Read our posts about therapists

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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"Breaking up is Hard To Do"

"Breaking up is Hard To Do"

The moment when we end a relationship - or have an ending thrust upon us - is almost always exquisitely painful. But of course it's not just the moment of break up that hurts. The aftermath, as we recover, is arguably just as painful not least because it lasts longer - sometimes for years. After the early 'phoney war' of feeling convinced that reconciliation is just around the corner, or of feeling relieved that the vicious arguments are now over, it is then that the long-term suffering begins. Yes, some of us 'keep calm and carry on', and parting...
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Floating: Technologically Assisted Mindfulness

Floating: Technologically Assisted Mindfulness

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for two hours? I’m not talking about lolling on the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about doing nothing - minimising distractions to the degree that all you are left with is your own mind. This can be achieved through “Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy” (REST) – in short, what happens when you immerse yourself in a flotation tank. In a previous post I spoke about how technology can get in the way of mindfulness. But what if technology might also offer us a quicker and more direct experience of...
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Sometimes Therapy Goes Wrong

Sometimes Therapy Goes Wrong

The course of true therapy may not always run smooth. Conflicts and ill feelings can arise just the same as elsewhere – therapists can offend, get things wrong, be clumsy or annoying as well as others. Like others too, they can also be unprofessional, unethical and even, it's tough to think, criminal. It may be that your therapist hasn't done anything 'wrong' as such, but you just feel as if you aren't getting anywhere or you have a vague and repeated sense of unease in the consulting room. Therapy works best if you are able to be as open and honest about any...
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Coming Off Anti-Depressants

Coming Off Anti-Depressants

After over a decade of taking anti-depressants I am now drug-free. I don’t feel entirely comfortable using that phrase, not least because I am an asthmatic and use inhalers on a daily basis, but most importantly because it feels far too evangelical, too much as if I have achieved a superior state to the one of being ‘on drugs’ and I don’t believe that one bit. I first took anti-depressants because someone tried to rape me. It was in broad daylight on a university campus. I was a long way from home, a student learning a foreign language during a long summer holiday...
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Therapy and Cultural Difference

Therapy and Cultural Difference

London is a very multi-cultural place and so cultural identity is an important consideration when choosing a therapist. But what is culture? Some people think that cultural difference is about coming from a faraway country or belonging to an ethnic minority group. In reality, culture is so ubiquitous that even therapy has its own culture; in fact one that, for many people new to it, is shocking to start with. For example, sitting in a room with a stranger, sometimes in silence, sometimes talking about some very difficult feelings, is an alien culture for somebody who...
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Online Dating - the Secrets to Success

Online Dating - the Secrets to Success

I'm a huge fan of online dating. I have several friends and many clients who have found love that way. And when it works, it works well; a recent study suggests that couples who meet online are more likely to move successfully through the infamous 'seven year breakpoint' than couples who meet in traditional ways. But online dating is often challenging. For many, the journey, however hopefully started, often becomes a yo-yo of frustration and self-doubt as well as excitement and hope. In my work I've come to recognise 'online dating disillusionment' when I see...
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Self Protection: A Therapist's Guide

Self Protection: A Therapist's Guide

I often get asked about how I can listen to my client's distress all week without crumpling with exhaustion or getting distressed myself. I tend to give a short answer so as not to put people off asking me anything ever again, something like, “My training involves learning to protect myself/ I make sure to have plenty of supervision”. But there's a much better, longer answer that involves re-calibrating how I empathise in order to ensure my own self protection. Supervision is part of the self-care necessary for any therapist, but it is also an ethical requirement....
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What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Having waited nearly an hour for a client who didn’t show up for his weekly psychotherapy appointment with me, I contacted the main office of the charity where I work to see if he’d left a message. Indeed, he had contacted the service but couldn’t remember my name so the message didn’t get to me.  After recovering from the mild humiliation with my colleagues, I began to wonder what was really going on. Did my client think so little of me that I was just another in a long line of people to speak to, or was something else afoot? I have never texted or emailed my...
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