My name is Stephen and I’m a qualified and experienced Existential Analyst and Psychotherapist in Stepps, Glasgow, Scotland, about 4 miles northeast from the city centre. It is a quiet, residential location with free parking.
Experience and Training
I have practiced as a Psychotherapist since 2000 in both the National Health Service and in private practice and have two Masters degrees in Psychotherapy and Counselling, both earned with Distinction. I have ten years experience in the NHS, working as a psychotherapist with patients referred to me by GPs, psychiatrists and social workers; supporting patients with a wide variety of life difficulties ranging from depression and anxiety, struggles with relationships, the effects of neglect, abuse and trauma in childhood and adulthood, and low self-esteem, to severe and enduring mental health and personality issues and disorders.
I also have several years experience working in the judicial system, with victims of crime, with bereaved people, and with persons both in the community and in residential settings who have mental health needs, substance misuse issues, and homelessness difficulties.
In addition I’m a qualified yoga teacher and trained as a fine artist and can incorporate aspects of these in the service of stress relief, anxiety management, relaxation training and the therapeutic use of art, creative media and writing to help patients access and express experiences that are too difficult or painful to put into spoken words. This is especially helpful in allowing both adults and younger people to explore difficult, painful and traumatic experiences in ways that are less distressing than talking.
I have done most of my learning about human suffering from the wide variety of people and situations I have encountered in my life, not least via events and periods of suffering in my own life that I remember all too well. Like many of my patients I’ve also gone through times where I felt too ashamed, anxious or uncertain to talk about my experiences, or sensed strongly that no-one really understood me when I made the effort to reach out. Having someone genuine to turn to would have served me well during those periods.
I’ve spent thousands of hours with patients, psychotherapists, counsellors and other professionals in the workplace, and received many years of therapy myself as part of my training requirements, as well as a person in need. I know what has been helpful and what hasn’t, what has engaged me and what has put me off, and this also informs my way of working, which you will find honest, genuine and to the point. Because authenticity in the relationship is what makes therapy work.
My Therapeutic Orientation
My therapeutic orientation is called Existential Analysis – an approach that has evolved over a hundred or so years from the time of Freud and adopted by pioneering Glasgow Psychiatrist R.D. Laing and others seeking to relate to individuals primarily in human terms rather than via their problems and diagnostic labels.
My overall approach is an integration of many therapeutic ideas and methods that are compatible with viewing the individual as a free, autonomous person capable of creating new paths and directions in his or her life in a world full of challenges and obstacles to be overcome. Existential Analysis seeks to resist the attempts at reducing the person to fit into a diagnostic label, category or psychological model of ‘normality’ or ‘abnormality’. Instead recognising thoughts, feelings and behaviours as being part of the spectrum of an individual’s human nature as he or she interacts and is affected by his or her internal, social, work, political, economic, spiritual and family environment. The question then becomes whether we are making our way through life in a skilful, aware, self-supporting manner, or whether we are making life harder than it has to be, by for example, limiting our awareness through habits, insecurities, fears, falseness and choices that do not serve our needs, welfare or relationships with others.
I view my job as one of helping empower motivated people to know themselves better, to overcome their internal and external obstacles to a well-lived life and help them ‘heal’ themselves by coming to terms with their own truth. I use a whole range of skills and methods to this end, making the process interesting, engaging and challenging. My personal philosophy in therapy is driven by the belief that developing personal authenticity is central to good mental health and strong relationships, with authenticity at the heart of the therapeutic relationship. Personal authenticity is a commitment to being aware of and completely honest with yourself at any given moment; living your values, and being as genuine as possible in relation to others, whilst having the skills to protect yourself and meet your needs effectively. The actual therapeutic part of the relationship between me and my patient is founded on a truthful, trusting alliance that we form with one another.
If you are unsure about whether counselling, psychotherapy or personal development work are appropriate ways to address your needs, or whether I am the right therapist for you, I offer an initial meeting for a reduced fee where we can meet informally to discuss things with no obligation to continue. Confidentiality and privacy applies to any meetings we have. You can also read my blog post “Getting the most from your sessions: the learning mindset” to help you get a better understanding of what is involved in therapeutic work.
Please also go to the Appointments page if you would like to meet in person or online.