Ally Kennedy-Bearman

Russian Dolls
What could you do, to nurture your inner child today?

I am an experienced Psychosexual Therapist and Relationship Therapist, with a Diploma in Relationship Counselling (DiRC) & a Diploma in Sex & Relationship Therapy (DipSRT), gained from Relationships Scotland, Edinburgh. As such, I am qualified to see couples or Individuals who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships or would like to explore, change and/or enhance their current situation or who feel their relationships have reached crisis point.

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.

As an Integrative Therapist, I have an avid interest in trauma and I use various tools from my therapeutic toolbox, to help meet your current needs and to try to find the cause and not just treat the symptoms of your discontent or distress. I will complete my third and final year as a student of a *Somatic Experiencing® in April 2023. SE® is gentle and embodied practice that allows us to integrate past unresolved stress or trauma, so we are able to live a more fulfilled life, moving from fixity to flow.

(see https://www.seauk.org.uk/ for more info.).

Key themes I see in practice include subjects such as: anxiety; affairs; depression; family issues; feeling overwhelmed; financial worries; lack of connection; lack of intimacy; life changes and loss (such as bereavement – including pets, illness, menopause, redundancy); low self-esteem; porn addiction; sex addiction; stress; trauma.

I believe the best therapy happens when the relationship between Client and Therapist clicks and when the Client comes with an open mind and the willingness to discover. I firmly believe my Clients already have the answers they seek resolution to – they just need to space and the right environment, in which to hear or see or feel these answers.

I am currently practicing online and via telephone and my consultations are 50 minutes long and cost £65. Often weekly sessions work well, but this arrangement can be more flexible if this does not suit your situation. And, you may only want to come for one session. I currently use the Zoom platform for online sessions and have successfully completed an 80+ hours Certificate in Online and Telephone Counselling from the Counselling Tutor.

I am a member of the following professional bodies: COSCA; BACP and COSRT and as such, I model my Practice on their ethical guidelines.

*I do not see children or adolescents nor clients who are actively misusing alcohol or drugs at the time of our scheduled appointments*

If you have a complaint about my service which you believe breaches COSCA’s code of ethics, I would be happy to discuss with you in the first instance or you can contact the organisation directly at www.cosca.org.uk

* 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.

Contact me

Please note, I practice privately on Tuesdays; Wednesdays and Thursdays & am able to respond during these days.

You can text or leave a voicemail for me on 07970 501 088 or send me a message on counsellorally@gmail.com

 

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