I've been counselling in Exeter for 11 years now. I run a successful private practice located on Southernhay East, in the heart of Exeter. I work with adults, couples and young people from the age of 16. I have a degree in Intergrative counselling and am accredited with the BACP. I also have experience working for a domestic violence charity in Exeter as well as work in secondary schools and most recently as a lecturer for the University of Worcester.
I love to laugh and find that humour can be really helpful in therapy.
I am a big fan of nature, I love festivals and have a beautiful black labrador. I regularly practice yoga and meditation and enjoy the space and peace these things bring to my life.
I feel passionate about working in a professional, safe and ethical way whilst being warm and human.
I will always strive to create an atmosphere where you feel safe, supported and free to just be you, without fear of judgement. I believe very much in the power of healthy and robust relationships and this is one of the things I think is most valuable about counselling. I promote openess and equality with each of my clients. I am me and you are you, different and equal in the same measure.
I'm real, mindful and speak my mind whilst being gentle and compassionate.
My approach to counselling
Having experienced a spiritual awakening at age 13 at a Christian camping weekend, I have grown up with a sense of connection to something bigger than me. Inevitably, I grew away from strong Christian ideology but still maintain many of its values. My latter teenage years were heavily influenced by eastern culture, from the age of 17, I was regularly meditating, and I seemed to have access to a world beyond my five senses.
As an Integrative Counsellor I have been trained to select a small handful of different theoretical approaches to develop my own distinct way of working. I offer a modern approach to counselling and maintain a strong professional ethos which respects the ethical principles set out within the BACP Ethical Framework.
I believe we all have a ‘higher self’ which is our connection to compassion and unconditional love.
It is this aspect of being human that I seek to help my clients connect to, and I will use my own compassionate self in the therapy room as a foundation to help clients heal from the traumas that life can bestow upon us.
I use a “psychodynamic” approach to look into the past to help understand where there might be unconscious influences that can have a detrimental impact on your life in the present. These tend to manifest as difficulties in relationships with others, or a difficult relationship with oneself. This way of working has roots with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. My philosophy is that as we develop, ‘parts’ or ‘sub personalities’ that exist under the umbrella of our consciousness. Learning to identify, understand and love these should bring about a deeper sense of inner peace and contentment. There is a very new form of psychotherapy called “Internal Family Systems” which I find to be incredibly effective to help work with this area.
There are many theories that allude to the “higher self”, all of which I believe point towards the ability to perceive one’s own self, and the ability to do this lies with the prefrontal cortex. “Polyvagal theory” underpins my understanding of neuroscience and is a vital tool when working with trauma. Trauma, especially repeated trauma like abuse, teaches our brains to be on high alert and will trigger the sympathetic nervous system in any instance that seems threatening. This can happen even when there is no real danger and learning to understand this can change how the body responds to perceived threat can be very freeing. Learning to relax the body through ‘soothing’ oneself is important to help regulate the body, mind and emotions. I have many tools at my disposal to help this to happen, which include breathing exercises, guided visualisations, developing awareness of triggers and more.
I believe that the thinking mind can easily become confused and believe it is necessary to work with it directly some times. To do this I use aspects from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Some clients prefer to work this way and it can be a very useful tool.
Someone very wise once said:
“You can’t fix a problem using the same kind of thinking that created it in the first place”
Often we need new insights and feedback in order to develop a new frame of reference upon our views of both the world and ourselves, especially if we have lacked positive parental or caregiver relationships.
Regardless of theoretical approach, I believe the relationship between counsellor and client is the constant that exists in all forms of therapy and ties in my varying philosophical approaches. The relationship comprises of ethical considerations and boundary holding, which respect the balance between client and counsellor. As well as providing a reparative space which helps to show a new way of existing within a relationship that heals and supports the individual. I always seek genuine and authentic connection with my clients, even if this can be challenging at times. Sometimes it is on the edge of feeling comfortable that the most useful work can happen.
Some methods I may use are:
Guided Imagery / Meditation / Body Awareness / Breath Work / Inner Child Healing / Developing the imagination and intuition / Creative Art Work. This approach can help you to value your true worth, to find a connection to something bigger than yourself.
It's worth noting that I will not use all of these approaches with each client. I will use what feels appropriate and most useful. Any kind of exercise or activity is strictly by invitation only - you will never have to do anything you dont want to.
Here are some of the tools I sometimes use in creative work... Who ever said therapy couldn't be fun =)
Training and Qualifications
2021 - Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Integrative Counselling. University of Worcester
2017 - Post Qualifying Diploma in Creative Arts Therapy. The Iron Mill Institute, Exeter.
2015 - Certificate in Counselling Couples/Relationships. Exeter & East Devon Counselling Training.
2014 - Qualified as a Thrive Practitioner. Babcock International.
2013 - Advanced Diploma in Intergrative Counselling. The Iron Mill Institute, Exeter.
2008 - Counselling Studies Level 3. North Cornwall Adult Aducation.
I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (MBACP - Accred)) and abide by their code of ethics. My membership number is 716535.