“Personality is a way of being and behaving in a world that exists for the person who has that personality” - Georges Wollants.
We become who we are through interactions with each other and our world. Our personalities are not ours alone and can be understood as the stories we tell each other about ourselves. There is security in experiencing ourselves as stable. We could not have ongoing relationships without some order to our sense of who we are. Order and chaos are present in every moment, yet we tend to ignore the chaos because it disturbs us. When things go array, as they inevitably will and do, we can think something is wrong with us, something that is broken and needs fixing. This ‘wrongness’ we sense may be expelled and projected elsewhere onto other people, or we can fix it as part of our personality as we try to tame the chaos by inadvertently trapping ourselves and each other in narrow definitions of selfhood.
There is another way. What if, instead of trying to master the wrongness, we open ourselves up to it? For it is in the giving over to the wrongness, the chaos, and the trauma, which is how change comes about. In my view, it is not about healing trauma and resetting to some perfect time before but about how we can create something new from our suffering. How do we go about this? Well, therapy is one such way.
To be in a deeply empathetic and boundaried relationship with another who commits to being present with you, someone who is importantly unfamiliar to you, opens up the possibility for you to become unfamiliar with yourself. While this can be an unsettling process, it can be experienced as a profound opening up to new potentialities with the proper support. After all, you are so much more than personality alone permits.
Hello, my name is Matthew, and I go by he/him pronouns. I am a fully qualified adult psychotherapist accredited with the UKCP. I hold a diploma and an MA in Gestalt psychotherapy, an integrative approach. Emerging as the radical offspring of psychoanalysis, Gestalt blends Western existentialism and Eastern Zen philosophy to present a holistic understanding of human development. I have been working in the mental health field for a decade and can accept clients who are in significant distress. I have a background in film and theatre, and I bring my creativity to the therapeutic relationship through images, fantasy, metaphors and dreamwork.
As a kid, I was preoccupied with mysteries and the unexplainable. I am fascinated with the myriad of creative ways we employ to make meaning out of the strangeness sitting at the heart of our experience, the stuff for which there are no words. Therapy is a collaborative art form whereby two or more partners, each with separate perspectives and tasks, create meaning together. It is an open invitation to delve into the unknowable and redefine who we think we are.
Like all UKCP registered psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors I can work with a wide range of issues, but here are some areas in which I have a special interest or additional experience.