Sarah Reilly, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist

Sarah Reilly

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Sarah Reilly, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist

Sarah Reilly

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My Approach

I am experienced and easy to talk to, and work with empathy and acceptance of difference, individuality, and the difficulties we face in being human. This is my foundation as a psychotherapist.
My approach is relational and humanistic, which means I am open and authentic in my communication. I share my knowledge of the human condition with clients, how I understand their struggles, and our therapeutic work. I see counselling and psychotherapy as a process of increasing self-awareness, self-management and personal growth, through the establishment of a safe therapeutic relationship in which difficulties can be explored.
My training is integrative, which means that I draw on different psychotherapeutic approaches rather than a single one. I see the past as alive in the present, organising our responses, sometimes causing restriction and difficulty. My focus is on appreciating each person’s emotional landscape, coping mechanisms, and survival structures, and understanding aspects that may no longer be useful. The aim is to expand the sense of self and what feels possible in life.
The Body and Working with the Imagination
I have a physiological understanding of emotion and feeling, particularly anxiety. I offer clients the opportunity to become more aware of how emotions are experienced in the body, and familiar with techniques to manage difficult feelings. Working with physiological responses can also help in working through and healing from traumatic experience.
I am alert to creative processes and the imagination. Memories and feelings can be explored through images as well as words, using pictures, photographs, and objects, or simply by paying attention to the casual metaphors we chose to convey meaning. This can be an effective and surprising form of discovery, and is available to everyone.
Social Context
I am thoughtful about cultural identities and meanings, and work with awareness and sensitivity to the impact of difference and discrimination. Our social identities influence our sense of safety and acceptance in the world, particularly if we belong to a minority culture that is not understood or welcomed by main-stream society, causing low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Counselling and psychotherapy can help with these toxic feelings.

About Me

I am white, English, with a European background, and have lived in London all my life. I love the diversity of London, the wealth of cultures, and flow of ideas.
I have a creative background in visual art, writing and performing. I am a freelance therapist for Bapam (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine), a charity providing short-term counselling to performers and musicians.
I worked in advocacy services for many years’ and have extensive experience of mental health difficulties and mental health services. During my training as a psychotherapist I worked for NHS England as an independent expert in psychiatric environments, advising mental health practitioners on how to work appropriately with people with learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum who were being held under the Mental Health Act.

I work with

  • Individuals
  • Private healthcare referrals

Special Interests

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.

Anxiety can considerably degrade our experience of life, and impact on our physical health. I am skilled at assisting clients to recognise the triggers that provoke their anxiety and the physiological changes that signal it; as well as encouraging clients to develop and maintain coping strategies that can considerably reduce the impact of anxiety.
From my prior work in advocacy, and as a counsellor and therapist I regularly work with people who are neurodivergent. I respond to each individual with an open mind, without expecting conformity to either a neurotypical model or a stereotype of autism or ADHD.
I was a counsellor at ‘London Friend’ for seven years, providing counselling for London’s diverse LGBTQ community, and I am now a supervisor for a group of trainees. I am familiar with issues related to sexuality and gender, and the impact of heteronormativity. I have considerable experience in supporting people to explore the impact of not being affirmed in their sexuality or gender expression, childhood bullying, as well as confusion and/or shame around feelings and desires, including body dysphoria. We all bring emotional patterns to relationships that can become dysfunctional and entrenched over time, they are often invisible to us. Relationships require tending to remain lively and healthy; I provide a non-judgemental environment in which the dynamics of relationships can be explored, and new ways of relating can be explored. As well as working with people who define as LGBTQ I regularly work with people in heterosexual relationships who are polyamorous and/or have open relationships, and who prefer an informed counsellor or therapist they don’t have to explain their life choices to.
I am a qualified clinical supervisor and work with trainees as well as qualified therapists. My own training was integrative and I work comfortably and respectfully across modalities. I offer collaborative, supportive supervision, as well as a safe pair of hands based on my many years of working in mental health, including with clients who are very unwell, either suicidal and/or psychotic. I encourage growth and learning as well as the self-care that is so important for therapists to develop and maintain.
Trauma in childhood and/or adulthood leaves a wound that can continue to effect the life as though it were still live; through careful work in a trusting relationship traumatic events can become part of our narrative, and wounds can become scars. Memories do not need to be approached directly for therapeutic work to be affective. I am committed to working creatively with traumatic histories, recognising the importance of people's defences, and responding to each person's strengths. I have been successful in working at depth to support clients to integrate traumatic experiences and significantly recover.

Types of Therapies Offered

  • Integrative Psychotherapist

Types of sessions

  • Face to Face - Long Term
  • Face to Face - Short Term
  • Online Therapy
  • Telephone Therapy

UKCP College

  • Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College (HIPC)
Sarah Reilly

Sarah Reilly

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