Spirituality: an existential perspective

A feature of the work that I do with people who request it, is in helping them recover, clarify and develop their spiritual questions and needs, which for many people have become lost and confused in a New Age disintegration and politicised conflict of groups claiming to be religious and secular around the world.  My…

PTSD, cPTSD, and Dissociative Experiences

I wanted to write something about the relationship some of us have to traumatic experiences from our past.  It seems important that I write this from an intuitive, non-technical place.  For me, this is because intution – as opposed to fear – is what we need to develop regarding our power to manage our way…

Beyond Asylum: society’s contribution to mental distress

[updated January 12, 2019] Mental distress as the individual’s expression of societal overwhelm I’ve been a psychotherapist for nearly twenty years and the longer I practice the more I recognise the foundational cause of human distress and disturbance tends not to be an isolated failing in the individual, nor defect or deficit, not a pathology,…

On choosing a psychotherapist

When choosing the right psychotherapist it’s important to remember some basic facts about psychotherapy if you want it to work for you: Psychotherapy is founded upon a trustworthy, secure relationship.  The best evidence from the longest-term study supporting psychotherapy’s effectiveness in helping people make changes in their lives says that the quality of the therapeutic…

The Outsider Part 2: living off-label

Whilst most of us long for kinship with others who will accept us, approve of us, validate our ideas and beliefs, some of us don’t. Many of us will adjust ourselves in order to fit in and secure such approval, or for the sake of ‘a quiet life’, even to the extent of compromising our…

Happy 2019: Free Support until Jan 14th!

I’m just reposting this for anyone in need of some free support time over the New Year as I still have a few sessions left. If you or someone you know might find it helpful to just connect with someone, ask questions related to therapy or personal development work, vent feelings or just need a…

Depression Part 1: two simple steps on your road to recovery

First of all, this isn’t a ‘how to get over depression’ guide.  It’s something of a response to quite a few blog posts and articles on depression I’ve been reading lately and some concerns about what I’ve read.  Many of the blog posts I’ve been reading seem to automatically define depression in medical terms and…

Why is CBT still being promoted as a cure-all?

As a psychotherapist I continue to come across the ad nauseam promotion of CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – both within the NHS and outside of it for what seems to be any and every ailment known to man, woman and child. This is partly due to the lasting momentum of a politically-motivated campaign of…

Personal Authenticity Part 3: the healing power of truth

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Johnn 8:32 When it comes to healing ourselves from significant troubles, distresses, wounds, afflictions and traumas that we may have suffered, the one thing that I have found to be of primary importance is clearing any and all impediments to our seeing…

The Outsider Part 1: clarifying our place in society

If there’s one area of my work that I have a special interest in it’s working with people who feel like they don’t fit in or who find themselves rejected by the group. I wanted to start writing a series of posts on this subject because of the confusion and assumptions that we typically make…

Suffer the Little Children: abuse and its legacy for survivors

The term ‘child abuse’ opens a Pandora’s Box of definitions and meanings.  From words like neglect to domestic-, emotional-, physical- and sexual abuse; to bullying, genital mutilation, exploitation, trafficking, grooming – the list goes on.  These definitions describe the behaviours of the perpetrators: words for what ‘they’ did.  Not what ‘we’ did… But this post…

Healing Minds: what works for you?

Often we are so socialised into looking to ‘professionals’ for their expertise that we forget that, prior to the boom in professions, we did a pretty good job of taking care of ourselves and one another.  Family, neighbours, community, aunts and uncles, grandparents: all of these community bonds have been eroded by massive shifts in…

Change Your World: Self-healing and Loving Kindness

Inspired by an article I read speaking about the benefits of pets to depressed people, I wanted to write a little bit about the therapeutic value of caring for other living things both as an aid to preventing and treating mental disturbance, particularly but not exclusively depression. “The greatness of a nation and its moral…

Psychotherapy: how I work with you

I thought it might be helpful to write something about som of the ways I work with my patients.  This might give you a better idea of what you can expect if you decide you’d like to start working together. As described on my website, the first step is getting a sense of one another…

The Menace of Authority and the Erosion of Our Common Sense

This post is a look at the impact of the misuse of authority in our society upon the wellbeing and mental health of the individual and by extension our communities.  It is not intended as an attack on benign or benevolent expressions of authority where they might exist in the world. You don’t need to…

Personal Authenticity Part 2: a good or bad idea?

“The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be…” Socrates 469-399 B.C. Personal authenticity has some diverse definitions, especially within philosophy.  I define it within my work as a psychotherapist as involving “a commitment to being aware of and honest with…

Life Coaching

I offer a Life Coaching service which supports people in achieving their personal development aims.  Life Coaching differs from psychotherapy, but shares some areas of crossover.  Essentially Life Coaching is about addressing three main support needs: Guidance, Empowerment and Improvement. The first step in the Life Coaching process is our Introductory meeting, followed by an…

Personal Authenticity Part 1: the courage to stick your neck out

“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates I read Nietzche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Marcel, Unamuno, Heidegger and a bunch of other guys whilst searching for ‘meaning’ during and after my studies as a psychotherapist.  And whilst they all helped the intellectual journey of finding words to grapple with the notion of what it is to…

Depression Part 4: downhill or uphill?

There are simple reasons we end up depressed, getting deeper and deeper into a state of numbness or hopelessness or meaninglessness or apathy.  All of the characteristics of a depressed state are the result of going away from something.  That something could be a problem, difficulty or truth we are avoiding.  Or feelings.  Or people. …

Self-healing: a shift from pain to compassion in five minutes

Periods of mental distress are often characterised by a hyper-focus on our own struggles to the exclusion of everything else.  In the midst of pain and suffering, loneliness and desperation we can end up so concentrated on the distressing aspects of our lives and on what is missing that we literally forget ourselves and what’s…

Advantages of private therapy

Some forms of counselling and psychotherapy may be available via your local NHS Trust or GP surgery. Some advantages of private psychotherapy and counselling are: You can normally get access to help and be seen without delay You have control over the therapist you work with and the therapeutic orientation of the work You can…

Existential Analysis and the differences between a psychotherapist, counsellor, psychologist, CBT therapist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst!

This is a somewhat contentious area for many practitioners because, as with most fields of endeavour, everyone has their own territorial imperatives and personal definitions.  So with that disclaimer, here is my simple outline of the differences between each of these helping activities. Psychotherapist Psychotherapists in the UK are usually required to be in therapy…

I feel like I’m going mad: is there something wrong with me?

Renowned Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing once said “madness is a sane response to an insane world”.  We live in a world that promotes ideas of normality and abnormality and many of us are busy trying to figure out which category we fall into, adjusting our words, thoughts and behaviours in accordance with accepted norms, lest…

Depression Part 3: anger and other ‘bad’ feelings

The world loves to divide feelings and thoughts into ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  But feelings and emotions really aren’t good or bad in the moral sense.  When we call them ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we tend to mean pleasant or unpleasant, comfortable or uncomfortable.  Most importantly, feelings and emotions are useful information; information designed to tell us…

Depression Part 2: a well-worn path

Depression is one of the most common afflictions of human beings and one of the main reasons why people seek some form of help.  Depression has been medicalised in the last hundred years and ‘treated’ as a disease.  In some cases there are, of course, biological or other physical reasons for depression, such as chronic…