I am an Existential Psychotherapist with a particular interest in how our lives are shaped by the society, circumstances and culture in which we live. I am committed to helping reform the way we think about, talk about, and treat, mental and emotional distress.
I have a private practice based in Dorset, UK and work with people of all ages - including families, children and young people. I also work with people troubled with what many would describe as more severe and long-standing mental health problems. My private practice trades under the name "Wessex Therapy" as I am based in what was once the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. Thomas Hardy later located his novels in "Wessex".
I am an accredited member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) which is one of the main governing bodies for psychotherapists. I am also a member of the Society for Existential Analysis and with this a Member of the College of Constructivist Psychotherapies.
My work offers a non-clinical alternative to the statutory (NHS) medical approach to emotional and mental distress. I am willing to openly discuss the risks of mental health medications so that people can weigh these against any hoped for benefits. In addition, I help people understand safer ways of reducing mental health medications (if that is their wish).
In my experience, it is usually most helpful to understand a person's emotional and mental distress, trauma, and suffering within the context of his or her life and relationships, rather than as medical disorders that should be treated. I think diagnostic labels (like bipolar disorder, or ADHD, for example) can wrongly give the impression that a person has an incurable illness and may thus shatter dreams, aspiration and hopes of recovery. This thinking is central to my work.
Whilst I value my professional training and ongoing learning through books and academic journals, I particularly value the insight I gain through carefully listening to people as they speak about their lives.
I ran a crisis, counselling and advice centre for over twenty
years. Here people from all walks of life turned for help; in particular, those generally considered as suffering with long-term mental health problems. This became a non-residential community of people who helped and supported one another. Despite the pain and despair many people had experienced, this was a place where laughter, friendship and hope were very apparent. A measure of its success was not only seeing people living in non-supported accommodation but also in the fact that the local health and social services chose to support the project with considerable ongoing funding.
In the future I would like to set up a residential house (therapeutic community) on similar principles where people can find peace and solace. I see this as an alternative to crisis psychiatric hospitalisation and an opportunity for some people to discover ways of balancing their lives with less need (or even no need, if that is their choice) for the mental health drugs that we know can be so disabling with long-term use.