Read our posts about therapy

Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Given that we enjoy longer and healthier lives, why are so many of us suffering from anxiety? We do live in an increasingly competitive society. We are bombarded with images of ‘success’. Are we thin enough, handsome enough, rich enough, and clever enough?  We readily use words like ‘success’ and ‘failure’, yet what do these terms really mean? It doesn’t occur to us that these ordinary concerns might be a symbolic reflection of our anxiety about mortality. In my work as a therapist I have come to understand that, often, underlying our deepest anxieties are...
» Read More
Couples Therapy: Taking sides

Couples Therapy: Taking sides

At least 110,000 people had couple counselling or therapy last year according to the Relationships Alliance, though this is no doubt a huge underestimation of the numbers, as it doesn’t include those who saw a therapist in private practice. It is noticeable though that we tend to hear far less about couples seeking help for their relationships than we do about those seeking help as individuals. Are people more embarrassed to say they’ve been to see a couple’s counsellor than an individual one?  It seems that if our relationship hits problems, we can feel very exposed and if...
» Read More
Boarding School Survivors

Boarding School Survivors

“Are we going to be head of rugby?” a well-dressed mother self-consciously jokes with another. They stand by their BMWs in the forecourt of a prep school accepting their tiny sons for the first time. Trunks have been carried in, housemasters have made brisk reassuring comments, and the ‘settling in period’ has begun. There are no tears. The scene comes from a BBC 40 Minutes documentary, made 20 years ago, called The Making of Them, in which young boarders were discreetly filmed over their first few weeks at prep school. It is available on YouTube, but careful: it...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
How to Stop Feeling Stuck

How to Stop Feeling Stuck

As a psychotherapist, I meet people all the time who are feeling stuck. Motivation and interest elude them and they’re unhappy. I wanted to help people get back on their feet, not just to survive, but to thrive. Life gives us an opportunity to become the person we’re meant to be by fulfilling our unique purpose. But many people feel out of touch with their purpose. Instead of moving forward with energy and joy, it’s as though they’re caught in an eddy. Even if they knew how to get moving again, they wouldn’t know which direction to go. Somewhere along the...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
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....
» Read More
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...
» Read More
Mindfulness Tames the Monkey Mind

Mindfulness Tames the Monkey Mind

I screwed up. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good either, and it was entirely my fault. In the vernacular of my youth, I dropped the ball, hard. So, naturally I gave myself a hard time about it. And then, I gave myself a hard time about it again. Whenever I thought of it (and it was a lot) the worry and shame came, the adrenaline and cortisol burned in my chest, and I chased the disturbing thought down the rabbit warren of my emotional interior. Funny, that, as I’d been practicing mindfulness for some time and I thought I’d got the hang of it. Yeah, right. The thing...
» Read More