritable or impatient
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • Losing interest in your sex life
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • Feeling numb, empty and despairing
  • Feeling helpless
  • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future
  • Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)
  • Thinking about suicide.

Family or relationship issues - this can cover a wide range of situations and relationships, it could be in an intimate relationship with a partner/spouse where there is a lack of trust or honesty, poor or lack of communication; issues with physical initimacy; there could be difficulties for a parent dealing with a child; issues with a parent or a sibling.

Modern life is stressful and often relationships take the brunt of the stresses. This can be exasperated by little time to develop and maintain a relationship, often lurching from crisis to crisis and rarely talking and reflecting on the impact of life events to your relationship.

Symptoms include: repetitive, destructive patterns at work or home; 'here we go again' feelings; feeling bullied or pressurised; feelings of being held back for no apparent reason; limiting of social life for fear of consequences;anxiety or depression.

Low self esteem - self–esteem is how you think and feel about yourself; this may be positive, negative or move between the two points.  This usually dictates how you live your life and the decisions you make – and how you view others too.

The more positive feelings you have about yourself, the higher your self-esteem; the more negative feelings you have the lower your self-esteem.  Our materialistic world, where people continually compare themselves with those around them, highlights our insecurities and often leads us to feel negative about ourselves and the way we live.  We lose sight of the value of our own individuality and then feel inadequate and unsatisfied.  It can become an enduring personality trait.

Symptoms include:

  • Putting yourself down
  • Frequently apologising
  • Focusing on your flaws
  • Rejecting positive comments
  • Clinging to what is familiar and being afraid to try new things.
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Constantly seeking approval from others
  • Expecting bad things to happen to you

Workplace bullying - If you feel as though you are experiencing bullying in the workplace, this can be a very devastating and distressing issue.  You may be feeling very low and anxious at the thought of going to work and facing the individual or group that may be subjecting you to this.  Workplace bullying can take shape or form in many different ways.  You may be questioning whether what you are going through is workplace bullying and a lot of this depends on if you actually are feeling bullied or harassed by a particular individual or a group of people. 

There are many instances of bullying behaviour in the workplace, such as the following:

  • Being constantly criticised, having duties and responsibilites taken away without good reason
  • Shouting, aggressive behaviour or threats
  • Being put down or made to feel like the butt of jokes
  • Being persistently picked on in front of others or in private
  • Being constantly ignored, victimised and excluded regularly
  • Constantly mocking and attacking members of staff
  • Spreading malicious rumours about members of staff
  • Misuse of power or position to make someone feel uncomfortable or victimised
  • Making threats about job security without any basis or substance
  • Blocking promotion or progress within the workplace

These are just a few signs of bullying and there are many more and it is dependent on the organisation or the industry too.  Unfortunately, bullying can take its toll on your health and wellbeing.

Addictions - there are many forms of addiction; some socially acknowledged others less commonly recognised. There are five areas of addiction: Substance; Activities; Thoughts; People and Feelings, each area is shown on the Addiction Tree. 

What is the difference between a habit and an addiction? If it’s a substance or activity addiction it’s what you can’t live without on a daily or sometimes hourly basis or are constantly planning when you will next partake in your addiction. For thought, feelings or people addictions it will be a constant part of your behaviours or thought process.

Many people have addictions without realising it; for some it can be a very shameful process to acknowledge the addiction but this is the first step to understanding yourself and why you have an addiction. Experienced, professional support can help you manoeuvre through the difficult journey to achieving and maintaining recovery.

Abuse - the types of abuse are physical; emotional; sexual and can take many forms ie a verbally and emotionally abusive personal relationship; childhood sexual abuse.

Characteristics of an Abusive Relationship: One of the main characteristics of an abusive relationship is control, when one person is doing something to control the behaviour of the other and it becomes entrenched. This can be done by force or manipulation – both control the other’s behaviour. Symptoms of an abusive relationship may include one or more of the following:

  • Physical violence including suicide threats
  • Isolation which begins by monopolising the partner’s attention
  • Gradual ‘falling out’ with partner’s support network
  • Jealousy - asking a partner to prove their loyalty
  • Controlling behaviour – controlling a partner’s friends and activities
  • Constant criticism and put-downs
  • One person’s needs dismissed or minimised
  • Secrecy

Work/career issues: redundancy or retirement - on average work takes up 1/3 of each person's working day so when we approach retirement, age related or for  medical reasons, some people might worry about what to do with the extra time and others might worry they will have no sense of purpose.

Those facing redundancy might be concerned about the time it could take to get a new job; how they'll manage their financial commitments; how others might perceive them without a job; the maturer person might worry they won't be able to get work at all. This can be a quite a scary time for some individuals and a supportive ear can enable you to stay positive and in control.