What I offer
I offer Gestalt psychotherapeutic counselling and also specialize in bereavement, loss, and spirituality. If you’re looking for a friendly, professional psychotherapeutic counsellor then please contact me to arrange an initial session or two. After meeting me you can then decide if I’m the right person for you to talk to.
Living your life with bereavement
Bereavement can be a bewildering experience that can leave you feeling lost, alone, shattered, stuck, numb, no longer yourself, fearful of being a burden to others, and feeling unstable or unfamiliar to yourself. Your sleep, eating, concentration and memory might be disrupted. You might have lost touch with happier times, good memories, and hope. Meanwhile, other people might be encouraging you to move on and ‘put it behind you’ or might not seem to really want to understand or talk about what you’re going through.
Deaths arising from substance abuse and suicide can leave a swarm of painful, unanswered questions. Why did they do that? Did they really intend to die? Did they really understand how much they were harming themselves? Could they have stopped if they really cared? Could I have done more? Friends and family might avoid talking to you about the death, or say well-meaning but unhelpful things. All this can be painful and isolating. Anger, judgment, shame and blame can make grieving even more challenging and can leave us feeling all the more frightening of our emotions and prone to unhelpful self-accusation.
By exploring your experience with me you can begin to find ways of responding to your bereavement that you can feel happier about. This might include making sense of your loss, the significance of the relationship, understanding your thoughts, feelings and behaviour in context, identifying what you need or want to do, and committing to look after yourself in a kind and understanding way. Finding meaningful ways to feel connected to what was best about the person who has died and your relationship with them, or to get more distance from them, might also be important for you.
Finding meaning and purpose through loss and change
Loss and change can be challenging to work through. This applies to any significant loss, for example of a job or career, romantic relationship or friendship, health, status, expectations of the future, or creative inspiration. Even loss of illusions can be a very unwelcome experience when those illusions have served an important purpose in our life.
I offer you a safe and non-judgmental relationship in which to explore all this at a pace that feels right for you. All loss and change can be opportunities to step into new awareness. Simply starting where you are by exploring with me how you’re affected by loss and change, and how you can best support yourself, can lead to new understandings about what is – and isn’t – important, needed or desirable in your life right now.
Non-ordinary spiritual experiences, including Near-Death Experience
Non-ordinary experiences, such as near-death experience for instance, can be both positively transformative and also highly disruptive. It can take time and patience to work through the significance of such experiences and integrate them into how you live. It has taken me over 10 years to integrate a spontaneous out of body experience that happened to me during a Holotropic breathwork retreat!
I work with people of all religious and spiritual traditions, and none, to explore questions of ‘who am I?’ and ‘how should I be in the world?’ and ‘what do I serve?’ This includes those who feel something fundamental is lacking in their lives at the moment, who are questioning their place in a particular faith tradition, and those who have had non-ordinary experiences, whether spontaneously or as a result of spiritual practices.
Finding your way through anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression can leave you stuck in a too-familiar landscape in which you feel unsafe – either painfully mobilised by anxiety, or heavily sucked down into depression. With me you can explore this landscape, including how it is shaped by, and shapes, your bodily experience, thoughts, feelings, behaviours and relationships. Exploring can lead to new awareness, and making sense of your situation, in ways that support your satisfaction and growth.
Getting clearer about what you need, value and do in the world
Just like rooms, our lives can get cluttered with stuff over the years so that a living room can end up feeling more like a store room, or strangely empty. Counselling is a useful, safe, private and exploratory way to reflect on your life, clarify your priorities, and find new excitement. In counselling you might identify attitudes and behaviours that simply don’t fit you anymore, or interests, pleasures and abilities that you’d forgotten about. You might feel ready for something new but not quite know what that is yet or how others in your life might respond. Counselling can help you clarify priorities and move ahead (or stay right where you are if this is what you choose!) with a clearer sense of your needs, purpose, values and commitments.
Gestalt is an approach that explores awareness of our needs, behaviours, bodily experience, thoughts and feelings in the context of our whole life experience, including our relationships and current situation. As a Gestalt practitioner I experience how growth emerges from increasing awareness, acceptance, creative exploration, and taking action in supportive relationships. Judging, directing or controlling rarely nurture growth or creativity. For these reasons I won’t tell you what to do. At the same time, I won’t just sit and listen and nod! I will always try to respond to you usefully.
Gestalt is a Humanistic-Existential approach to counselling. ‘Humanistic’ means I will relate to you as a person, and meet you as a person, rather than diagnose you as a set of symptoms, or treat you as a problem to be solved. ‘Existential’ means that I acknowledge those aspects of human experience that can’t be changed. I will focus with you on how you can best create satisfaction, and find both meaning and purpose, in your current circumstances.
My qualifications and experience
I hold a Masters, Diploma and Certificate in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the Gestalt Centre London/London Metropolitan University and a Certificate in Humanistic Counselling from The Gestalt Centre London. I have a Masters in Modern European Art History from the Courtauld Institute, London. I volunteered as a bereavement counsellor with St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney for nearly 4 years working with a very wide range of people from all backgrounds dealing with very different bereavements and losses. My approach to bereavement is also informed by integrative models of bereavement and grief that draw on approaches other than Gestalt.
My professional accreditation
I’m a ‘Higher Accredited Registered Member: Psychotherapeutic Counsellor’ with the UK Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners (UKAHPP). I’m also registered and accredited as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor through the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). The UKAHPP is an organisational member of the UKCP and its register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. My membership of these bodies commits me to high ethical standards and ongoing continuous professional development.
View my profile on the UKCP website.
I charge £70 per session and offer concessionary rates starting at £55 for those on lower income. I will try to respond to your email within 24 hours. If I’m unable to answer your phone call please leave a message and some dates and times when I can call you back when you will be free to speak in private. All communication is confidential right from the start.
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