Toby BurtonIntegrative psychotherapist
I am a psychotherapist and counsellor with 27 years experience of working in addiction. I work in the short and long-term with young and older adults from all walks of life, to help them with issues relating to:
addictions (inc. alcohol, drugs, pornography)
anxiety (inc. generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, intrusive thoughts, health anxiety)
As well as practising privately, I work as a counsellor and psychotherapist in the NHS: with younger adults and students at Marylebone Health Centre, and with older adults with alcohol related problems, at Lisson Grove Health Centre.
How I Work
I am an ‘integrative’ psychotherapist, which means I believe that a single therapy approach will not help you with all issues that arise for you, and that there are many different therapeutic ways for problems to be explored and worked on. Consequently, I draw techniques and ideas from different ‘schools’ of therapy, depending on the needs of the people I see.
At the heart of my work, however, is helping you see how when you avoid the experience and expression of your emotions, and your physiological anxiety, you create your problems. For some people these 'defences' against feeling are easier to see and let go of, while others find they are deeply ingrained in the way they operate and see themselves, and so can be harder to renounce.
Addiction Counselling (including alcohol, drugs, sex, porn)
I have worked in addiction for 27 years. Much of my experience is working in the private and public sector with people with drug abuse and alcohol problems, but in recent years my clientele has broadened to include those struggling with porn and other addictions and compulsive behaviours. While I take into account some genetic vulnerability to addiction, I believe dependencies usually develop as a behavioural defence against emotional problems that originate in traumatic early life experiences and relationships.
Some people with drug abuse or alcohol problems need detoxification treatment from their substance of abuse before beginning therapy, or require medical treatment alongside counselling. If you do need treatment, please get in touch, as I can refer you to a specialist evidence-based treatment facility in London, offering out-patient treatments for mental health disorders and addiction.
Some over-drinkers want to move from problematic drinking to what we call 'controlled' or 'moderate' drinking. This transition may require a temporary period of abstinence, with the support of addiction counselling. Achieving a moderation of one's drinking habits, however, is not necessarily an easier option than complete abstinence as it involves changing the way you think about the alcohol you drink. It also means always developing a strict level of self-control, which is made more difficult after a couple of drinks.
All addictions can take some time to get control of. There is no silver bullet to stop behaviours that have been habitual for many years and that you have been using to cope with life for so long. Lapse and relapse are often part of the process of achieving abstinence in the long term, but counselling will help you through these difficult times. Counselling will also help you to learn from any slip-ups you make, and then support you, once you are abstinent, in staying that way.
We begin by looking at the practical things you can do to help you towards abstinence or moderation, as well as trying to help you change unhelpful or distorted patterns of thinking. We would also look at what is going on for you emotionally and, in doing so, help you reduce any anxiety that may be making life feel very uncomfortable and scary.
We would also have a look at early memories for any clues to why you might think, feel and behave in the way you do. Once you are abstinent or in control of your use, it's easier to do this more deeply psychological work known as 'psychotherapy'.
If you have an addiction and are seeking help, I can assess your needs at our first appointment.
Issues often worked with
Types of therapy
50-minute session (in-person in NW5, by video or telephone call)
Psychotherapy / Counselling
50-minute session (in-person, by video-call or telephone)
Training and qualifications
Accredited membership of BACP
MA (distinction) Counselling & Psychotherapy
PGDip (distinction) Counselling & Psychotherapy