We can work together in person, or use video counselling
Telephone: 07957 987808
We can work together in person, or use video counselling
Telephone: 07957 987808
Registered Member MBACP. I’m an experienced Psychodynamic Counselling Therapist drawing on Psychoanalytic, Integrative and Relational approaches to therapy. I believe in the importance of analytical theories, whilst also using an intuitive approach. The uniqueness of each person’s life involves an equally unique way of moving forward.
Therapy in person is usually the most effective way to work. However, for some, online video counselling can be very good, particularly if you live outside UK, or are anxious about social distancing.
Either way, I'm here to hear you ....
I’m a fully qualified counsellor. Having trained at The University of Hertfordshire between 2008 to 2012, I completed a diploma course in Psychodynamic Theory.
I then followed independent training until 2014, and went on to successfully achieve a two-year Diploma in Psychodynamic Theory and Practice at The Counselling Foundation in St. Albans.
I continued training with Middlesex University, gaining an accredited qualification in 'Together For Wellbeing’ in their SI upport Training Programme. I spent three years employed by The NHS Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, working and supporting patients with a multitude of mental health and personality conditions.
Now in private practice, I worked with clients at The Counselling Foundation in Luton since 2014.
I also have a B.A. (Hons) Degree in Design and Applied Arts (1998).
I’m a Registered Member of the MBACP, and an experienced Psychodynamic Counselling Therapist working in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. I draw on Psychoanalytic, Integrative and Relational approaches to counselling therapy.
I help clients make connections by developing a greater understanding of the unseen patterns of behaviour that can underlie psychological distress. Often those patterns may have caused a multitude of issues such as depression, anxiety and panic, family issues, phobias, psychosis, and addiction.
Through exploring these patterns it is possible to address the life experiences they might impact on. There may be related issues concerned with trauma, difficult family dynamics, abandonment and loss, as well as a plethora of other uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives.
A dedicated practice of weekly therapy can help you make sense of any problems, developing insights and ways of resolving them. I attune my approach to respond to your unique situation and the experiences that have informed it. This can help you recover motivation, perspective, and revive an essential joy in your life.
I recommend that we have an initial session to develop an understanding of your needs, and how I may best help. I mostly work with clients over the long term, which helps to address the deeper, more complex roots of distress.
I also offer short-term work, which can be effective.
I am available for weekday sessions from 8am until 9pm.
Weekend appointments are occasionally
available on request.
Anxiety may occur in response to a particular situation – or may be a feeling that seems to be there all the time. As well as feelings such as apprehension and worry, expecting the worst you may also experience physical symptoms such as sleeplessness, pounding heart, sweaty palms, and even panic attacks. Everyone can relate to the anxiety experienced in an activity like ‘public speaking’ – but if that anxiety seems to be there all the time it makes life feel very difficult. In therapy, we could figure out the source of your anxiety and give you various skills to use to deal with anxiety as it occurs.
Depression is an illness that can affect anybody, at any stage in their life. Some people become depressed as a reaction to a specific life event and others find that for no apparent reason a ‘low mood’ becomes something more pervasive. The opportunity to talk in therapy can give you a ‘sounding board’ to help identify why you are feeling unhappy, as well as giving you techniques to challenge your negative thought patterns.
‘Generally unhappy’ with your life
Perhaps there is nothing really wrong with your life but you just feel generally unhappy and want to talk to someone about your feelings and maybe get help with making changes. The opportunity to talk in confidence can give you a ‘sounding board’ to help you identify why you are feeling unhappy. The chance to reflect on you and your feelings can be a very useful exercise to help you acknowledge achievements and talk about ideas and plans for the future.
Abuse - Emotional, Physical, Sexual
Abuse means that you have experienced behaviour that is harmful to you. It may be in the past or in the present and can be physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Counselling will help you to identify how this abuse is affecting you and help you feel positive about your life now and in the future. The confidential nature of our work together means that you can safely talk about difficult events or relationships.
If you are aware that angry emotions and behaviours are having a negative effect upon your life and those around you it can be very helpful to talk about the causes and how you can identify and manage situations where you experience excess anger. Some people ‘lash out’ verbally or physically and others suppress their anger and may not have the words to express their feelings. Talking in therapy can help you realise that although anger is a normal emotion – if it is starting to negatively impact upon your life there are ways to help you ‘manage’ your anger.
Addiction (e.g. Alcohol, Computer games, Drugs, Food, Gambling, Sex, Smoking)
If you are addicted to certain behaviours or substances – it is likely that something that you originally did for enjoyment or to feel better now feels out of your control. It may affect all areas of your life in a negative way. Talking in therapy will be a first step towards identifying how to build coping skills to help you regain control of your life.
Bereavement / Loss
The death of a loved one or the loss of anything that is significant in your life (a pet, a relationship, even a job). You may feel lost and full of conflicting emotions - anger, grief, hopelessness. You may not want to talk with friends and family and there is nobody to tell you what to expect and how to cope. Nobody can replace what you have lost but it can be comforting to have somebody to talk to at such times.
Bullying can affect both children and adults and can make you feel very alone and frightened. It may make you feel as if you are powerless and there is no solution. Social media can mean that the bullies can seem to follow into the safety of your own home – it feels as if there is no escape. Therapy can allow you to talk about what is happening and get support in the current situation and skills to change the future.
Being able to speak to a trusted person who is experienced in dealing with bullying is important, so you are not trying to cope alone while feeling vulnerable.
Relationships with family members and with friends are an important part of life. When there are problems or when relationships ‘break down’ it can be helpful to talk to a counsellor to help move forward. Some people find it difficult to form relationships with others and the ‘therapeutic relationship’ offered in counselling can be very helpful in such cases by providing a safe space in which to learn and practice relationship skills.
Eating disorders can cover a whole spectrum of behaviours concerning an individual’s relationship with food; for example anorexia and bulimia. The physical effects of eating disorders can be very harmful to an individual and in extreme cases may be fatal. I may be able to help with identifying the underlying issues that are causing the issues – for example body image and the pressures of social media. You may not know why you have an issue with eating and may need help. Counselling can offer emotional support and comfort on the journey to recovery.
Divorce & Separation
The breakdown and end of a relationship can be difficult and painful for all concerned. By the nature of the circumstances the person you would normally turn to for support and help is not available. Counselling can be helpful in helping to work through difficulties within your relationship and how best to move forward if it is over.
Families will change and grow along with each individual family member. The behaviour of each family member may affect the whole family. Natural change such as the birth of a new child, the illness or death of a family member and even something such as the ‘empty nest syndrome’ will affect the dynamic of the family group. Talking therapy can be very helpful in understanding and coming to terms with the complexities which so often affect our family relationships.
If you are confused about your gender identity, sometimes called gender dysphoria, it may be helpful to speak in depth about your feelings, as well as developing more awareness of 'who you are'. This could give much clarity and work out the confusion.
Some people are more comfortable in same-sex relationships and some in opposite-sex relationships. This may change during a person’s life and is not ‘fixed in stone’ but can be very fluid. It may be helpful to talk in confidence if you want to explore your feelings about identity.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
If you cannot stop recurring, negative thoughts coming into your mind, or maybe you have to touch or count things, or repeat the same action like washing your hands over and over, you may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). To feel safe and to relieve your feelings of anxiety you develop ‘rituals’ to help you cope. For example when you leave the house you may need to check numerous times that the front door is closed, or maybe you need to count your steps – and if missing one, have to start all over again.
Counselling can be helpful to identify the source of your anxieties and learn techniques to help you change your the obsessive behaviours; 'short-circuiting' the hitherto problematic obsessions.
Shyness / Social Phobia
Shyness is a fairly common feeling - if it's mild, it doesn't really spoil life. A lot of people worry about meeting new people but once they are with them they can relax and enjoy the situation. If you have a social phobia, you get extremely anxious when you are with other people.
A long-term social phobia may create other mental health issues such as depression or drug and alcohol abuse. Some people may develop agoraphobia and feel unable to leave the house.
Illness and dying
Acute or chronic illness and the end of life will impact upon the individual concerned and their loved ones. People may feel depressed, angry and confused (both the patient and those around them) and counselling gives the opportunity to explore these feelings. A person may want to ‘protect’ their loved ones and not talk about their feelings – counselling can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to talk.
The counselling I offer can include a spiritual emphasis within the work, whatever your religious identity or lack thereof. Spirituality is often synonymous with a sense of meaning or purpose. This often becomes more important in times of emotional stress, physical and mental illness, loss, bereavement and end of life. We can work together in finding clarity on this level.
Mindfulness practice is a way of learning how to identify your thoughts and working with your mind. As a therapist well trained in this area I will give you the techniques to help in this, then subsequently, for many it becomes a life-long practice which is self-sustainable through life.
There are many different changes in a young person’s life as they move from childhood to adulthood. From mood swings and frustration to all the pressures of social media – although adolescence is something everyone experiences – those experiences are different for everyone. You may not want to talk to your family or friends – and it can be very reassuring to talk in confidence to someone 'neutral', to share your feelings.
If you are an adopted (child) adult you may have unresolved feelings about being adopted – you may want to talk about decisions you want to make to explore your past and plan for the future.
Ageing and related issues
Ageing is a natural transition that is likely to cause changes in a person’s life. People may find it difficult to adapt to their life once they retire from employment; some may face feelings of isolation and loneliness; changes in physical health and decreased mobility may also have an impact. Having someone to talk to, and share feelings that you may not want to talk about with your partner or family can be very beneficial.
Assertiveness / Self-confidence / Self-esteem
Whether it is in a work situation or in your personal life – some people find it difficult to express themselves and get their point of view across. There are all sorts of techniques and exercises that can help you learn how to be assertive and this will in turn increase your self-confidence and help to build your self-esteem.
Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
Autism is the central condition in the group of difficulties known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Asperger syndrome is a term used for some higher functioning people on the autism spectrum who have intellectual ability in the average range and no delays in learning to talk.
If you have either condition, I could help in many ways for example in developing awareness, or on a practical level - giving information about the condition, managing behavioural difficulties, and developing social communication and emotional skills.
Counselling will give you a safe space to talk about either a planned or a previous abortion in complete confidence. I will not advise you what to do – Instead I will give you the chance to talk through your thoughts and feelings, which could help you make sense of things in your own mind.
A diagnosis of cancer will impact upon the patient and all those around them. Treatment can be arduous and a person is likely to feel afraid of just what the future holds. Physical changes such as hair and weight loss, weakness and debility can all impact upon a person’s emotional state.
You may have lots of questions, and are likely to want reassurance - being able to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate person can be a great help throughout a difficult time.
As a carer for a family member or a loved one you may find yourself feeling unsupported and exhausted. You may feel angry and abandoned yourself at the same time as having to be strong and capable for the person you are caring for. Perhaps you are having to cope with issues about finances and benefits and perhaps have other dependents as well. By talking in therapy, you can express your own feelings and seek help in creating coping strategies to share the load.
We live in a multi-cultural society; for some people this is a life choice, while for others events may have forced them to move from their homeland to a different country. Understanding how to negotiate cultural differences and customs is much easier if you have someone who can share advice and experiences with you. Helping immigrant parents to negotiate the world that their children are growing up in, understanding customs about dress and modesty, accessing support in a place where everything may literally be a ‘foreign language.’
‘Disability’ can mean different things to different people. Some may have been born with a disability, or have completely accepted/adapted to any change in the way they interact with the world. For those who experience a ‘disability’ later in life such as following an illness or an accident, it may be difficult to reach an acceptance and come to terms with such changes. For example, those who have served in the armed forces may suffer life-changing injuries and as well as any physical impact this can have an emotional impact upon the individual concerned and their families. Having the opportunity to talk about such feelings and emotions with a counsellor can be a way of working through any unresolved issues.
If you are experiencing difficulties with managing your finances, or find yourself falling into debt, it could help to talk about possible underlying reasons why it's so. This in turn could help prevent the same pattern repeating in future.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
After a serious traumatic event people are likely to feel distressed and can experience symptoms for some time. It is common to feel anxious, angry, emotional, and to have difficulty putting the event out of their mind. Some people develop a more severe condition called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counselling could help you make sense of the traumatic experience.
Most people will use their own experience of childhood and the parenting that they received as a basis for parenting their own children. Some people never have the opportunity to experience ‘good’ parenting and even if they have they may benefit from extra support in enhancing their parenting skills. It may be practical skills; it may be understanding your child’s behaviour and your own reactions. Parenting skills can help you to ‘stand back’ from a situation and ask for help to change outcomes.
A phobia is an extreme fear that may seem irrational to others but is very real to the person who has the fear. In extreme situations a phobia may have a negative impact upon an individual and their family. Counselling can help you explore why you have the phobia and how you can take control of your feelings and reactions to the fear.
Counselling can be helpful when there are difficulties relating to pregnancy. Difficulties in conception, difficulties during pregnancy and birth and in the period after the birth of a child can affect both the mother and other family members. Being able to talk to a counsellor in confidence may help with any of these issues.
People may self-harm by taking tablets, cutting, burning, piercing or swallowing objects. It is more common in young people, women, gay and bisexual people. Some people self-harm regularly - it can become almost an addiction.
Talking in therapy with someone who knows about mental health problems may be very useful to help you understand and explore your self-harming behaviour.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings and feel that you may harm yourself / take your own life, you may want to phone and talk to an advisor at the Samaritans. If you are experiencing suicidal feelings generally but do not feel that you will take any action, then counselling can be truly helpful in nurturing a sense of purpose, and a reason for life.
If you have experienced any sort of very dangerous or stressful event that made you feel both frightened and powerless, you may find that you feel unsafe and vulnerable and unable to cope with day-to-day life. Events such as major accidents, natural disasters or being the victim of a mugging or other violent attack may leave you feeling unable to cope. Even once any physical affects have healed you may still experience emotional and psychological trauma and not understand why you cannot ‘get over it’. Talking with a depth of understanding can help you to explore your feelings and help you to heal ‘on the inside’ as well as the outside.
Violence / Victim support
For a person to either directly experience or even to witness a violent event will likely have an ongoing negative influence on their lives. They may feel fear, disbelief and anger (as well as any physical effects) and may find that they no longer feel confident about carrying on with life as before. People may want to protect their loved ones by reassuring them that ‘everything is ok’ and they may suppress their true feelings. Talking in confidence could really help in unravelling complex and difficult thoughts and feelings.
I can be flexible in also offering sessions before and after office hours.
Please contact me with any questions,
and to book an initial consultation.
08:00 – 21:00
Monday - Sunday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Weekend appointments are occasionally
available on request.