The type of therapy I provide

I will normally base the type of therapy on each individual need of the client. Sometimes a person may just want a person to talk to who is neutral and non-judgemental. This may prove helpful in a person's life and is generally referred to as counselling. Generally a counsellor / therapist does not provide advice, but rather helps a person think and understand their problems so as to empower them to help themselves.

Psychotherapy, however, is a more in depth form of treatment that helps a person understand themselves and their reactions better so as to provide growth and more freedom in their way of relating to themselves and others. This also generally has the effect of providing relief for emotional distress. 

Regular therapy at the same time, confidential/safe place and fee is what psychologists call the therapeutic frame. The therapeutic frame changes the relationship from an ordinary social relationship which often has lots of social investments and expectations to a therapeutic relationship where all thoughts, feelings and behaviours can be discussed with curiosity and understanding. This also helps allow intense feelings to be able to exist, be felt, named and understood minimising the ordinary human tendencies to sometimes act, judge or get rid of the thought, feeling and impulse.

I am trained in several evidence-based approaches, including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Trauma informed Person-Centred Counselling and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). My approach is trauma informed, neuroaffirming and LGBTIQA+ affirming. I understand psychological difficulties from psychodynamic theory including attachment-based theories within an interpersonal therapy framework.

More about Psychodynamic Therapy and attachment based theories
Psychodynamic therapy is a method of treatment that is based on the theory that all humans have a mental life with two parts. Some parts we are aware of and some parts of this mental life we are not aware of. This theory has come from decades of studies and observation of infant, child and primary caregiver relationships. The theory understands that humans rely on relationships to help us survive. Theorists such as John Bowlby, Donald Winnicott, Wilfred Bion and Melanie Klein have described how these relationships become the first vehicle that helps us develop a capacity to think and relate to the self and others. 

The theory understands that we are born with instincts for survival and a body that has sensory experiences. Humans are extremely vulnerable and dependent on another being for full survival from our earliest moments of life. The process of thinking about ourselves, our body sensations and needs starts through the experience of being attended to and thought about by another human being from infancy.

No infant is going to get all of their needs understood perfectly and the theory understands this as being important for ordinary development and also distressing for us all at some point. If there are enough experiences of our needs being attended to and thought about (even if they can't be met), the infant starts to develop some trust in others and the world. This frees the infant to engage with others in ways that are mutually connected. Needs can start to be vocalised and more energy can be used for growth, connectedness and agency in the world. This all happens at an unconscious level.

Sometimes when there is a lot of stress in the early environment, there is difficulty in getting needs understood and attended to. This can happen because of observable trauma, but can also occur through no observable trauma. For example, if a child's sensory system is different to a parent/caregiver and that caregiver consistently cannot understand and attend to the child's need, because they have no reference point in their own experience, the child and parent can feel distress. and a difficulty in attachment can occur. 

Our brains are wired to develop unconscious coping mechanisms (defences) to deal with emergencies as well as uncomfortable sensations and experiences. It helps if we have flexible ways of coping to adapt to different situations. Generally all ways that our brains have developed to cope with difficulty have been adaptive at some point in time. However, while this may work to help us at some points in our life especially in emergency situations, it can also cause us more anxiety or difficulties in relationships at other points in our life if we always use the same way of approaching different situations.

Aims and method

Psychodynamic therapy primarily aims to make these less conscious behaviours, thoughts and feelings more conscious for the client within a safe, supportive and confidential space.  This gives us more choice and freedom to relate to ourselves and others with awareness. The theory views the mind as being an extremely complex part of the self which has developed coping mechanisms already. The therapy helps create awareness of what these are and where they have been adaptive. Therapy helps with creating a kinder and more realistically attuned relationship to parts of self and the outside world. It also aims to help a person grow and live according to their authentic and true self.

In this therapy, thoughts, feelings and associations about the therapeutic relationship become important. This is because the therapeutic relationship becomes the tool for us to understand how you experience yourself and other significant relationships in your life. This is why all feelings, thoughts and behaviours are meaningful in therapy including feelings about the boundaries such as payment and time. These are encouraged to be expressed and all have individual meanings.
We will also explore your external relationships and your current and past experiences. 

Often people come to therapy because a part of themselves makes the decision. An adult/cognitive part of the self that helps us make decisions that are based on logic and the social rules that we often internalise from the outside world. This part of the self helps us adapt to the world we live in as we grow up. In the theory it is described with different labels. I am labeling it a cognitive/adult self for descriptive purposes here. We also carry a feeling self from our earlier child lives throughout life. Often times we can be quite judgmental of the feeling self because it doesn't work in the same system of logic. However, our feeling self is just as important as an adult/cognitive self for a full life. This feeling self also has important information that it tries to communicate to us about the world and operates in the world before we have words. It carries our instincts for survival and relating. In therapy we try find the words and understandings for this part of the self and integrate it with other parts of ourselves.

It is useful to remember that the world of logic can sometimes operate in a linear way. In therapy, this means that sometimes people want therapy to progress in the world of logic in the same way we progress academically at school, for example. However, our feeling self operates in a different way and so our adult selves might see progression in therapy in a different way to what the feeling self does. This will also be thought about together in session.