And Psychotherapy, Central London EC1 (Clerkenwell)
(Hons), M.A. (Dist) Psychotherapy, M.A. (Dist) Music Comp, Cert (Dist)
MBACP Senior Accredited
Counsellor and Psychotherapist / MBACP Senior Accredited Supervisor
info "at" maxwest.co.uk
And Specialist Services
Counselling And Psychotherapy
people feel the need for additional support at some point in their lives.
Talking through concerns with a trained professional can help people to
understand themselves better and thereby find their own solutions to their
difficulties. Issues that may bring people to seek counselling and psychotherapy
include but are not limited to:
or compulsive behaviour
lack of direction in life
relating to childhood abuse/neglect
Is The Difference Between Counselling And Psychotherapy?
people wonder what distinguishes counselling from psychotherapy. There
is no universally accepted answer to this question and some practitioners
do not distinguish between the two. However, one definition suggests that
counselling is generally of shorter duration (3-6 months) and tends to
focus on one issue or difficulty, whereas psychotherapy is generally of
longer duration and may involve exploring a number of different issues
which have existed for a length of time and/or are complex and inter-related.
In psychotherapy, the development of trust in the therapeutic relationship
over time enables a deeper exploration of the origins, meaning and consequences
of life issues: people may use psychotherapy to address and modify longstanding
symptoms or behaviour, and to understand how they have come to be the
people they are; in addition, some people find psychotherapy to be a useful
process in promoting their personal growth and development.
counselling and psychotherapy provide a place for people to talk through
and explore their concerns. The process of counselling or psychotherapy
leads people to a deeper understanding of themselves (feelings, thoughts
and behaviour) and how they relate to others. Self-awareness and self-acceptance
foster improved and expanded life choices, thereby improving emotional
well-being. The role of a counsellor or psychotherapist is to help you
to understand yourself and to find the life-path and choices that work
best for you. Through listening without judgement and responding sensitively
to you, my aim is to support you in your voyage of self-discovery and
improved functioning in the world.
of the different types of therapy available, choosing a counsellor may
be confusing. Research indicates that no one therapeutic approach is more
effective than another; instead, the success of therapy seems to depend
on the quality of the relationship you form with your counsellor. Hence,
it is extremely important that you find a therapist with whom you feel
sufficiently safe and comfortable, so that you can talk openly
about what is on your mind and in your heart. It is also important that
the therapist or counsellor possesses the skills, training and experience
to help you with your current situation.
Integrative Approach To Therapy
own therapeutic approach is Integrative, primarily combining
principles and theory from Psychodynamic and Humanistic
schools (and also incorporating, where appropriate, Cognitive
Behavioural and Systemic thinking). This means I adopt a flexible approach
to my work, and respond to clients as individuals.
Psychodynamic approach places importance on the link between the past
and present (origins of issues), on looking at patterns in relationships
and feelings (including within the therapy encounter itself) and in working
symbolically and with the less conscious parts of self. A Humanistic approach
emphasises the importance of the expression of feelings, and focusses
on helping you to find your true or 'authentic' self, which may be hidden
under longstanding life scripts or beliefs about what you 'should' do
or be. A Cognitive Behavioural approach focusses on addressing counter-productive
ways of thinking and behaving that may be inhibiting you from having the
life you want. A Systemic approach recognises that we are each part of
many groups - family, work, community - and that our own struggles and
ways of being may be bound up with those around us.
way of being as a therapist is also informed by my commitment to anti-oppressive
practice, openness to individuals' right to define themselves and their
lives, delight in the power and process of creativity, and awareness of
the interconnectedness in all life.
Happens In Therapy?
Therapy can be extremely effective in supporting people so that they
may grow and change, become more self-aware and be more true to themselves.
Through therapy, many people experience a new sense of freedom, peace,
therapy, you may:
- Tell your
story; access and define your truth (break silence, end secrets)
- Get in
touch with feelings (emotional release witnessed/accepted/encouraged
by the therapist)
- Gain insight;
understand yourself better (your history and how this influences you
now; your patterns of feeling, thought and behaviour; the significance
and impact of your current situation)
unconscious thoughts, feelings and memories to surface and be worked
through, so that you are more aware and have more choices
these new realisations, feelings, and options
- Make changes;
address and shift unhelpful patterns (in thinking and behaviour)
a nurturing relationship with the therapist (wherein you are encouraged
to be yourself, and in which your whole self is welcome)
of these elements may be facilitated and experienced through the protected
time, space and relationship of therapy.
You Can Expect From Me
in therapy may happen through the content (what is said), process (movement
in feeling, thought and behaviour) and relationship (trust, safety,
acceptance) of therapy.
can expect from me is:
Listening in an accepting, curious and compassionate way to your words;
also attending to your unspoken communications
Encouraging you to speak, to tell your truth, to access your feelings;
Wondering aloud with you; asking clarifying questions
Offering observations and making connections between different elements
of what you have said
Inviting you to allow your hidden parts of self to be known, including
any heretofore 'forbidden' thoughts, feelings, and secrets
Helping you to think through new ways of being and, where appropriate,
challenging you to consider alternatives
Working together with you to clarify and identify goals
- Teaching you about mindfulness (where appropriate)
Hypnotism has been described as a state of physical relaxation (while
awake) accompanied and induced by mental concentration. In hypnotherapy
(under hypnosis), clients are able to focus intensely on a specific thought
or memory, while blocking out all possible sources of distraction. Clients
in hypnotic trance show an increased response to suggestions. As such,
hypnotherapy can be used to target behaviours and beliefs that are unhelpful:
hypnotherapy is a kind of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy insofar as it
utilises and strengthens active imagination, expectation, appropriate
attitudes, and motivation.
hypnotic trance is not therapeutic in and of itself, but specific suggestions
and images fed to clients in a trance can profoundly alter their behavior.
As they rehearse the new ways they want to think and feel, they lay the
groundwork for changes in their future actions’ (Deirdre Barrett,
'Psychology Today', Jan 2001).
I am trained to Certificate Level in Hypnotherapy and can offer hypnosis
to my ongoing clients as an aid to eliminating unhelpful thoughts/behaviours
and/or instilling/strengthening more functional thoughts and behaviours.
For example, clients may wish to use hypnotherapy to prepare for specific
events about which they are anxious, work on phobias, or address unhelpful
behaviours (such as over-eating).
a thorough assessment regarding the targetted issue, a hypnotherapy session
involves a process of inducing and deepening a trance state in clients,
during which I speak to them about their presenting issue, working with
their unconscious mind to decrease distress and increase a sense of health,
safety, pleasure, choice, aliveness and alertness. In hypnotherapy, clients
remain awake and in control, but in a highly suggestible state: metaphorically,
the therapist operates as a ‘back-seat driver’ while clients
continue to ‘drive the car’.
Although I do not offer this as a 'stand-alone' service, where
appropriate and agreed, hypnotherapy can be integrated into ongoing weekly
therapy, and is conducted over two (50-minute) sessions: an assessment
session and a hypnotherapy session. I also use hypnotherapy to teach clients
self-hypnosis, which they can use at home at any time.
Service: Sexuality Counselling
many of us, sexuality is a very important part of our humanity: our sense
of our sexuality can ground us in our bodies, in our spirits, and can
also be a very pleasurable way to connect to ourselves and others. If
we grow into our sexuality in an emotionally and physically healthy environment,
our relationship to our sexuality can be a joyful experience, full of
ease and delight. However, if our experience of our sexuality is disrupted
or damaged – through sexual abuse, homophobia (or other social prescriptions
about what kind of sex is acceptable), sexism, cultural/media messages
about what constitutes a 'beautiful' body, religious dogma or other negative
experiences – we may develop more problematic relationships with
our sexuality. Shame, secrecy, sexual shut-down, or compulsive behaviour
may be just some of the results.
I have many years experience of working with clients whose sense of their
sexuality has been damaged or disrupted through childhood or adult sexual
abuse, through negative body image and negative messages about sex or
sexuality, and through compulsivity. Counselling can help you to work
through these experiences and build a healthier sense of your sexuality
and new ways of relating sexually to others.
Service: Climate Crisis Support
In this time of Climate Emergency, you may have feelings of deep distress: anxiety, anger, hopelessness, despair, panic, guilt and other feelings. In addition, involvement with movements such as Extinction Rebellion may itself bring challenges, including participating in Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA). I can offer a safe and supportive space in which to explore and work with all of these feelings and experiences, including those related to any arrest, incarceration and court proceedings.
Service: Addictions And Compulsive Behaviour Counselling
addictive, or compulsive behaviour can manifest in many ways: in relation
to substances like alcohol, drugs and food; in relation to behaviours
such as sex, gambling, shopping or exercise; and in relationships. When
people’s relationship with these substances or behaviours –
or their ways of relating to others – becomes addictive or compulsive,
a painful cycle often ensues: an initial sense of feeling overwhelmed
by powerful emotions; followed by engaging with the familiar substance,
behaviour or relationship; and an aftermath of feeling self-disgust,
anxiety or shame.
People who experience themselves as caught in an addictive cycle may
feel powerless to stop: they may have difficulty being with intense
emotions, and struggle with a sense of their own self-worth.
I have many years experience working with people with addictions, some
of whom are engaged in 12-step fellowships and some of whom are not.
I can support people to make lasting changes in their behaviour, find
new ways of coping, and understand the origins of their addictive behaviours.
Service: Trauma Therapy (Lifespan Integration)
who were traumatised as children while their neural systems were developing
become ‘hard wired’ to interpret events through the pathways
of these traumas, and therefore in a negative way. Defensive systems
which are created in response to a hostile early environment continue
to operate in the present, mostly out of consciousness, even when they
are no longer needed. Adults who have been traumatised as children may
continue behaving and feeling in distressing old patterns which are
not helpful to the current situation and are sometimes harmful. Continuing
in these repetitive and self-destructive patterns contributes to the
person feeling worse and more hopeless. Adults who were abused or neglected
in childhood also often have poor self-images and an ongoing internal
dialogue of self-criticism or negative self-talk, along with chronic
anxiety and/or depression.
Lifespan Integration (LI) is a new technique* which promotes rapid healing
in adults who experienced abuse and/or neglect during childhood. It
is a very gentle method which works on a deep neural (mind-body) level
to prove to your body-mind system that it is no longer in danger. By
connecting the implicit memory (body sensations) to the original traumatic
event in neural integration, LI therapy can help to change patterned
responses and outmoded defensive strategies and forge new neural pathways.
New and more adaptive neural firing patterns replace old ones which
were originally designed to defend against the trauma.
When working with LI, the therapist guides the client to imaginally
re-visit a past memory, bringing into the past whatever is needed to
resolve the memory. As part of this, the therapist repeatedly leads
the client through time, from the past to the present, using a Time
Line of scenes from the client's life. Because the brain does not distinguish
between actual and imagined experience, the process of Lifespan Integration
enables the client's neural system to bypass outmoded defensive neurological
networks and spontaneously reorganise, creating new networks which are
more useful and adaptive.
While I do not offer this technique as a 'stand-alone' service, it can be integrated into ongoing
weekly therapy work. Because LI appointments benefit from slightly longer time frames, where possible, 50-minute sessions may be extended..
Please note that while the efficacy of Lifespan
Integration is well supported by anecdotal evidence, it is a new
therapy and has not yet been fully or formally researched.
Service: Counselling For Musicians, Artists And Other Professionals In The
acts of artistic creation and performance – in music, poetry,
theatre, dance – are incredibly exciting, life-enhancing and fulfilling.
In fact, expressing ourselves through creativity and performance may
be one of the most fundamental human drives and may feel, for some artists,
to be a vital part of their purpose and fulfilment in life. However,
modern professional musicians and artists may also experience intense
pressure to create and perform at consistently high levels under stressful
conditions. Hence, the lives of performing musicians and other artists
are sometimes beset with difficulties such as substance misuse (addictions),
anxiety (including performance anxiety and worries about the competitive
market), depression, stress, ‘writer’s block’, stage
fright, burn-out, and conflict in working relationships.
my combined expertise as a trained composer, performer and psychotherapist,
I am in a unique position to understand and support performing musicians,
artists and other creatives to overcome their difficulties and improve
their creative output and ability to excel in performance. In working
with performing musicians and other artists, I combine numerous techniques
and skills, such as: directly addressing substance use/misuse (cognitive
behavioural work); emotional exploration; work with imagery and past-present
Service For Psychotherapists And Counsellors: Clinical Supervision
offers a supportive and challenging space for counsellors and psychotherapists
to reflect on their clinical practice, in order to maintain ethical
and professional standards and enhance creativity, competency and efficacy
in their work with clients. I have supervised counsellors and psychotherapists
within the voluntary sector, NHS, adult education, training institutions
and in private practice; I work with individuals at different stages
of their professional development and across different theoretical orientations.
My supervisory practice is based upon my regard for individuals’
own training and philosophy.