Since my teenage years I have always been a 'people helper' but as my own personal development has progressed I have found that my ideas about how I want to do this have gradually changed. As a consequence of my varied past career, interests and life experience I now find I have a lot more letters after my name than in it! It’s been quite a journey from biological scientist to medical doctor to health policy advisor to what I love doing now, which is helping people with a variety of life aspirations or challenges through solution-focused coaching, counselling and psychotherapy.
I have had a lifetime of studying how we function as human beings; what makes us healthy and fulfilled, and what drives us. Over this time I have acquired a broad understanding of both neurobiology (how our brains work), and various psychological models; particularly from the more modern fields of positive psychology, needs based psychology and process work, but also including the older ideas of Freud and Jung which paved the way for much current practice. I have also studied some non-Western psychological models e.g. from Chinese and Indian philosophies.
To apply this knowledge practically I am qualified and experienced in a range of 'people helping' techniques in coaching (Institute of Training and Occupational Learning), neurolinguistic programming (Master Practitioner), psychotherapy/counselling (Human Givens), and hypnotherapy, as well as having years of experience in storytelling and drama techniques. When we work together, I may use any or all of the techniques at my disposal to support you in the most effective way with the issue in question. My sessions are always tailored for you as an individual, and while based on a systematic approach are never formulaic.
In addition to running my own practice I am also an Associate with Olivier Mythodrama which uses the power of drama and the timeless stories of Shakespeare for transformative leadership training. I am also accredited to provide counselling with the charity PTSD Resolution, which provides free treatment to veterans and their families for mental health problems associated with military trauma. I am a qualified course leader on the acclaimed Just What We Need programme for parents, and I am a volunteer counsellor with Ignite a charity which supports young people to achieve their potential.
When I am not working I sing in a local choir, write, act and direct for a community theatre group and spend as much time as possible nurturing my garden or getting out for a walk in nature. I am a lifelong learner and am working towards my Permaculture Design Diploma to be able to assist people in meeting at least part of their nutritional needs through the creation of small-scale food gardens.
No matter how 'stuck' you may feel in your life just now, I believe that you already have, or can develop, the inner resources you need to enable you to achieve a life that works well for you. I see my role very much as a facilitator in helping you to remember your sometimes forgottten strengths, overcome any emotional barriers currently holding you back, build your self- confidence, and add to your life-skill set where necessary. My approach is friendly and practical. I use down-to-earth language and my aim is always for you to feel that you are making progress right from your first session, whatever the issue we are working on together. My ultimate intention is to empower you to achieve your goals and move on with your life in the direction and at the speed that is right for you. Typically I might see someone for around 4-5 sessions though some people need fewer and some will need more ongoing support.
• listen very carefully to your story to understand what has happened in the past, where you are now, and what you want to change in your life.
• utilise knowledge about your past to help you move on (but I won’t ask you to repeatedly talk about problems from the past as evidence shows that this tends to embed bad memories and give them more power over the present).
• focus on getting you from where you are now to where you want to be in as short a time as possible, increasing your self-confidence and independence so that you no longer need me to support you (nor need to keep paying me for sessions!).
• tailor each session for your unique situation using the most effective techniques
• give you empowering information that will help you to understand your own mind/body system and manage it more effectively
• help you to recognise areas in your life where your needs are not being met and why
• help you to think in new empowering ways about yourself
• help you work out realistic, achievable, and needs based goals and agree on the best strategies for you to use to achieve these goals
• help you harness your own innate resources and develop them further to achieve your goals
• help you develop new life skills as appropriate to enable you to make the changes you wish to make in your life
• often give you things to do/practice between sessions
• offer practical help in the here and now for any emotional distress you are experiencing so that you can start to feel you are making progress immediately. This may include teaching you how to relax so that you can deal more effectively with life’s challenges, or dealing swiftly with trauma from the past using a technique that does not require you to tell me all the details.
My professional conduct and continuing professional development are monitored by the Human Givens Institute, which works predominantly to a modern 'needs based' model of psychology that is applicable to coaching, counselling or therapy. The register of the HGI is accredited under the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) for Health and Social Care in the UK, and I abide by its ethics policy and complaints procedure. General Medical Council guidance to doctors recommends that they should only refer patients to practitioners on registers accredited with the PSA.
I have full public liability insurance and DBS clearance.