I work in an integrated manner, which means I use a few different approaches that work well together. You are an individual and you deserve an individualised approach. I will take into account both your problem and the way you prefer to work.
I will only ever use techniques that are backed up by substantial evidence that they are effective.
I work with individual adults over 18.
I am also happy to consider working with third party organisations, such as Employee Assistance Programmes.
Comfortable, informal counselling room in Trinity Square, Llandudno.
I offer a bespoke therapeutic service based on my training and qualifications, primarily in the approaches below. (Don't feel you have to read this much detail, I’m happy to explain in person.)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
This draws on a century of psychological research into how (a) the way we think (‘cognitions’), (b) the way we feel and (c) the way we behave are all connected. CBT is a more structured goal-focused approach which allows us to map out how habits we have acquired, in the form of biased thoughts and unhelpful behaviour patterns have added to, and are still maintaining, our unhappiness.
A key aspect is that is it not an event which causes us emotional distress but our interpretations of the event which are all important. So, two people may react very differently to the same event depending on their interpretations. And our interpretations may be unrealistic or biased.
In addition to thoughts, behaviour patterns are also discussed. When life is difficult and anxiety or depression feel overwhelming, we often develop coping behaviours. For example, people with anxiety and depression will tend to avoid certain situations and stop socialising. When these coping mechanisms become a long-term habit, these behaviours actually make the problem worse. It can then be difficult to know how to ever get back on track.
CBT identifies these unhelpful patterns in thoughts and behaviours. I would help you to challenge irrational, biased thoughts and together we can agree concrete goals and small steps for you to try out new behaviours. This ultimately results in more positive emotions and greater self-confidence as you learn to cope independently in new healthier ways.
An example: Imagine Jo has anxiety and finds everyday tasks, such as going to the supermarket difficult. He feels very paranoid and worried, believes everyone is watching and judging and he suffers palpitations, chest pains and sweating. It is natural that he will avoid situations that make him feel this awful. Deciding not to go has the immediate effect of reducing his anxiety... phew!
However, we tend to be very self-critical and as the day goes on Jo starts ruminating ... ‘Why can’t I even go to the supermarket... everyone else does... I’m such a freak.... I’m so useless... what must people think?’ So over time avoiding things makes Jo’s self-confidence sink even lower, makes him feel more depressed and anxious and makes him more likely to avoid uncomfortable situations ... and so the vicious circle goes on.
Eventually Jo is only able to go to a few essential places and, despite his coping mechanism of avoiding the stress, his anxiety is actually worse. A CBT approach will explore the thoughts that everyone is judging or that he cannot cope and encourage slow, manageable steps in reversing the tendency to avoid situations. We can then discuss together how the new behaviour is working out.
CBT can therefore add useful structure and focus to our counselling work, as we explore and map out together any ‘vicious circles’ and underlying irrational beliefs. This can also help you understand how your anxiety, depression and low self-esteem persisted long after the adverse life events that triggered them have passed.
Also, through this work, you can learn the skills to avoid falling into the same traps in future. By learning to question your own negative thoughts and to recognise your own unhelpful behaviour patterns you can learn to be your own therapist.
CBT identifies these unhelpful patterns in thoughts and behaviours. I would help you to challenge irrational, biased thoughts and together we can agree concrete goals and small steps for you to try out new behaviours.
This ultimately results in more positive emotions and greater self-confidence, as you learn to cope independently in new, healthier ways.
This unrushed approach focuses on the substantial inner strength and ability for personal growth that is within all of us (even when we feel utterly drained). While I may be the expert in general psychological aspects, you are the expert on your life. Your subjective experience is the most important aspect of therapy. I will give you ample time to tell your story and will actively work to empathically understand your experience.
Within this non-judgmental relationship I will behave as an authentic person, rather than an aloof ‘expert’. I act as a safe ‘sounding board’ to help clarify your thoughts. In this way I aid you to feel confident in your own decisions rather than rushing to give you advice. Many people feel that they’ve always fallen short of ‘ideal’, and so experiencing a genuine and accepting relationship for the first time can be a powerful experience. This positive view of humanity recognises that, given the right conditions to explore, ultimately the individual will often find the right way forward for them.
Any counselling methods are only as good as
the therapeutic relationship underlying them.