I am a counsellor and Gestalt Psychotherapist with 30 years experience in various settings both within the NHS and privately. Though I make the statement that I am a Gestalt Psychotherapist, over the years additional training means that I would now classify myself as more of an Integrative Practitioner. Drawing from my first training in Person-Centred counselling, with my subsequent diploma in Gestalt Therapy and additional training in Transactional Analysis (TA), I seek to find a way of working with my clients that is the most appropriate for them and their way of being in the world. I work from a humanistic existential perspective, responding to, and being with my clients in the present moment. Trained in Fine Art, I also bring creativity to my work, whether that be through poetry, prose, music, drawing and painting, or sometimes simply going for a walk by the river. I believe that being in relationship with ourselves within our environment, directly experiencing the beauty (and occasional ugliness) of nature is essential to our sense of well being; or being well. I am also able to use my training and understanding of Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)to offer more solution focussed therapy. Fundamentally I believe in the relational-centredness of psychotherapy, and have written and am running a 3 year advanced Diploma in Relational-Centred Psychotherapeutic Counselling at both the Nottingham and Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institutes. (For further information on this see the Training and Personal Development page.) Essentially, the most important aspect of therapy is the therapeutic alliance or relationship. Without this real relationship therapy and counselling is in danger of being formulaic and dogmatic, without the excitement of genuine human-to-human contact.
Essentially the answer is simple: crisis. We live in a world where messages, covert and some not so covert tell us to 'get on with it' or 'not to make a fuss', where admitting we're not coping is seen as a weakness. Most of us do 'get on with it', and keep on getting on with it for years until one day we wake up and getting out of bed suddenly seems like the hardest thing we've ever had to do. This is the crisis. For most it has a name: depression. Even admitting to feeling depressed is often stigmatised so again we suffer in silence; 'getting on with it', until we no longer feel able to function at all.
Everyone will experience low moods and despondency at some stage in their life - this is normal. However when the feelings persist over a length of time (what doctors’ call 'chronic') accompanied by other symptoms it becomes depression. Depression ranges in severity from mild through to severe, which at it's most serious and debilitating can even lead to an inability to move or function at a most basic level. Depression varies widely in its intensity, so the diagnosis is a very personal one, the symptoms for one persons depression may vary widely with another’s. The most commonly observed symptoms are:
• feelings of despair/despondency
• feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness
• loss of appetite/sudden weight loss
• loss of interest in hobbies (anhedonia)
• loss of libido
• having 'dark thoughts' such as self harm or suicide
• fearing social contact
• Feeling tired all the time
This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you or someone you know, after reading the above feel that this may apply to you it is essential that you seek the guidance of your doctor. You may well be prescribed anti-depressant medication, something which again, in our 'be tough' society has a stigma attached. It is not a weakness to seek this kind of support. For some people, ignoring the symptoms can have the effect of them seeming to go away by themselves. This may well be the case, but unfortunately without effective intervention, they will return. Recent NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidlines propose that the most effective remedy for depression is a combination of anti-depressant medication and counselling/psychotherapy.
In what can only be described as the most stressful and challenging period of our recent history, where we are exhorted to work harder, play harder, spend harder it is no surprise that an increasing number of people are entering therapy simply to have a place where they can put their burdens down for a while in the company of someone skilled to help them do just that. There needn't be a medical or 'mental health issue' that brings you to therapy - it can be a place to speak out loud the thoughts that many of us daren't utter in the presence of anyone else for fear of being shamed by them. That said, because of this stressful society there are an increasing number of emotional, psychological and behavioural issues that people are trying to deal with on a daily basis. These include issues around anger management, bereavement and loss, anxiety, loss of employment or redundancy, lacking in confidence, obsessive-compulsive behaviours. Panic attacks, phobias, relationship difficulties or domestic violence, sexual identity or sexuality, survivors of childhood abuse, feelings of isolation or personality problems. again, this list is by no means exhaustive, but if you believe you, or someone you know has difficulties, or recognise your symptoms from the above lists, do not suffer in silence! Make an appointment to see your GP, or contact me, or preferably - both. To contact me please email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me on 07930 371369.