William Leifer Integrative psychotherapist , N2
I am an integrative psychotherapist with over ten years expereince. Having an integrative modality means I combine approaches from different schools of psychotherapy so that I can find the most helpful way of working for each of my clients. I have worked successfully with a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, addictions, low self-esteem, relationship problems, anger issues, and many others. I have seen clients in private practice, the NHS, and Charity sectors, and I also work as a clinical supervisor for other therapists working both privately and in the charity sector.
Over the years I have been practicing therapy I have come to think that the way towards a solution for the troubles that people generally come to therapy with is actually surprisingly simple: it is learning how to come into relationship in the most helpful way with our feelings. There is a way we can give ourselves attention that is deeply nourishing and healing, and that can actually change the way we live our lives.
I will try to explain below what I mean by this; perhaps it is easier to start by explaining the two main ways we can relate to feelings that tend to make us feel worse.
One way of relating to feelings is to try to shut them down, or ignore them. And this strategy can be helpful, at times. Some of us have really painful situations in our lives, and we all need to switch off from time to time. However, if we do this very often, we can end up feeling a lack of vitality, feelings of boredom, and a sense of meaninglessness. Sometimes we can get so used to shutting down in this way that we do not even realise we are doing it – it has become a habit. We are just aware that it feels like something is missing. We may also have problems connecting to others.
Another thing that can happen with feelings, is that we can lose any distance from them. We can become absolutely flooded with them, overwhelmed. Anger, perhaps, or panic, or sadness. It can be really hard to think clearly about our lives, at times when we feel like this. We may act impulsively, and regret what we have done later.
So, very often in difficult life situations, or faced with difficult feelings then, we can feel either overwhelmed or cut off. However, there is a way of being with painful feelings, that in time, tends to lead to us feeling better. One way of talking about it is to say we can make friends with our feelings. Being able to relate to difficult feelings as if they were ‘troubled friends’, listening to them, caring deeply about them, but not being so overwhelmed by them you can’t think.
In my view, therapy is a way of learning how to do this – how to make friends with yourself – as strange as that may sound on first hearing! I think that is what happens when therapy works. And when you are able to do this, your feelings start to shift, and your creativity starts to flow – you find solutions to your problems that you could not possibly have thought of before.
So how does therapy help you achieve this? Well first of all, it is the job of your therapist to listen to what you have to say in a non-judgemental way. When you feel deeply accepted by another person, it becomes much easier to accept your own feelings. Perhaps this is the most important thing therapy provides. Therapy is a confidential, non-judgemental space in which you can speak freely. A space in which you do not have to be any way but the way you are.
As well as this non-judgemental atttitude, which is so important to therapy, there are some other things I will bring to our work together, as and when they seem helpful. I may point out links between different situations in your life currently, or between your past life and your life now to help identify patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that may be impacting your wellbeing. Additionally, many clients find learning mindfulness helpful to both get in touch with feelings, and give their feelings attention in a healing way, so I sometimes teach this skill (I have been practicing Mindfulness myself for 20 years). I may suggest an experiment to try in your daily life, trying something different from your regular way of doing things. (Although I would never insist you do anything if it did not feel right to you). We may also sometimes talk about the relationship we have together, as often problems in relationships outside of therapy also come into therapy (e.g. if it is difficult to feel that anyone cares about you, the chances are you may start to feel that your therapist does not care about you). There are lots of ways we can work together, but the focus will always be on helping you to make friends with your feelings. When you are not pushing feelings away, or getting so bound up with them there is no space to think, the healing that is needed in therapy occurs quite naturally. I will also tailor my approach so that it is right for you. My approach is that there are two experts in the room. I have expertise on therapeutic theories and approaches. You are the expert on what you are feeling, and how are work together is impacting that.
My experience is that a lot of people do not know the power and resourcefulness they have for their own healing and growth. If you work with me, my job will be to help you tap into that. If what I have written above sounds interesting, I would be very glad to meet you so that we can embark on this journey of healing together!
Training and qualifications
Advanced Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling
Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Supervision of psychotherapists and Counsellors
£60 for a 50 minute session
Body psychotherapy Integrative Mindfulness Person-centred/humanistic Psychodynamic Relational Issues often worked with:
AddictionAnxietyBereavementDepressionFamily issuesInterpersonal relationshipsSerious illness / Chronic painTrauma Availability:
Within one week Therapy offered:
In person Client groups:
Individuals Member organisations:
East Finchley Consulting Rooms, 104D High Road