Whilst it is difficult to describe anyone in only a few words, I hope the following will give you an idea of who I am, my values and beliefs.
I believe I have had a wide and varied life experience so far, through the people I have met, the places I have visited and lived and the careers I have had. In all this, I have been inspired and humbled when working with people, for the general improvement of our collective well-being. From voluntary work as a teenager working with the elderly at a care home to working on community-based projects during my early University years, I continue to believe in the shared responsibility we all have in society.
My qualifications and experience
I started my career as a volunteer Bereavement Support Worker for Cruse Bereavement Care. Through working with people who have experienced the impact of the loss of a loved one, I became interested in the way in which therapy can help someone move forward and increase their quality of life. I continue to offer my time voluntary for Cruse.
I studied for a degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI), achieving first class honours. This integrative programme of study is built upon Humanistic Philosophy and integrates theories and ideas which look at our developmental history from within our therapeutic relationship. I am currently furthering my skills by studying for a masters degree in Integrative Psychotherapy, also at SPTI.
I have over 10 years experience working with clients with differing needs and expectations of therapy. My experience includes working with children aged from 11 in a secondary school setting. I have also worked with adults in charities focussed on loss and bereavement and for survivors of incest and sexual abuse. Whilst working with charities with a specific focus, I work with my clients on whatever helps them to improve their quality of life. The issues and concerns children bring are as equally valid as those brought by adults, and from my experience, children bring a wide range of issues in much the same way as adults.
I continue to develop my skills and experience, through my private practice and voluntary work, and through ongoing training and personal development. I am trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), a NICE recognised treatment for PTSD. I am also trained in Therapeutic NLP, and integrate these techniques into my practice.
I believe there is more than one way to achieve goals. Alongside counselling and psychotherapy, I have also experienced great growth and development through the use of complementary therapies. I integrate Energy Psychology techniques into my practice. I also believe spirituality is an important part of life.
EMDR & trauma
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) is a NICE approved treatment for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). Although PTSD is a condition typically associated with returning soldiers, it is recognised that many of us suffer from the impact of trauma, whether or not we realise it or know where it originated.
Trauma can occur in any situation that threatens our sense of safety, for example, intense humiliation, fear or powerlessness or if we experience a traumatic event. The most obvious trauma-originating situations include being involved in and/or witnessing an incident such as a mugging, car crash, or death of another, where we are powerless to protect ourselves or somebody else.
Secondary trauma can occur through hearing the traumatic story of another person and we are unable to get it out of our head. The majority of trauma tends to occur during childhood when we lack the choices we have as adults. Examples of this could be an abusive, alcoholic or an otherwise shaming family system, being bullied or suffering painful medical and dental procedures without the necessary information, understanding or support.
As we undergo a traumatic experience, our brains remember the cues, such as sounds, smells, images or sensations, associated with the event. If a similar cue is experienced in the future, the higher cognitive and emotional functions of the brain automatically shut down to enable the most primitive, instinctive part of the brain to take over and cause us to fight, flee or freeze and so avoid being harmed again. Frequently, however, the brain may over-react to the cues it believes are harmful, causing us to behave in ways that are out of proportion or unnecessary in the current situation. This is a traumatic reaction.
Traumatic reactions can be debilitating and lifelong. They can keep us from being intimate in relationships. They can develop into phobias that keep us from, for example, driving in certain conditions or on specific roads. They can cause us to irrationally explode towards a partner, friend or boss. They can cause us to feel fuzzy in the head with an overwhelming urge to run. They can manifest in dissociative flashbacks and nightmares that prevent us from sleeping or even having an idle moment. They can reduce us to a state of hyper-awareness or anxiety, rendering us incapable of relaxing or enjoying life.
EMDR can be used to treat many kinds of issues which manifest due to traumatic reactions, including:
- post-traumatic stress
- sexual and physical abuse
- physical assault and muggings
- medical and dental traumas
- fears and phobias
- car accidents
- traumatic childbirth and memories
How does EMDR work?
By using movements that mimic REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, EMDR stimulates the brain’s natural processing mechanism so that the fragments of disturbing material from the past can be accessed, processed and integrated into a cohesive experience and then into the overall life story. In the case of a recent, single incident trauma such as a mugging that occurred in the past couple of months, the disturbance can usually be cleared up within a few sessions of EMDR. When there are a number of traumatic incidents, or the same trauma was repeated multiple times (as in the case of physical or sexual abuse), EMDR creates a “target sequence plan” that lists all of the traumatic events and memories to be covered in the course of therapy.
At the end of treatment with EMDR, memories still remain, but feel distant and inconsequential. Most importantly, they are no longer associated with the emotions and bodily sensations that can be so debilitating in the present, and the cues that caused the over-reaction will be desensitised. Nightmares and flashbacks generally clear up altogether, and it’s not unusual for clients to report a significant decrease in physical ailments such as aches and pains, coughs, colds, and allergies. Most importantly, clients typically find they have a new sense of peace with the world and with themselves which their loved ones can’t help but notice.