Counselling tends to be short-term work, which focuses on a particular issue or difficulty that you’re currently experiencing in the present. As a therapist, I will support you to explore and understand your current situation or the issue that is causing you difficulty. Furthermore, I will enable you to access your own resources and equip you with some new tools in order to support your personal development, whilst helping you make lasting change.
Psychotherapy tends to be longer term work, involving a more in-depth process, whereby you will explore your past and how it is possibly affecting your life in the here-and-now. I will work with you in a safe, contained and respectful way, as together we explore and understand your inner world, personal experience and the ways you have of dealing with yourself, others and the world. Furthermore, I will utilise my knowledge, skills and expertise as we explore and understand together, and bring to your awareness connections between historic events and your present experience.
Why counselling and psychotherapy can help
Counselling and psychotherapy can help if you are experiencing difficulties such as:
- depression, sadness or feelings of emptiness;
- anxiety and difficulties with coping;
- unhelpful ways of thinking, feeling or being;
- low self-confidence and self-esteem;
- problems with assertiveness;
- difficulties expressing and/or managing anger;
- difficulties making sense of and/or containing your feelings;
- coming to terms with early childhood trauma and issues of sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuse and neglect;
- the effects/consequences of being an adult survivor of early childhood trauma;
- adult trauma;
- relationship problems;
- identity issues;
- work stress;
- feeling unfulfilled.
These issues may be as a result of day-to-day stresses, or as a result of more specific events in life, either current or that have occurred in the past.
Counselling and psychotherapy can provide you with a safe, confidential space to talk about your difficulties and how they are impacting you right now. You may have talked about these problems with family, friends or partner, but worry that you’re burdening them unnecessarily. Sometimes it can be more beneficial to talk to a trained and skilled therapist, who will provide warmth, acceptance and non-judgement. Counselling and psychotherapy will take account of your concerns and fears, coupled with your needs, hopes and aspirations.
I provide a psychotherapy service to both individuals and couples in central Edinburgh, offering professional, independent and confidential support to address your difficulties.
I use Transactional Analysis (TA) as my principle modality of psychotherapy, whilst drawing on a range of other modalities. TA is a theory of personality, relationships, growth and development. It is a lively and dynamic therapy, widely used in counselling and psychotherapy, whilst also in education and organisations. Furthermore, TA is recognised world-wide for its success in enabling and facilitating personal change.
TA has a variety of tools and models which can enable us in understanding ourselves and others. I often introduce TA concepts and tools in my work with clients if I think this is going to be helpful. This means that you can learn and apply some of these tools practically and appropriately when you want to do so, at various stages of working together. You can utilise these tools to gain a better understanding of yourself, as you explore, observe and reflect on the way you communicate and relate to others. You will become more aware of your patterns of behaviour, as you begin to understand how some past experiences may be influencing your thoughts, feelings and behaviours in the present moment – some of which may be unhelpful and destructive. For example: one of the tools that TA offers is Script. I often describe Script to clients as a bit like writing your life story. This is written in very formative years, completely out of our awareness. Very often when bad things happen to us as children, we do not have the resources available to us as adults to make sense of them. We therefore make sense of them and cope in the best ways we can at that point in time. We devise whatever strategies we can to help us survive – and that is okay!! When we find ourselves in similar situations that cause us upset or distress as adults, we can end up employing the same strategies we did when we were small; but we often find as adults, that it’s not really working for us in the same way. This is not in any way to criticise or discount how we coped as children, for we coped then in whatever ways we could and survived!! It’s more about bringing all of this to our awareness and building on the tools and resources we currently have, so that we feel happier and more content.
I often spend the first two sessions with clients taking a comprehensive history. This will involve asking you about your childhood – exploring who was at home with you when you were a child; are there siblings? If so, what sort of relationship did you have with your siblings during childhood, adolescence and in the present? How did you experience your mother in childhood? How did you experience your father in childhood? How did your parents resolve conflict? How do they resolve conflict now? Has this influenced how you function or resolve conflict in your relationships? I will also ask you about school – what were your experiences in primary and secondary school? Did you have friends? What did you do having left school? I work from the beginning of your life, starting with your birth, right up to the present day. This also takes into account current relationships, life style, and support structures, how you self-soothe – do you self soothe? I find this process extremely informative, for it enables me to make connections between past and current events, and how your past is possibly influencing your present. I often describe it to clients’ like a jigsaw, and gaining this information helps me begin to put pieces to the puzzle. In my experience, this process is often very beneficial for my clients’, for they begin to put the pieces together for themselves. It enables my clients’ to make sense of their experience and process, and in so doing, gain awareness, understanding and the ability to begin to make the necessary changes.
TA is valuable in both short-term counselling, whereby we focus on dealing with the present, whilst in psychotherapy TA is extremely valuable in supporting you to understand yourself and your patterns of behaviour, and how past events and experiences may be prohibiting your ability to enjoy the present.
If you’d like to learn more about my approach and how I work, please feel free to contact me in order to arrange an initial consultation.