Life and water have a lot of similarities - both can be clear, calm and sparkling; and both can be turbulent, frightening and overwhelming. Maybe life has always been a struggle, and you are exhausted just trying to stay afloat; perhaps you have just hit a rough patch and need a helping hand; or maybe you feel that you are being sucked under, with no escape from old habits and old hurts.
I offer a confidential, non-judgemental and safe place where you can talk freely, explore what is troubling you, and work towards finding solutions; and warmth, authenticity and empathy to support you as you look for a new way forward. You may only want one counselling session, or you may want to come regularly over a period of weeks or months. Whatever your choice, I will work to help you find calmer waters and relieve your psychological and emotional distress.
Things are complicated; growing up is tough; and being a parent is the hardest job in the world. I have a particular interest in helping young people and their parents navigate the choppy waters of twenty-first century life. I also work with teachers and other school staff, who are feeling the strain of the enormous responsibility they carry. However, all are welcome in the counselling room, regardless of race, creed, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle.
I have an Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling from Iron Mill College in Exeter. Integrative training involves studying various different approaches to therapy, and putting together a coherent philosophy which can then be adapted to suit your specific needs. I firmly believe that “relationships are not the icing on the cake - they are the cake” (Dr Dan Siegel, UCLA, 2017). I will set out to build a genuine therapeutic relationship with you, which will play a key part in the work we do. I will always look at you as a unique and valued individual, asking not “What is wrong with you?”, but rather “What has happened to you?”.
I am also a qualified facilitator of the University of Melbourne's Tuning into Teens parenting programme, which builds emotional literacy and resilience in families and school enviroments; and a programme facilitator for Mindful Emotion Coaching, a universal, trauma-informed family coaching programme for education, health and care staff. This programme, devised by Dr Sarah Temple, has a European Quality Award (EQA) conferred by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).
I also have further training in the lasting physical, psychological and emotional effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress; the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child IDEAS Impact Framework; working with eating disorders and other forms of self-harm; supporting bereaved children; and with boarding school issues, both current and historic.
I have spent much of my life on the move, living in several different countries across the world - needing to adapt, change and forge new paths. I understand cross-cultural challenges and am experienced in working with issues arising through change, loss, relocation, separation and isolation. I have always wanted to hear people's stories - everybody has one. After taking a BA (Hons) degree in History and a MA in Heritage Management, I worked in journalism, publishing and political analysis before undertaking counselling training.
I work locally in south Somerset and north Dorset, out of London Road Clinic in Milborne Port (DT9 5DW), as well as further afield, offering therapy by telephone or online. I also work as a school counsellor, supporting both young people in a large academy school, and parents in several local primary schools. I am a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); a Registered Member of the Association of Christians in Counselling (ACC); and a passive member of the Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Beratung (SGfB), the Swiss Association for Counselling. I have enhanced DBS clearance, am fully insured and undertake regular clinical supervision.
What I Offer
The ability to process past events and current stresses - safely and in confidence - is a vital step towards finding personal contentment and fulfilment. I offer an effective, integrative approach to counselling, which aims to diminish the power of old hurts and current anxieties to limit your quality of life. It will then be easier to build the strong relationships, good communication and the nurturing environment in which we all flourish - and to become the people we are meant to be.
Tuning into Teens
Positive family relationships are essential for all aspects of adolescent health. I offer the Tuning into Teens programme which helps parents to understand the role of emotions in family life, improve relationships and raise happy, healthy teenagers. Usually conducted over six weeks, the course covers brain development and includes a solid grounding in emotional intelligence, building independence and how to create opportunities for connection.
Often it is hard to talk, to describe what has happened to you, or how you are feeling. Just having something else on which to focus while you talk can make all the difference. I offer many options for creative work, including: art materials; sand tray work with miniatures; beads; board games;
the use of expressive writing or journalling; and the use of metaphor. Grounding techniques, visualisation and mindful relaxation techniques are also important.