Counselling & Psychotherapy in Bristol
How it can help
Counselling and psychotherapy provide a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space for you to explore any personal issues. We will explore whatever you choose to bring at a pace that is determined by you. This process is unique in each person's case and different kinds of support may be needed at different times. You may need my support: to be heard with compassion and an open mind; to navigate your way through difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours; to uncover and shift self-limiting beliefs, assumptions and internal criticism; to explore how your past experiences influence the present; to try out new ways of seeing, being, behaving and relating; to affirm and integrate new developments. Counselling & psychotherapy can also be used to get in touch with your unique gifts and talents, to work through any inner blocks to offering and expressing those, so that you can live a fuller, more satisfying life.
Whereas counselling tends to be shorter-term work that may focus on one or two specific issues, psychotherapy moves towards longer-term work. This offers the opportunity to explore and resolve issues related to your deep underlying personality structure which developed early in life. An introductory meeting gives us the time to discuss the difference between counselling and psychotherapy and which might be more appropriate for your needs.
I have experience of working with a wide range of themes such as: anger, bereavement, family, health, stress, abuse, life transitions, career, loneliness, purpose and identity. I specialise in the following areas: depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem and relationships. I also work with couples.
A more in-depth look at how I work
I originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist and have gone on to train as an Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapist which is now my main approach. IFS works with the understanding that every person's internal subjective world or psyche consists of many 'parts', aspects or sub-personalities: when we say something like “on the one hand I want to do it, on the the other I really don't” we are referring to two such parts and the experience of in one moment inhabiting one part with its feelings, thoughts and perspective and in another moment inhabiting another part with its (contrary) feelings, thoughts and perspective. It is normal and healthy to have many such parts which form an internal system. Each of us also has a core 'Self' which is not a part – it is synonymous with awareness or consciousness, which is the capacity to be aware of all of our experience, including all our parts. The energy of Self is associated with qualities such as compassion, clarity, confidence, creativity, connectedness, wisdom and love. Every person's Self is always and already here. It has never been damaged or lost, but it is in effect hidden when parts dominate our internal experience.
When anyone experiences something that is overwhelming or traumatic (too much to process) a part may take on extreme feelings, sensations, emotions and beliefs. This part then becomes 'burdened'. Other parts in the internal system then take on various roles in order to protect the person from being overwhelmed by the painful burdens that part carries. These protective parts in effect 'exile' the burdened part by making sure it stays buried out of awareness. For example, a person may have a part that is addicted to alcohol because drinking dulls the pain of an exile. The protective intention of such parts is not always obvious, especially when their activity is extreme and results in further suffering. That suffering is often what motivates people to seek therapy. The journey of therapy is one in which I support you to develop a relationship between your core Self and parts, especially those that are stuck in extreme roles and those that carry burdens. When more 'Self-energy' is available you are able to meet all parts with curiosity, openness, compassion and wisdom. This leads to change and healing by helping protective parts relax and shift out of the extreme roles they have been stuck in and helping exiles to release the painful burdens they are carrying. These parts are then freed to contribute their unique qualities and capacities for you. Ultimately you become more 'Self-led': instead of dominating a person's inner life and determining their behaviour, parts learn to trust in Self as a guide for life.
It is not necessary for you to believe in the theory of IFS to work with me. The theory provides a map but is not the territory itself. My role as a therapist is to support you to explore your inner world and find out what is true for you from your own experience. That is more important than any psychological map.
I offer a reduced cost introductory meeting.
If you would like to make an appointment or ask any questions please call me on 07550013989.
Alternatively, you can send me a message online here. I look forward to hearing from you.