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Specialisms

Diversity

I believe that the quality of psychotherapy is based on the principles of diversity. It is impossible to be a therapist whilst discriminating some groups of people as therapeutic work requires openness and a deep interest in what is diverse, personal and often marginalised. There are however different ways of approaching diversity in practice and my approach is based on equality and attention to prejudices, which I think we all bring.

Firstly, I find it important to build relationships which are equal and which allow open and diverse dialogue. I do not view the therapist as an expert who will give advice but as a human being who can assist in the process of moving through life’s crises and other problems.

Secondly, I believe that we all bring a small degree of prejudice and can only learn through having them verified in a dialogue with the other. It is through the realisatory moments we experience with other people that we can address some of the most profound issues around diversity. True and lasting openness and tolerance is created through personal contact with the other.

I have experience working with people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, disabilities and from across the spectrum of sexual and gender identification. Over the last few years I have facilitated groups with visually impaired people and prior to that managed a mental health day centre specialised in working with ethnic minorities. I have also facilitated cultural capability training events for mental health professionals.

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Specialisms

Relational therapy

My therapeutic and life experience has taught me that people grow through relationships and in relationships. This means that most of our problems are relational – developed in relationships with other people or sometimes because we lacked significant people and their support. For example, when a person comes to see me to work on his or her feelings of depression I am interested to know more about the relationships that may have influenced this depression (for example problems at work) and the relationships that may support him or her at that moment.

Similarly, I pay attention to the quality of the relationship between myself and the people who come to see me. This allows us to explore the various feelings present in the room and attitudes towards therapy, change and discussed problems.

This approach is also called dialogical as it invites both parties to engage in an open dialogue and to be open for discussion; to being emotionally affected by someone else; and to being present with who we are and what we feel.

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Embodied psychotherapy

“It’s not the use of the body … The point is to be a body”

Laura Perls

I believe that our psychology is embodied and that our feelings have an impact on our bodies as do our bodies on our feelings. Current research in neuropsychology has proven that feelings are processed bodily and this is one of the reasons why I find it important to focus on body sensations and experiences in therapy and supervision.

I treat each person who comes to see me individually so this may take various forms. It does however include an invitation to pay attention to how we experience certain feelings or situations within our bodies. We are not usually encouraged to pause and attend to ourselves within our bodies and yet this approach can bring important insights.

In addition to this I focus on how we have developed certain themes of feelings and embodiments in our lives, for example a person who was bullied at school may keep his or her head down. This is not an invitation to correct the person’s posture but to attend to the feelings related to what happened. This may or may not then lead to changes in the way people who come to see me position their bodies, breathe or look around.