Read our posts about therapists

Military Stress

Military Stress

I am a counsellor and psychotherapist with almost 30 years experience of working as a therapist. For the last 9 years I have been a full time therapist in an unusual environment for therapy - the welfare department of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, situated at the naval base in Portsmouth. This has been a voyage of discovery for myself and the clients I have seen, chiefly because of the learning that has taken place - for me about the military ethos, and for my clients about the very concept of therapy that can seem very alien to a military mindset. Joining the...
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Partners of Miscarriage Feel Ignored

Partners of Miscarriage Feel Ignored

"Losing my baby was devastating. I didn't realise quite how much I loved it until we found out it had died. I couldn't sleep or concentrate for weeks, and my relationship with my partner really suffered as the course of our grief took different turns." These words are similar to ones I have heard in my practice over the years – but they aren't spoken by a bereft mother in the wake of a miscarriage, but by her partner, suffering less obviously in the wings.  Although, the grief of a miscarriage might be slowly moving out of the shadows and into the public...
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How to Cope When a Child Leaves Home

How to Cope When a Child Leaves Home

The air was balmy and the terrace of our local Sardinian restaurant was buzzing with a mix of old and young. Everyone was dressed in their finest, as they waited for their celebratory table, post-graduation. Excited chit-chat and plans for the future carried through the air and faces glowed with happiness. And I was reminded of my own 18-year old, currently backpacking her way around Europe. It was only a week since my child had left home but I felt bereft. I felt scared, I felt I might cry, I was envious of those I saw around me and angry that we weren’t...
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Your Period is Not Your Enemy

Your Period is Not Your Enemy

For many women, the onset of her period can be a painful and distressing time; a time of seemingly unpredictable emotional highs and lows, accompanied by debilitating physical symptoms. My experience exactly, so in my twenties I took the contraceptive pill, because it seemed to be the only thing promising me any respite. In my thirties, I came off the pill and was – again – knocked for six by my period. This time, however, I planned to make peace with it, working in harmony with my menstrual cycle rather than against it. The results were transformational and my...
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Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

When therapists talk about providing a ‘safe space’ where clients feel able to open up we are usually speaking metaphorically. We mean to indicate that the consulting room will be a place where everything is treated confidentially and judgements are on hold  regarding what is said or done by the client. But ‘safe space’ took on quite a different significance for the unsuspecting client who, towards the end of her session and in mid-thought, was attacked by a Manchester therapist’s cat. The feline who broke the therapeutic boundary had slipped unnoticed through an...
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The Toxic Legacy of Jimmy Savile

The Toxic Legacy of Jimmy Savile

It’s more than a year and a half since the first shockwaves of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse story hit, and I find it harder than ever to listen to the seemingly endless avalanche of disturbing voices testifying to the horrors he inflicted while the world looked the other way. I can’t say exactly how I came to ‘know it’, but the news story when it broke in the autumn of 2012 only served to confirm what I already knew in my guts; that Savile was a predatory abuser. Interestingly a lot of people I’ve discussed this with have also said the same thing.  We all somehow knew...
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The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

Mad Men's Don Draper is not Tony Soprano.  The weird world of psychoanalysing fictional figures  had a field day with the latter – from labelling him with narcissistic or anti-social personality disorder to settling on a severe Oedipus Complex.Whatever the conclusion, the Mafia boss was clearly symptomatic. However little you’d expect a man like Tony to seek psychotherapy, he had to. You cannot run the North Jersey crime syndicate while suffering panic attacks. People don’t turn against their defences when they are perceived to be working in their...
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Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Given that we enjoy longer and healthier lives, why are so many of us suffering from anxiety? We do live in an increasingly competitive society. We are bombarded with images of ‘success’. Are we thin enough, handsome enough, rich enough, and clever enough?  We readily use words like ‘success’ and ‘failure’, yet what do these terms really mean? It doesn’t occur to us that these ordinary concerns might be a symbolic reflection of our anxiety about mortality. In my work as a therapist I have come to understand that, often, underlying our deepest anxieties are...
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5 Ways to Cope with Addiction in the Family

5 Ways to Cope with Addiction in the Family

By the time I met Lucy, she was desperate. Her much-loved only son, Ben, had started using drugs while at school, and by the age of seventeen was addicted to heroin. Lucy knew Ben was wasting his life, but more than that she was terrified that the drugs would kill him. Lucy and her husband Chris ‘panicked’ when they found out. They put Ben into a private rehab, but within days of leaving he was using again.  He stole from them, and then lied about it. By this point Chris wanted to throw Ben out, but Lucy could not stand the thought of her son living on the...
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Losing My Twins at 23 Weeks

Losing My Twins at 23 Weeks

Grief never really goes away completely. The best we can do is live at peace with the memories of our loss, or maybe even be lucky enough to derive nourishment and pleasure from them. But even if you reach such a hazy resolution in this way, it can re-emerge at full force when you least expect it to knock you down again. Or at least that's my experience of losing my two babies 12 years ago, born too early to survive in the world outside my womb. I'd had a time of it getting pregnant in the first place, with irregular menstrual cycles from polycystic ovary syndrome,...
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