Toby BurtonIntegrative psychotherapist
I am a psychotherapist and counsellor with 25 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 (alcohol, drugs, pornography)
anxiety (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.
Addiction Counselling (including, alcohol, drugs, sex, porn)
I have worked in addiction for 25 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.
I believe these dependencies usually develop as an attitudinal response to, and a behavioural defence against, emotional problems. These problems can be current, and they can 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.
Pornography and 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.
How I work
I am an ‘integrative’ psychotherapist and counsellor, which means I believe that a single therapy approach - one of those listed below - 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.
Psychotherapy versus counselling
In case you don’t know, psychotherapy involves deeply exploring emotional issues and their roots, and so is usually a longer-term process - many months, sometimes years, as opposed to weeks. Psychotherapists are qualified to a higher level than counsellors and are trained to be able to ‘diagnose’ what is going on for you psychologically. Counselling, on the other hand, tends to be shorter term work to identify problems and change patterns of thinking and behaving, in the here and now.
My toolbox of therapy approaches:
Here is a brief explanation of some of the different approaches that I integrate into my practice - in no particular order.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Put quite simply, this is an approach that is useful for exploring and breaking cycles of unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, uncomfortable feelings and self-defeating behaviours, which impact on you in the present. It sometimes involves you undertaking some between-session tasks and challenges, but in its basic form it can be a tool to help you better understand what's going on for you.
This approach allows you to talk freely and openly, and my role is to listen and guide you to discover solutions to your problems for yourself by nurturing greater self-awareness and drawing on your innate potential to make changes towards a more satisfying and positive way of living.
I use a series of questions taken from this approach to help people get a better sense of their goal, and to envision a future free of their problem. Rather than focus on their current 'symptoms' or concerns, this model helps people develop the skills, resources and abilities they need to achieve their vision, and move them from where they are, to where they want to be.
This is a useful approach for looking at the roots of current problems. This is done by exploring unconscious thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and patterns in relationships, that have their root in the past but continue to impact on the present.
Intensive short-term psychodynamic therapy (ISTDP)
I use ideas from this school of therapy to help people understand how anxiety works, and how our problems are the result of our cognitive and behavioural defences against facing and effectively acting on our emotions.
Techniques and tools from this therapy are helpful to look at what are called 'life-traps' or schemas - patterns of seeing yourself, others, and the world. These develop and stay with you into adulthood, as a result of things that were done to you as a child, such as not being shown enough love, empathy and guidance, or being abandoned or abused.
I use exercises and experiments taken from this approach to help my clients explore and reconnect with aspects of themselves that they have been disregarding, overlooking or denying, as well as to examine personal conflicts.
I use this approach to therapy to look at how we interact with others. It is useful as a way of resolving conflicts or relationship issues.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. For some people, understanding and practising mindfulness through meditations and activities can be a way of controlling anxiety.
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)
Addiction Counselling Fees
1-1 Addiction Counselling (while still drinking, whilst detoxing / controlling / reducing)
50-minute counselling session (in-person in NW5, by video or telephone call)
1-1 Addiction Counselling Session, plus WhatsApp or other messaging service support
50-minute weekly counselling session (in-person in NW5, by video or telephone call)
plus daily messaging contact over WhatsApp or similar (inc. weekends, with reasonable boundaries discussed)
1-1 Shorter Video/Telephone Counselling Support (during detox* / reduction / moderation)
25-minute session (video or telephone call) £35
10-minute check-in support (video or telephone call) £12
(*detox must be undertaken in the care of a regulated addiction service (privately or NHS-funded))
1-1 WhatsApp or similar messaging service support
Daily messaging contact (inc. weekends, with reasonable boundaries discussed)
£35-50 per week
Please note: If you want to discuss a concessionary fee, please drop me a message or email.
Training and qualifications
Accredited membership of BACP
MA (distinction) Counselling & Psychotherapy
PGDip (distinction) Counselling & Psychotherapy