It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty
or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back
to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being

John Joseph Powell

I have come to fathom, personally and professionally, that there is something quite paralysing about being alone in confusion and overwhelm. 

In the depths of my own past, there were times of alarmed aloneness where confusion and overwhelm seemingly took over my mind and body, swirling into a disintegrated sense of being – I questioned the ambiguity of the heartache and hopelessness, I wondered why?  I wondered what, I wondered if it was just me.

I felt alone within the crowd.  Lost in a world where each day was a day of feeling unseen, unheard, misunderstood.

Lost and longing for acceptance and a sense of belonging yet overcome by the expectations, demands, and fast-paced apathy of the World and Others.

Yearning for clarity amidst the chaos, little did I know then that there was a way forward, that in all the complexities, there was hope. 

That hope is the hope I wish to offer you here as I delineate how I work.

The Interpersonal Relational Approach

Personally and professionally, in theory and in practice, I acknowledge that whilst the process of change within and between Self, Other’s, and the World is fundamentally a process of reintegrating what has become disintegrated, change is unique to each beautiful being that comes before me. 

Therefore, above and beyond the usage of specific skill-based interventions, I ground our work together in an interpersonal relational approach that includes somatic, dynamic, and process-orientated practices.

The touchstones of this approach & our journey:

Somatic Awareness

There is no mind without a body and no body without a mind; we are embodied beings. Therefore, no process of integration can occur without the incorporation of our bodies. 

As such this journey includes slowly regaining an internal sense of safety and trust.  Bringing awareness to the felt sense of who you are and what you are authentically experiencing, reconnecting you to your inherent embodied wisdom, in turn opening space for a restoration of regulated balance within the nervous system.

Dynamic Understanding

Just as there is no mind without a body and no body without a mind, there is no embodiment without relationship.

We are born from and into relationships and so I offer space to consider the vulnerability that comes from a life embedded and impacted by those who surround us.

Within this journey we compassionately attune to and honour the affective, relational, and contextual influences in your life. Gently unfolding an awareness to all aspects of Self across space, place, and time.

Process Orientation

With a focus on the somatic and the dynamic, the embodied and the embedded, an awareness is brought into the here-and-now. This is a trust-based awareness grounded in the ever-emerging process of change unique to you.

I support you in restoring your inner trust through the wisdom of the body by noticing - without assumption, judgement, or expectation - the non-conscious signals as they arise. Such noticing assists us to work at the bounds of change toward what is authentically longed for, without moving beyond your current capacity to cope

Together we trust the authenticity of Self as spoken through the wisdom of the here-and-now.

Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and it is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons…

It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out…

It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.

Vaclav Havel

Theories & modalities I may draw from in my work:

Based on the work of Dr. Daniel J Siegel Interpersonal Neurobiology is an interdisciplinary field that integrates principles from neuroscience, psychology, and various other disciplines to understand how relationships shape the development and function of the brain. It explores how interactions between individuals influence brain structure and function, emphasizing the importance of social connections in shaping mental health and well-being.

Based on the work of Jaak Panksepp affective neuroscience is a multidisciplinary field that studies the neural mechanisms underlying emotions, mood, and motivation. It explores how brain processes contribute to the experience, expression, and regulation of affective states, shedding light on the biological basis of emotions and related phenomena.

Attachment theory is a psychological framework developed by John Bowlby and later expanded by Mary Ainsworth, focusing on the dynamics of emotional bonds between individuals, particularly between children and their caregivers. It posits that early interactions with caregivers shape the quality of attachment bonds, influencing an individual’s emotional and social development throughout their lifespan. The theory categorises attachment styles, such as secure, anxious-ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganised, based on how individuals perceive and respond to relationships.

Polyvagal theory, developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, proposes that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) plays a crucial role in regulating social behavior, emotional responses, and physiological states. It suggests that the ANS comprises three interconnected pathways, with the vagus nerve playing a central role. The theory posits that the evolutionarily older parts of the vagus nerve (dorsal vagal complex) are associated with immobilization and shutdown responses, while the newer parts (ventral vagal complex) are linked to social engagement and connection. Polyvagal theory provides insights into how our physiological state influences our social interactions, emotional experiences, and overall well-being.

Psychodynamic theory is a psychological framework that emphasises the role of unconscious processes, internal conflicts, and early childhood experiences in shaping personality and behaviour. Psychodynamic theory posits that unconscious drives and desires influence conscious thoughts and behaviours, and that unresolved conflicts from childhood can manifest in adult psychological problems. Therapy based on psychodynamic principles often involves exploring unconscious dynamics to promote insight, self-awareness, and emotional healing.

Compassion theory revolves around understanding and cultivating compassion as a fundamental aspect of human behaviour and well-being. It encompasses both the cognitive and emotional aspects of compassion, emphasising empathy, kindness, and a desire to alleviate suffering in oneself and others. Compassion theory explores how compassion influences relationships, health, and societal structures, and it often intersects with fields such as psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.

Emotion theory encompasses various psychological perspectives that seek to understand the nature, origin, and functions of emotions. It examines how emotions are experienced, expressed, and regulated, as well as their roles in cognition, behaviour, and social interactions. Emotion theories may focus on physiological, cognitive, behavioural, evolutionary, or socio-cultural aspects of emotions, providing insights into their complexity and significance in human life.

The three-phased trauma approach is a therapeutic model that utilises three phases:

  1. Safety and stabilisation: Focuses on establishing a sense of safety and stability for the individual. This phase involves building coping skills, enhancing emotional regulation, and creating a supportive environment to manage symptoms.

  2. Processing trauma: Involves working through traumatic memories and experiences in a structured and safe manner. Therapeutic techniques such as exposure therapy or cognitive processing therapy may be utilized to help process and integrate traumatic memories.

  3. Integration and reconnection: Focuses on integrating the healing work done in therapy into the individual’s daily life. This phase involves building resilience, strengthening social support networks, and reconnecting with meaningful aspects of life.

The three-phased trauma approach aims to address the complex needs of trauma survivors, promote healing and recovery, and support individuals in rebuilding their lives after traumatic experiences.

The Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a therapeutic model that views the mind as composed of multiple “parts.” Developed by Richard Schwartz, IFS posits that each part has its own unique perspective, emotions, and motivations. The aim of therapy is to facilitate harmony and healing within the internal system by fostering compassionate understanding and communication between parts. Through compassionate connection and communication individuals learn to identify, engage, and understanding the intention of their parts, leading to greater self-awareness, integration, and emotional healing.

Dialectical thinking and feeling refers to the ability to hold seemingly contradictory or opposing perspectives, emotions, or truths simultaneously without dismissing or invalidating either side. It involves embracing complexity and recognising the nuances inherent in human experience. Dialectical approaches, such as dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), emphasize balancing acceptance and change, rationality and emotionality, and validation of one’s own experiences while also considering the perspectives of others.

Transference refers to the unconscious redirection of feelings and attitudes from one person to another, often arising from past relationships or experiences. In therapy, transference commonly occurs when clients project emotions, expectations, or reactions onto their therapist, based on unresolved dynamics from their past.

Countertransference, on the other hand, refers to the therapist’s unconscious emotional reactions and responses to the client, often influenced by the therapist’s own experiences, biases, or unresolved issues. It can affect the therapeutic relationship and the therapist’s ability to provide effective treatment if not recognized and managed appropriately.

Somatic awareness refers to the ability to perceive and attend to bodily sensations, feelings, and experiences. It involves being mindful of physical sensations, such as tension, relaxation, warmth, or discomfort, and recognising how they are connected to emotions, thoughts, and overall well-being. Somatic awareness is often cultivated through various practices of mindfulness, body scanning, or simply drawing attention to the body at specific moments throughout the day.  Somatic awareness can enhance self-awareness, emotional regulation, and stress management.

Mindfulness is a state of present-moment awareness, characterized by non-judgmental attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. It involves intentionally directing attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance, without getting caught up in past regrets or future worries.

Meditation, on the other hand, refers to a diverse set of practices that cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and emotional well-being. These practices often involve sitting quietly and focusing attention on a particular object, such as the breath, a mantra, or bodily sensations. Meditation aims to quiet the mind, deepen self-awareness, and cultivate qualities like compassion, clarity, and equanimity.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a communication approach developed by Marshall Rosenberg that emphasizes compassionate connection and conflict resolution. It involves expressing oneself honestly and empathically, while also listening with empathy to others. NVC focuses on identifying and expressing feelings and needs, rather than judgments or blame, in order to foster understanding and collaboration in relationships. The goal of NVC is to create mutual respect, trust, and empathy, leading to more authentic and satisfying connections with others.