Colin Berry Psychoanalytic therapist , E4

Personal therapy is about you making time and space for yourself. Personal therapy can be an incredibly healthy choice when facing a lot of problems and difficulties.

If you are experiencing difficult thoughts and feelings, a relationship with a therapist can build an understanding that these difficulties can also contribute to your growth and development.

You may have reached a point in your life where you know you need help and are wondering where to turn. With the information I provide, I hope I will assist you to decide whether to contact me.

I’ve worked as a therapist for over 20 years. In practical terms, that means I have gained a lot of experience for working responsively with people. I work both in the NHS and in private practice. My NHS work involves working with people facing exceptional hardship. They tend to be people who live with severe unresolved trauma and who experience social exclusion. In my private practice, I see people in a wide range of circumstances. I am based in Highams Park, which is within easy reach of many parts of East and North London.

We are living through a period of austerity and I imagine that most people are impacted by this culture of austerity. There may be less optimism around and perhaps daily life feels harder. In my approach to therapy, I actively take account of this prevailing culture.

I think that many people are essentially living in survival mode. Survival mode can mean many things but if you are someone who is struggling to get by each day I’d like to think that you will find me someone that you are able to connect with. A classic piece of resilience-building is an ability to visualise a brighter tomorrow – it helps us to keep going in the face of setbacks and difficulties, but at this time you may be finding it difficult to visualise a brighter tomorrow. When you look ahead, you may see only dark clouds ahead evoking heaviness, worry or fear.

I often think of survival mode in terms of walking a hard road. The novelist Cormac McCarthy engaged deeply with survival themes in many of his books and ‘the road’ seems to be a central image for his characters struggling to survive. If you are walking a hard road, then it is possible that you will grapple with some critical survival dilemmas. One of these may be whether to walk the hard road by yourself or with someone alongside you. Many people do see survival in terms of going it alone when in fact there are so many benefits to learning about support and to forming supportive relationships.

In whatever way you are struggling, do feel that you can contact me. An initial appointment does not carry an expectation to keep seeing me but instead provides a space for working out a way forward. Affordability is part of that conversation and so, too, is building an understanding of what you are looking for from personal therapy.

Reflecting on survivalist themes has influenced my therapist stance. Here are some examples of ways it has influenced my approach to therapy:

Standing alongside. Solidarity can be a word with strong political resonances. However, it also captures a vital aspect of our inter-connectedness. Our society can feel very polarised at present, between the haves and the have nots, between the successful and the failing. For me, it doesn’t make any sense if only some people are prospering. I see personal therapy as a way to stand alongside the people who choose to work with me. To stand alongside involves commitment and emotional investment on my part. You might imagine that I am incredibly busy seeing lots of clients but in fact the number of people I see is finite and this sense of a defined caseload contributes to the care and attention I am able to provide with each person seeing me. At times, being alongside involves a willingness to feel deeply with a person – if you experience a setback, I will be committed to going through it with you.

Bearing witness. In any survival context, there is a role for bearing witness. Jointly, we’d seek to find words for what you’ve gone through, acknowledging more fully what took place. In my NHS work, I regularly write reports and these reports are always shared documents that seek to bear witness to what a person has gone through. There are times where bearing witness also involves giving voice to how things could be – and this feels especially relevant in these austerity years which have left so many people feeling marginalized and excluded.

From the ground up. Top down or from the ground up? When we watch the news, we might easily think that the decisions and actions of people in really senior places are what matter. For my part, I believe that it is life as it is lived on the ground that matters and this outlook shapes and defines my approach to therapy. It gets worked out in various ways, too. A commitment to community participation, for example, and in my NHS work, I am involved in gardening projects. I find these projects very meaningful - we can grow in our personal resilience by working actively with nature. The image of an emerging seedling captures the way that personal growth and development occurs in therapy. Personal therapy may address a loss of balance, where the process becomes about re-discovering what is essential and whole in order to live your life well.  

Training and qualifications

9.02- 12.07Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Professional Member, The Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy (AGIP)

3.00-7.00Diploma in Post-Traumatic Stress Counselling, Richmond Fellowship

5.97-3.99Advanced Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Tower Hamlets College of Further Education

1.96-7.96RSA Certificate in Counselling Skills


50-65 individual sessions 60-75 for couples. Some concessionary places

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