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My lifelong curiosity in the human condition, combined with a desire to understand human psychological pain, drew me to train as a counsellor and a psychotherapist in 2010. Terms such as ‘process; and ‘readiness’ were frequently used in that first year of training by trainers and trainees. Actually, their meaning baffled and intrigued me, up to that time I had made sense of my world with my head, feelings (apart from sadness) had been disallowed.


I perceived them in others as messy and threatening and had taught myself a way of living that required little or no reliance on them. Consequently, the first and most exigent phase of becoming a person centred psychotherapist, lay in the integration of my personality. This entailed becoming aware of and thus assimilating those disallowed feelings and concealed characteristics of myself. This process of gaining a solid sense of myself is ongoing and I suspect a life long journey. I received BSc honours degree in counselling and psychotherapy and I am an accredited member of IACP, it has been a challenging but ultimately worthwhile and beneficial experience. During my studies I managed to integrate many views of human functioning and behaviour, psychodynamic humanistic and cognitive.

 

In essence, the fundamental philosophy underpinning my work is that it is easier to individuate from a loving mother/primary caregiver than from a neglectful, unpredictable, unresponsive or abusive one. This conception comes primarily out of my own journey as well as my experience as a therapist, with this in mind the principal task for me is to facilitate individuals and promote the process of full integration of the personality. It is my understanding that this process is only possible when the following components are present and integrated. When I am listening to my client’s experience in a lovingly curious and non-judgemental way using phenomenological enquiry I am achieving the first component of my therapy, which is to make contact (Erskine, 1993). In time the client learns to trust me and this enables truthful self-expression.


In particular, I am literally influenced as I listen, and witness my client’s behaviour, by Mahler’s hypothesis of separation-individuation, Bowlby’s theory of attachment and Kohut’s self-psychology. I find them invaluable in my understanding of the first three years of life. It is during these formative years that the practice of individuation can become frustrated and developmental deficits occur. Again, with a view to constructing as secure a base as possible for my clients, I aspire to create the attitudinal core conditions of unconditional positive regards, empathy, and genuineness as outlined by Carl Rogers (1967). It is my contention that these and the Gestalt recommendations for establishing a dialogic relationship (inclusive, confirmation and presence) ensure the bond between my client and I is built on mutual trust and equality.


Finally, I firmly believe in the value of regular use of supervision. Within this supportive and collegial relationship, I work through any blind spots, assumptions and agendas that may emerge. I also find it an ideal forum for bringing about change in any potentially damaging inclinations that may unduly influence my clients. In short, I view it as a basic ingredient in ethical practitioner for the reasons that it safeguards that welfare of my clients by monitoring my professional practice, enhancing competence and developing my ‘internal supervisor;

In co-operating various approaches to psychotherapy, allows me to be more flexible in terms of tailoring treatment to each unique client. It also enhances my ability to suggest specific therapeutic interventions for each of their identified problems. I am committed to on-going training, workshops and courses with a view to being as competent a psychotherapist as I can be. Ultimately, I have an expectation that positive change will result from my ability to form a relationship of trust with my client, combined with the appropriate use of skills learned and theories and treatment approaches. As a final point, I continue to have the utmost respect for the integrity of those that come to me to seek change.