You may be very clear in your mind about what you would like from therapy. You may also,
quite understandably, be unsure about what you’re looking for. Either way, all you need to do to get the ball rolling is contact me to arrange an initial meeting. We’ll use this time to do two things:
- Aim to get a sense of what has prompted you to seek support
- Talk through possibilities for the best way forward.
After listening to your story, I can share with you my sense of what would help you the most, and we can take it from there. If you’re interested in knowing more, have a read of these options to get you started and we can discuss further if you’d like to meet.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you’d like to proceed with therapy or you’d just like to take some time to assess what is happening in your life, I offer an extended assessment over three sessions, focussing particularly on the quality of your close relationships.
- Session 1: I will ask you about your background, current situation and hopes for the future.
- Session 2: We will go through the Attachment Style Interview (ASI), a semi-structured assessment tool which I have specialist training to use. The ASI will help us identify who you turn to for support through major events and what predominant pattern shapes the way you relate to them. This can give us a unique insight into how resilient you are at this point in your life.
- Session 3: We will discuss the thoughts and insights that have emerged for you and explore what might be most useful to you next. This assessment can lead into counselling or psychotherapy, or you may find that what you have learned is enough to be getting on with.
The difference between counselling and psychotherapy is not particularly clear-cut. In general terms, counselling is seen as a time-limited process (roughly 6 to 18 sessions), usually aimed at addressing and resolving a specific problem. My main training is psychodynamic, which rests on the idea that the blueprint for how we relate to others and ourselves is laid down in the earliest years of our life. As such, I aim to help you identify the emotional core of the difficulty you are experiencing so that we can understand the origins of this problem and how you have been coping with it until now. We can then explore the resources and capacities that you need to hold on to, and the less helpful coping strategies that can usefully be set aside. We’ll then look forward to ways in which you can handle this issue differently in the future.
Psychotherapy is a longer-term undertaking. You may have come with a particular issue in mind, but in psychotherapy, we’ll take a more in-depth and open-ended approach to exploring where you are in your life currently, where you’ve come from, and where you’d like to be. Evidence suggests that because psychodynamic psychotherapy targets and addresses the deep roots of emotional difficulties, its results are longer lasting. It also makes creative use of the fact that your ways of relating to people in the outside world are likely to surface in the therapeutic relationship with your therapist. This is not always easy, but it opens up a golden opportunity to identify recurring patterns and find alternatives.
My clinical work is also deeply influenced by Attachment Theory, which holds that there is a universal need in all of us, regardless of culture, for understanding and a sense of reliable connection with others. (This is backed up by radical advances over recent years in neuroscience and neuropsychology.) In attachment-based psychotherapy, therefore, it is the relational connection between therapist and client that is viewed as a key vehicle for change.
People often ask: “How long will it take?” That is a hard question to answer, but it is generally agreed that the earlier you encountered emotional adversity in life, the longer it will take to resolve. You can read a very good article on the benefits of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT)
DIT is a brief (16-session) semi-structured psychodynamic therapy that aims to help you understand the connection between your current difficulties and what is happening in your relationships. We do this by identifying a core repetitive pattern of relating that can be traced back to childhood. (I include the Attachment Style Interview (ASI) in the early sessions.) Once this pattern is identified, we’ll use it to help you make changes in your relationships and deal with interpersonal situations more effectively. DIT, which is accredited by the British Psychodynamic Council (BPC), is one of five therapies for depression recommended by the Department of Health (DH) in its guide to psychological therapies. It is also compliant with guidelines on depression set down by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).