Frequently Asked Questions about psychotherapy, counselling and coaching
- Cost. How much do you charge?
£85.00 per fifty minute session.
Payment in advance secures your booking.
- To ensure a smooth and consistent therapy experience, sessions are required to be paid for in advance. This helps maintain the scheduling integrity and allows us to focus on the therapeutic process. Please do feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding this arrangement.
- Where are the sessions?
- Sessions are online or in Gospel Oak.
- When are the sessions?
We'll find a time that works for you. My hours are 8am - 5pm, Monday - Thursday.
If we decide to work together, we will meet regularly, at the same time every week. This time is reserved for you and not be offered to anyone else.
You and I have an equal commitment to attending these weekly sessions.
However- if you cannot attend a session and are able to give me one week’s notice, you need not pay for that session.
There is no charge for when I am away or cannot make a session. I give as much notice as I can for your convenience.
- Can you offer emergency sessions?
Yes. We will need to have agreed to ongoing work, past or present. You can send a text. I will let you know the nearest time for you to talk.
- How do we do the work?
We talk. We sit down and talk. If we need to move and stretch, we might. I might show you a few simple exercises to help calm you. Mainly, I will listen to anything you have to say.
- Do you talk to anyone about me or pass any of my details on?
Your name and all details are confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
To give you the best ethical service I attend regular clinical supervision but I don't disclose identifying details.
If you or someone is at risk of harm then I have to let someone know but whenever I can I will discuss it with you first.
I understand that it is essential that you can trust that your information is safe with me.
I am a member of the The National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS). I am guided by and bound to their code of ethics, regarding clinical boundaries.
- What is the difference between counselling, psychotherapy and coaching?
I put counselling in the middle, between psychotherapy and coaching. The three disciplines do blend into one another. You may find the longer a mental health practitioner has worked, the more of all of these skills they have. Briefly, I suggest that there is nothing to prevent coaching from being long term, however it could be said to be focussed on the future. Counselling may be longer or shorter term, with a view to looking at how the past may be presenting in the present. Once this is brought into consciousness, it can be easier to make changes- if you want to. A psychotherapist will usually have trained for several years longer and more deeply than a counsellor. Having said that, there are many excellent counsellors, who have undertaken much training and for many years. Psychotherapy also looks into the past. Most importantly, psychotherapy trainees undertake mental health training and a placement (however, some counsellors may have this, too). Psychotherapist have also trained in theoretical frameworks to help understand issues that might be hard for a layperson to appreciate. I am always happy to explain anything about this, if you want to know.
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching in Gospel Oak,
South-End Green, Belsize Park, Hampstead, Dartmouth Park, Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Camden,
NW3, NW5, NW8, NW1, N1, N7 and world wide- online.
- Tell me more about what circumstances bring about the need for depth psychotherapy.
We come into this world, hard wired for attachment to our caregivers. We are born with a brain that still needs to develop. Helpless and vulnerable, we have no way of calming ourselves when we are distressed and are dependent on our primary caregivers, not just for nourishment and protection but for soothing when we are afraid or upset (infants cannot do that for themselves). Attuned caregivers can help us to feel safe and nourished, stimulated when we need it, soothed when we need rest and comfort. How our caregivers respond to our early needs for connection and reassurance, shapes the way we attach to them and forms our expectations of how our needs will be met. If we are lucky and our caregivers can respond well enough, we grow up feeling secure that all is well in our world, trust that we will be ok and that our basic needs for nourishment and security will be met.
Our brains grow in relationship with the adults who care for us. In our early days and months, we can feel hungry, hot, cold, scared, in pain, however as infants, we do not know what our sensations are; we simply know when we’re feeling discomfort or pain. As we develop, our caregivers, with their responses of comfort, nourishment, sounds and words will help us to understand what is the matter with us. We need someone to feed us when we are hungry and hold us when we are afraid, to show understanding when something is the matter and try and find out the problem.
Our difficulties can begin if, for whatever reason, our caregivers cannot attune to us. Sometimes a caregiver might be depressed or feel overwhelmed by the needs of a tiny infant. There may be mental health issues, drug or alcohol problems, stress from the external environment, violence, war, bereavement, loss, abandonment, relationship problems or other factors that make it hard or impossible for the caregiver to attune enough to us. It may be miss-attunement, or worse, we might suffer abuse and neglect, at the hands of those on whom we depend.
Our ability to self soothe has to be learned by an attuned other. If for whatever reason this is limited, we can develop with a compromised ability to soothe, or regulate our own feelings. This means that we can grow into children and then into adults, with difficulties in dealing with our emotions and getting our needs met.
Deep in the original, inherited brains, come the feelings are anger, sadness, fear, curiosity, joy, love and lust (the last develops later, as our bodies mature). These are our primary emotional instincts. We inherited them in order to live well. If these feelings have not been recognised and attuned to adequately when we’re little, we can have real difficulties in recognising and managing them as we get older. If we have a shaky inner world, coming up against external difficult life events, our coping strategies can get compromised and we can become depressed, anxious, ashamed or explosive, find difficulty in maintaining relationships and managing our lives. Major life events, such as separations, bereavement or other stressors, even happy ones, like moving house, marriage or having children of our own can destabilise and disorient us, making it really difficult to manage our lives. We may have difficulty with other, lesser events that others seem to handle well and it can baffle us when we seem not to be able to manage.
When we cannot regulate our feelings, we can feel uncomfortable and out of control. We can sometimes find that eating, drinking, drugging, sex, spending, self-harming and other compulsive behaviours, can help change the way we feel and give us short-term relief. Some activities and behaviours can help us to lift a low mood or lower our stress and anxiety. When we are feeling low, sad or shameful, our breathing and heart rate may slow down. We might use sugary foods, stimulants or dangerous behaviours to give us the lift we need. Otherwise, if we are feeling stressed, angry or anxious and our breathing and heart rate are elevated, we may feel the need to bring ourselves down, with carbohydrates or substances that calm ourselves, both prescribed and non-prescribed. We may crave the numbing effects of alcohol. And to top it all, we may have no conscious idea that we engage in these behaviours, because we are trying to get comfortable, in our own bodies. We simply do not realise that we are in fact grappling with much earlier problems, including that we were not helped to regulate our feelings and self-soothe in a nurturing way. We may need to explore how we feel today and what our real needs might be with a sensitive and attuned therapist, so that we can learn the roots of our distress. As we begin to feel safer, our body-mind system will soothe and calm.
Many of us have gone through our lives, often puzzled, frustrated or ashamed at our own behaviours. We might say: "That's not really me", or think that 'underneath it, I am really a terrible / bad / useless person' and be afraid that others might 'find us out'. We need a very safe, confidential and non-judgmental space to talk about such deep, sensitive, possibly shameful feelings. Only then do we have the chance to look at what is driving them and find out what our unmet needs are.
Many of our self-limiting behaviours are a result of us desperately trying to manage painful feelings. We don't really have much choice until we understand what is really going on. The good news is that our brains are plastic and changeable. Hurts from early lack of atunement can be addressed in psychotherapy. We can develop better connections in our mind, which in turn help us to be more in control of our emotions. We can also perhaps be both more understanding of others and- if needed- also learn to be firmer and clearer with those around us.
Why are our feelings important?
I use the work of neuroscientist Jack Panksepp, whose pioneering neuroscientific findings about feelings, leave us in no question of the importance of feelings.
Feelings are our instincts at work. Set off by neurochemical responses to our environment, they are our first, signals. These are sensations. They let us know how we are fairing in the world and what to do. If it feels good, we can do more of it, if it feels bad, then we may need to get away from it, eliminate it, or communicate for help. If we feel endangered, anxious or afraid, our heart will beat faster, as our physiological response prepares us to run away and hide. Or a sense of threat may bring up another response, more panicky anger, similar to our fear response as we prepare to fight. Sometimes we feel anger of frustration, where we feel blocked and need the energy to fight, or push our way through. This can often feel better and more empowering. If we lose someone or something important to us, our body system prepares us to cry, to cry out and alert the person we long for. We might also feel anger about being left. But after a while, we may give up, become low, sad and depressed.
Our brains develop the prefrontal cortex, responsible for higher-level thinking, through our early relationships with caregivers. As social beings, we learn to anticipate their responses, as their reactions are crucial for our survival. This learning occurs before we have the capacity for conscious memory. When these interactions go well, we experience positive emotions and produce beneficial hormones in our brains, leading to a sense of well-being. In such cases, we may not require psychotherapy and can engage in honest emotional expression with the right people while knowing when to withhold it from others.
However, when these early relationships are challenging, we may experience a range of negative emotions, such as shame, disappointment, frustration, sadness, and loneliness. We may attribute these difficulties to our own failures. This can lead us to give up or continue trying simultaneously. Many of the problematic behaviors we exhibit stem from our desire to connect with others but lacking the skills to do so straightforwardly. We learned that being open and vulnerable in the past caused us pain.
The development of our predictive abilities before conscious memory means that our ways of relating are often unconscious, while our emotions are conscious. Although we may not be fully aware of how we ended up in certain incidents or relationship difficulties, we are certain of the negative emotions we experience.
In my work with you, I frequently check in with your feelings to understand what is happening inside you. This helps us observe the impact of various experiences and gradually map your reactions. My goal is to assist you in getting to know yourself better, and in the process, I also get to know you. It's a bonus for me! If you're unsure of how you're feeling, we can focus on that. Sometimes, I rely on my senses as a kind of barometer, as we are relational beings. I may sense something that you may not be aware of in yourself. However, if you don't resonate with what I perceive, I don't push it because I could be mistaken or, even if I'm not, it may not be useful for you as you learn to tune into your own internal feelings barometer.
The practice of psychotherapy is a relational process, which takes into account our feelings and helps us to make sense of them.
It is an equal relationship, in which trust, care and mutual respect can develop, to facilitate self-knowledge, inspiration and change. Just as we were once infants who developed in response and in relationship with our original caregivers, now we can have the chance of a relationship with a trusted other; I will take the time to attune and get to find and relate to the deeper, neglected parts of you. In this process, you can get insight and develop more self-understanding and compassion for yourself, which often gets extended to others.
Whatever difficulties you have and whatever complexities you have suffered, there are always alternatives.
I do not offer a ‘quick fix’ but you can often quickly realise that you have been hard on yourself. It can be a big relief to realise that you really are an okay person but things that happened earlier made you think that you weren't. I aim to help you to soon feel more kindly towards yourself and offer a robust, stable holding space and a therapeutic approach that fosters long term personal internal strengthening.
The most bothering things for you are the very things that an attuned psychotherapist can use to assist in your process of healing. I know it must be hard to imagine but those things you see as problematic are true pointers to your way home to your deep self.
This is not an overnight fix. It is a unique, special process. I don’t think there is anything quite like it. Your healing journey is like no one else’s but it is not one you do alone.
This one is a shared experience.
*Definitions of counseling and psychotherapy.
The practice, described as counseling, is from the French word, conseiller. It means, to advise.
The practice, described as psychotherapy, is taken from two Greek words; psykhe, and therapeia.
Psyche means, soul, mind or spirit.
Therapeuein means, attend, do service, take care of.
In practice, rather than advising, I try and remember that I am simply attending: I am listening out for the soul.
- I offer psychotherapy, counselling, and therapeutic coaching services convenient for various locations in North West London including Gospel Oak, South-End Green, Belsize Park, Hampstead, Dartmouth Park, Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Camden, (NW3, NW5, NW8, NW1, N1, N7)
and, or online.
I offer psychotherapy, counselling, and therapeutic coaching services convenient for various locations in North West London including Gospel Oak, South-End Green, Belsize Park, Hampstead, Dartmouth Park, Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Camden, (NW3, NW5, NW8, NW1, N1, N7) and, or online.