Ambivalence in Psychotherapy

Ambivalence at its best can be the ability to hold two apparently opposing ideas or emotions in one’s consciousness at the same time.  This is a skill and faculty that allows for the possibility of creativity, creative understanding, appreciation of life’s paradoxes and problem-solving.  Life rarely presents us with pictures in black or white, and…

Splitting: the world and others in black and white

Splitting is a defence mechanism first posited by Freud and later developed by various proponents of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory including Ronald Fairbairn and Melanie Klein within Object Relations Theory.  Each development has different perspectives on the splitting phenomenon but all broadly agree that splitting describes an individual’s way of forming conclusions about the world…

Psychiatric Diagnosis Part 1: a guide and caution for the weary

This post seeks to give an overview of how upsetting or distressing human experiences can be viewed and categorised as illness, disease, defect, disorder or dysfunction requiring the special expertise of specific treatments, therapies, interventions and pharmaceuticals for effective ‘cure’.  It is not my intention to devalue the choices exercised by patients who elect this…

Keeping a Therapy Journal or Notebook

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Our psyche tends to focus on the familiar and to obscure the unfamiliar.  Like forgetting a dream a few minutes after you wake, we can forget key insights in…

Anger, Aggression and Passive-Aggression

Anger We all know what it is to feel angry and why.  But anger can often mask underlying feelings that we have either allowed to accumulate in an unexpressed form, or of which we have lost awareness through habit, time or dissociation, for example. Anger, when expressed openly, is our show of refusal, protestation or…

Considering Starting Psychotherapy or Counselling?

“Everything depends on inner change; when this has taken place, then, and only then does the world change.” Martin Buber Facts Here are some brief facts about Psychotherapy and Counselling: You don’t need to have anything ‘wrong’ with you to do therapy A psychiatric diagnosis is not required to overcome psychological, relationship and emotional problems…

Self-development Courses

Courses – coming soon I’m currently designing a series of what I anticipate will be twelve week courses focussing on specific topics to help improve the quality of your life through awareness development, psycho-education and focussed therapeutic work where appropriate.  Courses will comprise weekly sessions, experiential learning, workbooks, therapeutic tasks and between-session support to help…

Spirituality II: Developing an Existential Practice

“The historical religions have the tendency to become ends in themselves, and, as it were, to put themselves in God’s place, and, in fact, there is nothing that is so apt to obscure God’s face as a religion.” Martin Buber In an earlier post I outlined an existential perspective on spirituality as a means of…

Spirituality I: An Existential Perspective

“The most spiritual human beings, assuming they are the most courageous, […] experience by far the most painful tragedies: but it is precisely for this reason they honor life, because it brings against them its most formidable weapons.” Nietzsche A feature of the work that I do with people who request it, is helping them…

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…

CBT: a low-cost ‘cure’ for psychiatric ‘Illness’?

As a psychotherapist I continue to come across the ad nauseam promotion of CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – and its derivatives, 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…

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…

Existential Analysis: how I work with you

I first read Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Nausea” – a classic existential novel – when I was nineteen.  From a place of teenage angst it struck a chord with me as I recognised the overwhelming sensitivities I felt at the time and typically kept to myself.  Sartre speaks of experiencing the world in a felt way; a…

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…

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, the length of their training and training requirements. Counsellor Counselling as a…

A Guide to Making the Most of your Sessions

Updated December 5, 2019 If you only read one page of information on this website then make it this one.  It could be the difference between wasted time and a successful outcome.  There is a detailed guide lower down the page, and a brief summary here for quick reference. Making the Most of your Sessions…