Over 20 Years Of Experience
Working with clients both long term and short term
I have been involved in counselling and psychotherapy since 1995 and qualified as a UKCP Registered practitioner in 2000. I decided to become BACP Accredited and have remained so since 2006. I have worked extensively for Employee Assistance Programmes, seeing a variety of clients from different professions including the police, ambulance services, fire service, prison officers and people who work for a range of commercial organisations. I am registered as a practitioner with BUPA, Aviva, AXA PPP, WPA and Benenden private health insurers. I also work with visually impaired clients, doing home visits through a Surrey based charitable organisation. I have provided Home Office mandated professional support to personnel who work with HM Prison service on rehabilitation programmes with prisoners.
Since 2012 I have been working also on contract for the NHS for an online IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) service. I also have worked with a great number of private individuals and couples. I work with most issues – and constantly come across issues which I have not encountered before – but find that psychotherapy training has given me a very grounded and sound theoretical base from which to work, regardless of the particular issues which clients may bring.
I have a great deal of experience in providing therapy – and research tends to indicate that seasoned practitioners are on the whole the most effective.
WHAT DOES ‘INTEGRATIVE’ MEAN?
I chose to train as an Integrative practitioner as this gives me the advantage of being able to work in a variety of different ways, depending on need. I incorporate into my practice understanding and techniques from a number of different therapeutic approaches. It also means that at a time when our understanding of psychological functioning is growing very quickly indeed, I can pursue new expertise and techniques and enhance my practice accordingly. I have chosen to train at Masters Degree level so that I can work at greater depth, with more complex difficulties, as well as with those problems which respond fairly easily to talking therapy. I would agree with the adage that the more experienced a therapist becomes, the more they are likely to integrate different approaches which work in their practice.
Being Integrative means that I can use a Psychodynamic approach to help us arrive at more in-depth understanding of the underlying issues combined with the efficacy of the Cognitive and Behavioural approaches (e.g. CBT) at facilitating change. I combine this with a Humanistic stance, which means that I ‘put myself in your shoes’, am your advocate, as well as your ’sounding board’, who also will challenge you when appropriate.
PSYCHOTHERAPIST AND COUNSELLOR?
In short, the difference is in the level and length of training. Psychotherapy is usually a 5 year, post-graduate training, whereas some practitioners who identify themselves as counsellors may have only a one-year Foundation training. Psychotherapists usually undergo 5 years of personal therapy themselves and have more in-depth theoretical knowledge and more practice hours in order to attain the qualification. Psychologists and practitioners who solely practise CBT are not required to do this.
In common with most practitioners, the way I work with clients is different in every case. However, I am frequently asked what the difference is between counselling and psychotherapy, as I offer both. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish and in a particular session, you could not necessarily define which parts were ‘counselling’ and which ‘psychotherapy’. Yet broadly speaking, the distinction for me is as follows. I would see counselling as helping individuals who normally function well enough, but to whom something traumatic, unpleasant or unexpected has happened – and who are in need of help dealing with this. I would see psychotherapy more as helping those who experience repeating patterns/themes in their lives, to the point where they begin to wonder what part they themselves may unwittingly play in bringing the difficulties about. In practice, none of us functions perfectly and life throws nasty events and situations at all of us – so usually the work tends to be a combination of both counselling and psychotherapy. It is also true that psychotherapy deals with current life situation and counselling can and does make lasting change.
TRAINEE COUNSELLORS & PSYCHOTHERAPISTS
I have worked extensively with trainees, who come for personal therapy as mandated by their training. As an Integrative practitioner, I believe I can offer a rich and varied experience in different ways of working. I also can be proactive in suggesting how we work, which can be helpful if the work is driven less by difficulties and problems and more by the pursuit of personal insight and growth.