Are you experiencing depression, anxiety, feelings of emptiness or meaninglessness? Do your relationships leave you feeling unfulfilled and lonely? Are you troubled by traumatic memories? Wondering where to turn? Reach out for help.
I am a fully qualified, UKCP Registered Psychotherapeutic Counsellor offering confidential long term in-depth psychotherapeutic counselling and short term brief and focal counselling in the heart of Newcastle. I integrate mindfulness practices into this work to support you to ground yourself through difficult experiences. My approach is warm, relaxed and compassionate. In counselling you will have the undivided attention of a trained person outside your situation – a fresh pair of eyes and ears – to help you explore what has brought you here and find some perspective.
Perhaps you have never felt like you fit anywhere. Perhaps you were abused, neglected or bullied in childhood and wonder who you might be if only you had the chance to meet your potential. Perhaps a sudden trauma, relationship betrayal or bereavement has derailed you and made you question your whole life. As a relationally trained therapist, I am skilled in helping people to improve their self-esteem, to have more satisfying relationships with themselves and others and to find meaning in their lives.
My training is Integrative, using aspects of humanistic-existential approaches such as Person Centred therapy, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis, and informed by Psychodynamics, developmental psychology and attachment theory. This means that I can draw on different therapeutic models to fit your needs. My training is also Relational, meaning that we will make use of the therapeutic relationship, noticing what happens between us so that you can better understand your way of being with others and find new ways to connect. I see counselling as a co-creation and collaboration involving us both. Research has shown that establishing healthy relationships is critical to our emotional wellbeing. It is also true to say that much of the harm that is done to us or the stress that we encounter in life happens in the context of our relationships with others. With its strong focus on the relationship between counsellor and client, relational therapy can help in healing your relational wounds.
I enjoy offering creative and symbolic ways of working, such as through story, play, chair work, drawing and working with clay.
Long-term Psychotherapeutic Counselling:
This is usually open-ended. I can support you to look deeply at your thoughts, emotions, behaviour and ingrained patterns of relating, which often have their roots in childhood, so that you can develop a greater understanding and awareness of yourself and make changes. Our work will be anchored in the present but we will attend to how past memories and future concerns impact you in the here and now. Long-term work has the potential to lead to profound growth and personality restructuring over time.
Short-term Brief and Focal Counselling:
In brief and focal work we may agree on 6-12 sessions then reassess. I support you to focus on one, or a few specific issues and work towards defined goals. Although it may be helpful for me to offer guidance, structure and techniques at times, most of the transformation and insights you experience will simply emerge out of the deep attention we give your concerns.
Inner Child Work:
I am skilled in inner child work. As a sensitive, nurturing and sometimes playful practitioner, I can support you to connect with and attend to younger wounded or traumatised parts of yourself. I facilitate this work through a range of media such as grounding exercises, mindful enquiry, drawing, play and stories. This work can be particularly helpful if you have attachment issues and where there is trauma, loss or painful transitions in childhood.
Our inner children, with their inexperience and early developmental level, their sometimes deep wounding and trauma, their strong feelings of anxiety, rage, grief and loss, are not equipped to deal with the stuff of adult life. Yet how often do we leave it to them to run our lives? In my experience, when we care for our inner children and lift the burden of adult life from their shoulders, our lives become less stressful. We find ourselves free to respond to life more cleanly from the present.
I integrate mindfulness into all forms of counselling where it seems useful. Mindfulness is a process of anchoring yourself in the present moment by turning an accepting awareness to your thoughts, feelings and perceptions, often through meditation. Mindfulness is particularly effective for anxiety and panic disorders. It can also help to reduce stress and increase your ability to safely manage the powerful emotions triggered during trauma work. Over time, mindfulness supports you to build a kindly and patient attitude towards yourself which can be particularly helpful if you tend to be very self-critical.
Taking that first step can often feel difficult especially if we don't know what to expect.
All you need do right at the start is get in touch! I am happy for you to contact me in whatever way feels most comfortable - by telephone call, text or email and we can arrange an initial meeting/assessment.
I offer an optional, free 15 minute pre-assessment telephone consultation. This is an opportunity for you to connect with me before meeting and ask questions, which can be helpful if you are nervous or a bit unsure.
All sessions are 60 minutes long. Our assessment session is a chance for us to get to know each other a little - you will have the space to tell me what you has brought you to counselling, and I can explain how I work and answer any questions you have. After that, I can tell you if I think I can help you and you can decide if it feels a good fit for you. Some people know right away, others like to go away and have a think about it.
If we decide to continue, we will then agree a day and time to meet, usually weekly. You might already have an idea as to whether you want to work long or short term, or you may wish to contract for 6-12 sessions and see how you feel as we work together.
I work from my own private, quiet counselling room on the first floor of MEA House. There is full disabled access, including lift and accessible toilets. The building has reception cover, waiting area and a café on the ground floor.
Training, qualifications and experience:
- Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Relationally-centred Psychotherapeutic Counselling
- BSc Hons in Social Work/Disability Studies.
My professional background for the past 20 years has been in mental health, learning disabilities, advocacy and welfare rights settings.
I have previously volunteered as a counsellor in two North East charities. My work is now primarily in private practice and I also do some counselling work for a mental health charity. I have worked with people with a range of issues including depression, anxiety and stress; relationship issues; loneliness; trauma stemming from childhood experiences of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect; dissociation; struggles in the workplace; bullying; domestic abuse; bereavement; low self-confidence; caring responsibilities and many more.
I have also had a Buddhist Insight meditation practice for 20 years and regularly attend meditation retreats.