About

cropped-inner-child11-e1522263174283.jpgHello and a warm welcome. I offer online video-conferencing sessions (on the Zoom platform), allowing me to see clients from the whole of the UK. Do get in touch if you would like further information.

I am an experienced Relationship and Psychosexual Therapist and I offer therapy for Couples and Individuals, UK wide.  I am also in my third and final year as a student in *Somatic Experiencing® (with SOS Internationale) and may offer relevant SE® protocols in our work together, if helpful to you (see https://www.seauk.org.uk for more info.) I provide a safe space for you to explore – it could be that something is troubling you or it could be something you wish to further understand or you may feel your relationship has hit crisis point.

Your exploration may include relationship issues such as loss of connection or loss of intimacy but similarly your exploration may be around other subjects such as addictions; affairs; anxiety; family; feeling stuck; finances; illnesslife changes (such as menopause; the arrival of a new baby; children leaving home; divorce; separation); loss (such as bereavement of loved ones, including pets); redundancy; self-esteem; stress; work-related issues. My Sex Therapy practice can help with sexual dysfunction, such as (but not limited to): erectile dysfunction; delayed ejaculation; lack of intimacy; painful sex; vulval pain; vaginismus; porn use that impacts you and/or your relationship negatively.

The space I provide is confidential; free of judgement and it is safe; your well-being is my top priority. Often, clients want to know how long they can expect to be in therapy for – I believe this is something you will instinctively come to know as the therapeutic process unfolds.  We will work at a pace that suits each individual, and so there isn’t a one size fits all answer. NB, I Practice privately on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and am able to respond on those days. My fee is £65 and sessions are 50 minutes.

If I think the therapy I am able to offer will not meet your current needs, I will aim to work collaboratively with you, to identify an alternative service (if relevant) that better suits you.

* More on Somatic Experiencing®

THE SCIENCE

Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict. My favourite definition of Trauma is: too much; too soon; too fast. An experience we have had (this may be from our very infant days of living with parents who were mis-attuned to our needs or indeed something happening to us in utero or during our birth) that has been overwhelming to us (and to our nervous systems) is ultimately stored in the body, at a cellular and visceral level and can really shape our behaviour unconsciously, fixing our responses to certain situations. Developmental trauma does not necessarily equate to caregivers not loving us, although sometimes we deeply feel that was the case, but more that our individual needs were not met and therefore we adapted our behaviour to maintain the attachment to those who looked after us, in order to survive.

Somatic Experiencing® can help move us from this fixity to flow, thereby freeing our nervous systems to act according to the situation that arises in the here and now and not responding in a fixed way that may not generate the best outcome for us. For some people this can look like being struck silent when confrontation arises, and then afterwards beating self up over not being able to fight your corner. It may also look like always being quick to defend or jump to aggression, when on reflection you don’t understand why you felt so enraged or mad about the situation. It may look like acting out – by drinking to excess; abusing drugs; finding self in unsafe situations; abusing self sexually; overthinking; catastrophising; shutting down or withdrawing; procrastinating; being super-busy and ignoring the need to take a break or rest etc. etc. Stuck survival stress or energy can manifest in so many different ways and Somatic Experiencing® is a gentle way of building capacity for the body to discharge or integrate the stuck, thwarted processes, allowing us to show up differently in our relationships to self and to others.

HOW IT WORKS

The Somatic Experiencing® approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.

Dr. Peter Levine (the founder of Somatic Experiencing®) was inspired to study stress on the animal nervous system when he realised that animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma. What he discovered was that trauma has to do with the third survival response to perceived life threat, which is freeze. When fight and flight are not options, we freeze and immobilise, like “playing dead.” This makes us less of a target. However, this reaction is time-sensitive, in other words, it needs to run its course, and the massive energy that was prepared for fight or flight gets discharged, through shakes and trembling. If the immobility phase doesn’t complete, then that charge stays trapped, and, from the body’s perspective, it is still under threat. The Somatic Experiencing® method works to release this stored energy and turn off this threat alarm that causes severe dysregulation and dissociation. SE® helps people understand this body response to trauma and work through a “body first” approach to healing.

Planned breaks from Practice for 2022/23 are as follows:

wk/c 27th Feb ’23 returning Tues 14th March ’23

wk/c 24th April ’23 returning Tues 9th May ’23

I Practice is informed by the ethical framework set out by BACP (https://www.bacp.co.uk/events-and-resources/ethics-and-standards/ethical-framework-for-the-counselling-professions/) and COSCA(http://www.cosca.org.uk/docs/23.pdf) and my approach is Integrative, which means I have multiple “tools” in my therapeutic “toolbox”, in order to find the most productive way of working with each individual client or couple.

I am GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679] compliant and as such, my written and verbal contracts with you will fully explain this.

Contact me directly on counsellorally@gmail.com

Please note, I do not operate an emergency service, so if you are in crisis or contemplating taking your own life, there are services that can help you 24/7, please see our HELP page