The fact that you are reading this suggests to me that you are wondering about the possibility of seeing a therapist.
You may, however, be rather wary.
After all the classic description of a therapist is that they are “shrinks”, which immediately suggests they’re going to repress you, make you smaller somehow by manipulating you into fitting in to somebody else’s idea of what’s normal.
You might be feeling ashamed of the fact that you aren’t managing and need help: you find yourself hiding away, reluctant to meet up with other people, feeling so depressed, perhaps, that thoughts of killing yourself aren’t that far away.
You might find yourself getting angry a lot, having arguments with people or even getting into fights.
You may be worrying about the fact that you don’t know where you are going with your life, what your goals are.
Or you might be wondering about your gender identity or your sexuality. “Do I feel happy in my body, or do I fantasize about being the opposite gender?”
“I find myself imagining having sex with somebody of the same gender as me. That means I must be queer. Oh horrors.”
You might find yourself feeling like an outsider as a result of having a disability and feeling ashamed about that, particularly if no one talks to you about it and you find it difficult to mention it in conversation with others.
Perhaps you are struggling with your relationship and need a safe place where you and your partner can explore what is going wrong. Couples therapy is what you need, in that case.
It wasn’t that long ago when people in therapy hid that fact as a densely guarded secret. It is getting easier now to admit that you aren’t coping and there is a far greater choice about the kind of help available.
The common perception of therapy is that you will go into a room and find yourself sitting across from someone, who gives nothing away about themselves and remains a distant figure.
It might surprise you to find out that things have changed a great deal since those early days. For a start there are many different forms of therapy across the spectrum, from the classic “talking cure” at one end, to many forms of physical therapy at the other.
Culturally we have often felt that it’s not ok to open up about how we’re feeling. “Pull yourself together”, “Shape up”, etc. imply that we’re being a bit of a wimp if we acknowledge that we’re not managing.
But having someone to talk to, who has no connection with the rest of your life, can be very freeing, particularly since you will discover that who and what you are is ok, just as you are.
Being accepted non-judgmentally by someone enables you to open up safely, so that you can explore your fears and anxieties without being rejected. The process enables you to understand better how you have ended up where you are today and that this experience of unravelling the survival knot enables you to let go of your fears and inhibitions, so that you can move forward with hope and curiosity, and make decisions about your life where previously you have felt stuck, always in the knowledge that you have someone, who understands you and is on your side.
You will be able to imagine a future, where things are very different and in the process work out what you need to do differently in order to get there.
If you are looking for individual therapy, I offer 50 minute sessions which usually take place in person in my therapy room. Alternatively I am also happy to see you via Face Time, Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp and also via telephone.
This means that if you are unable to get to me in person, we can still work together and I find this way of working can be very powerful. Sessions are usually once a week, but can be up to three sessions a week, if that feels necessary.
I might invite you to draw or paint, since I have found that this unlocks the unconscious and enables you to understand aspects of your life that previously have felt incomprehensible.
Sharing your dreams, too, can convey valuable insights into your unconscious and help you to make connections, where previously there were none.
Couples therapy takes place in my therapy room and usually last about three hours per session, on a weekly basis. It might be that one or other of you has had an affair and this has led to a breakdown in your relationship.
Alternatively you might be feeling that the energy has gone out of your sex life and you need to understand why that has happened.
I explain the guiding principles of our work: the survival adaptations that create disconnection and the invisible connectors that enable us to find our way back together again.
You will learn how to “cross the bridge to each other in your worlds” and, thus understand what has led to the breakdown in your relationship.
I will invite you to imagine your wildest dreams for the relationship and then we will go on a journey together to enable you to find new ways of connecting.
The process enables you to make sense of your difficulties and the reasons you find yourselves where you are right now. You can, therefore, let go of these unhelpful beliefs and behaviours and thus get on with your lives, freely, without being held back and make new decisions as to the direction you want to go in.
Whatever has brought you to seek help, most importantly, perhaps, you will no longer have to manage on your own.