Welcome to my website. I am a counsellor and EMDR therapist and I've spent more than fourteen years working with people both privately and within the NHS, to enable them to live in a way that feels better for them.
Sometimes this may be about understanding the impact of the past on our feelings about ourselves and how we interact with others. Through this understanding we are then able to exert change, either by changing our view of ourselves or learning to relate to others in more effective ways. Read more about this on my Counselling page.
Some of us, however, have experienced trauma in the past which has left enduring and seemingly intractable symptoms. This can either be from a one off incident such as a road traffic accident or an assault leading to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or as a result of multiple traumas such as childhood abuse, working in the emergency services, or being a war veteran, leading to complex PTSD. Read more about this on my EMDR page.
I am an experienced therapist who can provide safe, confidential and effective therapy to address a wide range of difficulties – please see my ‘Presenting Difficulties’ page.
Please have a look at the links above to learn more about my approach and experience. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Counselling is an umbrella term for many forms of talking therapy. People come along to counselling for all sorts of reasons, but I think it would be fair to say that they are in some sort of distress and want to get to the bottom of it and find a way of feeling better!
When we meet, we will spend some time looking at what you see as your difficulties now, but we will also spend some time looking at what your earlier experiences have been. We are all shaped by our past and some of our time may well be spent on exploring the impact of your past on your present, both in how those experiences are having a negative impact on your present, but also the strengths you have as a consequence of these experiences. By increasing our awareness of the person we are now and the reasons we are this way can be enormously empowering and sometimes this is all that is needed to set my clients on a better path in life.
However, sometimes our work can highlight areas in your life that, because of a difficult past, do not work so well in the present. I am experienced and skilled at identifying these areas and offer many different (evidence-based) strategies to improve these areas. Examples of these might be general emotional self-care; specific anxiety management; confidence building; negative self talk; interpersonal skills and relationship management.
For those people who have experienced trauma in their past, whether it be a one-off incident or multiple traumas, I offer EMDR as an effective way of resolving this, which can be integrated into our work. Please see my EMDR page for a description of this therapy and what it is effective for.
EMDR (eye movement desensitising and re-processing) is a highly effective therapy that quickly resolves ‘stuck’ traumatic events and the symptoms resulting from this trauma (anxiety, depression, stress, self harm, OCD, PTSD). It is recommended by NICE (National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence) for use in the NHS and the WHO (World Health Organisation) in particular for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. There is an extensive published research base demonstrating that it is an effective treatment for this and many other disorders.
I qualified in 2009 and use this therapy regularly both in my private work and within the NHS to alleviate the symptoms of trauma. I use it when a patient or client says ‘I know what I’m feeling is illogical, but I still feel it’. Examples of this that I deal with regularly are with survivors of childhood abuse – it is very common for survivors to carry guilt and shame, despite knowing that the abuse was not their fault. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is increasingly used to treat conditions that are not necessarily trauma-related, such as panic disorder, phobias, performance anxiety, self-esteem issues and other anxiety-related disorders.
A full description about the therapy can be found on the Association’s website here. (http://www.emdrassociation.org.uk/home/index.htm).
I have worked with people with a huge variety of difficulties. Anxiety, depression and low self esteem are issues that people can often present with and that I deal with regularly but these are often just symptoms of the damage done by earlier traumas, whether it be those that happened in adult life or those that occurred in childhood, such as sexual, physical or verbal abuse or neglect. I have a great deal of experience in working with survivors of childhood trauma.
In general terms, I am experienced in offering therapy to address the following difficulties (please note that these are general descriptions, if you are unsure about whether my skills would suit your difficulties, please give me a ring, text or email me to discuss this).
Self esteem, depression and anxiety.
PTSD (as a result of a single traumatic incident). This can often be fairly brief therapy.
Complex PTSD (multiple traumatic incidents such as childhood abuse, veterans, torture victims).
Bereavement, particularly unresolved grief.
Bullying, either in childhood or adulthood.
Phobias (dentists, needles, vomiting, insects, birds etc). Generally this is fairly brief therapy.
Addictions, including alcohol, food, self harm.
Relationship difficulties. I have a great deal of experience in helping people to learn the skills to ensure that their relationships are more satisfying, more joyful and run more smoothly.
Whatever difficulty you and I decide to work on, please rest assured that any therapeutic intervention I offer will always be backed up by extensive and robust research. I believe it is vital that a therapist keeps up to date with current research on what is effective and what isn’t and offers effective, evidence-based therapy to their clients. However, as I have said elsewhere, nothing will work unless you have a strong rapport with your therapist!
My early interest in how the body works led to a career in Medical Research as a Cell and Molecular Biologist, working in Cambridge, London and Chicago. After a few years off when my children were young I transferred my interest from how the body works to how the mind works and re-trained as a Counsellor. After qualifying I worked as a practice counsellor and, more latterly, as a specialist trauma therapist using EMDR, within the NHS. In addition, I also worked for the Open University as a lecturer in Health Sciences. I continue to work part-time for the NHS as a psychological therapist and EMDR therapist.
In my spare time I enjoy camping, long distance walking and cycling.
I have a BSc and PhD in biomedical sciences and an Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. After my basic training I completed a number of Open University modules in Psychology, as well as undertaking further training to ensure that my skill base is broad and evidence-based. Thus I have had training in a number of approaches including CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy); Solution-focused therapy; Anxiety Management; Interventions with Alcohol Users; DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) and EMDR (see link above).
As a research scientist a vital part of my role was to ensure that I was informed about current relevant research and to incorporate those findings into my own work. Therefore an evidence-based approach has always underpinned my professional life, and that has not changed for me since I retrained. In addition to regularly attending training seminars and workshops, I read widely to ensure that I am up to date with recent publications about effective therapeutic interventions – I feel that one of my strengths is the ability to evaluate what is published and applying it in a practical situation with my patients/clients.
It is also, of course, a requirement of both my accreditation with the BACP and the EMDR Association as well as my job within the NHS to ensure that I undertake CPD (continued professional development).
I am an EMDR accredited Practitioner, BACP accredited member and am on the BACP Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists in line with the Professional Standards Authority.
The relationship you have with your therapist is of prime importance. In fact, research has shown that the biggest factor in determining a successful outcome from therapy is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. So I’d recommend shopping around a little until you find one that feels right for you. Trust your instincts.
It can take courage to admit that we have a problem, and even more to take the step of doing something about it. You can make contact with me by email, with a phone call or by text. We then arrange a time to meet. I have appointments on weekdays and evenings.
This is our chance to meet and find out whether we can work together. We will discuss your previous experiences of any therapy, and what you hope achieve through therapy. As a part of this discussion I will be finding out more about your earlier life experiences as well as something about you life now, including people who are significant to you. And, of course, it will be your opportunity to find out something more about me!
This session generally lasts about 40 minutes and is free. There is absolutely no obligation upon you to make a decision about whether to commit to therapy – this is an important decision, and you may well need to take time to consider whether you want to continue with me.
My practice is mainly in Porlock, 6 miles west of Minehead in West Somerset. A ground floor room is available and there is off-street parking. I do have some limited availability in Minehead.
My fee for therapy, whether individual or couples is £45 per hour. Some EMDR sessions last up to 90 minutes, by arrangement, and are payable on a pro-rata basis. I do have a few concessionary spaces. If you need to cancel your session please allow 24 hours notice, otherwise the cost of the session will be charged.
What you tell me is confidential, and I adhere to the BACP ethical framework. There are a few legal exceptions to this confidentiality, which are outlined in the link.
Sessions are available weekdays and evenings.
You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will get back to you within 24 hours. Please check your spam if you don’t get a reply, because occasionally my replies end up there.
You can also phone or text me on 07814 633696.