She also has an interest in working with men and women who have had difficulties in their attachment relationships – with mothers, fathers and other caregivers, and which continue to be problematical in their adult lives. She is passionate about assisting clients to find their own voice and to bring about understanding and change to their issues.
My early working years were in the teaching field, however, it was during my work as a probation officer I became more interested in what was really happening with people.
People come to therapy with differing histories and issues to be worked on. These almost always have arisen in some way in a relationship – abuse, neglect, grief and trauma etc. It makes sense that to understand and repair these issues in therapy a particular kind of relatedness is necessary. Therefore, my first task is to focus on the therapeutic relationship, selecting the right approach, fitting in with individual needs and creating safety. It is powerful work as it gradually begins to lift self-esteem and self-worth and allows the true self to emerge little by little.
In therapy, the establishment of self is a bit like building a foundation, ready for other work to follow. There is a sense of being able to face working on more challenging, underlying issues, recognising behaviours, expressing feelings and noticing and understanding recurring themes etc.
I have a particular interest in how we are affected by the way we have been related to by significant people in our lives – family members, caregivers and others. I continue to be struck by the far-reaching damage and traumatic nature of some interactions, which can give rise to negative judgements about the self, and problems relating to others. It is often hard to talk about. For instance, when you have been repeatedly put down, ignored or criticised others often don’t understand what this is like and dismiss it as nothing. This can create confusion and doubt about what really happened, and reinforces the need to keep quiet. And so the cycle is repeated.
My main mode of practice, the Conversational Model, is a constantly evolving psychodynamic therapy. It incorporates the latest findings from research in a wide range of relevant areas, including research about the effectiveness of the Conversational Model itself.