Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stress
Many of us find the modern pace of life to be full of stress and anxiety, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure, or panic attacks and feelings of being out of control of our lives, or simple exhaustion and burn-out. You may have felt depressed on and off for many years and never really understood the causes. It's hard to understand unless you have experienced it yourself how dark and pointless every day can seem when you are in the depths of depression, how heavy and sluggish, and how it can feel as if this is the only reality. I can help you to explore and understand the nature, meaning, and underlying reasons for your feelings and facilitate your exploration into ways of bringing about change.
Loss and bereavement can leave us feeling alone and isolated, longing to talk about the loss but not wishing to burden others with the depth of our feelings. Grieving is a process which we work through over a number of months or years, which enables us to learn how to live with our loss. If we fail to allow ourselves to grieve then those unprocessed feelings remain deep inside us, and when difficulties arise such as another loss or a crisis, then the grief can resurface with astonishing power and feel as fresh as if it had happened yesterday, even 50 years later. I can help you to bear the painful, often confusing and despairing experience of loss, after the death of someone close to you.
Whether it is within the context of a committed partnership, with family and friends, or at work, problems in our relationships with others can cause great unhappiness. We can find ourselves stuck in a situation, endlessly repeating the same pattern, which we feel unable to change. Exploring our relationships in counselling or psychotherapy sessions can help us to name and understand what is going on, to recognise our part in it, and to see where changes can be made.
This has many guises, from eating-disorders, cutting, suicidal thoughts, addictions, and obsessions about body image, to low self-esteem and excessive guilt, shame and self-blame. Rage and aggression can be extremely difficult and frightening feelings to bear or face up to in ourselves. Talking about patterns of self-destructive behaviour in a safe space with a counsellor or psychotherapist can help us to begin to understand the nature of our problem, and to discover a different perspective as we explore the hidden and unexpressed feelings which lie beneath.
Issues from childhood
Problems of abuse, loss, and trauma in childhood can have long-lasting effects on us in the present. No matter how long ago they happened, unresolved and unexamined experiences can feel as painful and distressing today as they did at the time, or even more so. Within the secure space of a counselling or psychotherapy session you can begin to make sense of these past experiences, to understand their effects on you today, and discover ways of beginning to move beyond them.
Family life, childbirth and parenthood
This can be a busy and demanding time of our lives, and a time when depression can first rear its head. You might have had idealistic expectations which are impossible to live up to;you might be feeling alone and scared as you juggle the demands of a new baby, suffering with post-natal depression, struggling with the responsibilities of being a parent, losing touch with yourself and your partner, trying to get back to work, or coping with being the sole wage-earner or a single parent. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to explore all these issues, to re-discover who you are, and re-gain your confidence.
Ageing and mid-life crisis
Like a second adolescence, this period in our lives can be a time of profound change. I can help you navigate this turbulent time as you re-examine your life, mourn any failures and losses, celebrate your achievements, and look to the future with renewed enthusiasm.
Between the ages of 12 and 18 we undergo a crucial and transitional period of development where emotional, physical and psychological changes are taking place. During this period of growth and change we are negotiating the changes between childhood and adulthood and we constantly move between these two positions. It is a turbulent phase and brings with it its own stresses and concerns, for our parents as well as for ourselves. As young people we use varying methods of communication which can be very difficult for those closest to us to understand. Whilst this period in our lives can be confusing it is also a rich time of development where positive and effective changes can be made. I offer a safe, non-judgmental space where your difficulties can be explored and negotiated; I can help and support you as you negotiate difficult and painful problems which may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. I can help with problems such as eating disturbances, peer pressure, exam stress, confusion regarding identity, concerns about sex, differences in behaviour at school/home, divorce, obsessive behaviours and self-harm.
All couples experience conflict at times. We are never fully free from the effects of our first relationships in infancy, they become an essential part of our personalities which we then carry forward into our closest adult relationships, and are often the source of conflict. Couples counselling can help you to explore these underlying issues and help you to begin to understand where the irritations and tensions and repeating patterns in your relationship originate. Understanding and seeing things from a different perspective can be the first step towards making changes. Other life events such as bereavement, changes in your work or financial situation, or illness, can also be difficult to negotiate and cause tensions which are hard to talk about. Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, living together or apart, if your relationship feels close to breaking down, and you feel you are going round in circles and never resolving anything, then talking to a counsellor can help you to get your relationship back on track. I can help you to listen to one another, enabling you to improve your understanding of each other and of yourself. If your relationship has already broken down I can help to support you through the difficult process of separation and divorce, helping you to re-discover yourself as a person separate from your ex-partner, re-building your confidence in the future.