faq

Creativity

Creative acts can be transformative and creativity can be key to problem solving.

Aside from the obviously “artistic” activities, many of our  moment-by-moment behaviours, choices and responses require creativity, including our defences. As we decide what to do, or how to respond, our subconscious works to keep us safe and avoid things it has learned to fear.  As children we learned through trial, experiences and through play. Those lessons were embedded deep in the psyche and are held in the body. Some of those lessons may now be holding us back, so creative thinking and creative play can help us contact those deeply held beliefs and feelings in a way that rational discussion can sometimes simply cannot access.

It’s not about artistic expression. It’s about engaging more than the cognitive mind and helping the vague notions and out-of-awareness feelings to emerge into consciousness. Exploration allows us to soften the rational grip and makes room for a more open perspectives, it relaxes the rigidity of thinking that may be needed for change to occur.

Sometimes we cannot understand rationally or cognitively, but we still need to find a way to express or explore our thoughts, feelings or actions.

Sometimes clients and I make drawings or diagrams to represent or catch something elusive. We may come back to these scribbles and schema to help us remember the themes and layers of previous sessions. Patterns appear, symbols speak and feelings become more meaningful.

Sometimes we can lay out objects to illustrate tangled relationships or a complex set of feelings. This enables a perspective, or multiple perspectives to be seen, to be layered…. and even to be challenged.

Sometimes we may need to stand tall, curl up, walk around the room or jump up and down. By changing ourselves physically we encourage different psychological perspectives to emerge.

 

I believe that we are all creative, through necessity. In times of distress, crisis or chaos our creativity can be illuminating, freeing, soothing and so helpful.

And of course it can add humour, fun, relief or distraction where needed.

Body Psychotherapy

There are many different schools of Body (Somatic) Psychotherapy, from the Focussing work of Eugene Gendlin to the Sensorimotor school, bringing together the psychoanalytic experience of relational therapy and the discoveries of Neuroscience. There are also psychotherapists working with dance and movement who work with the body to bring about release, to unlock memory and to inform discussion from the unconscious. I draw inspiration from these highly effective approaches and share an interest in the body as a store of non-cognitive knowledge. By this I mean that we learn and remember through our experiences and these stay with us, sometimes out of awareness. But this “knowledge” can still be used. We often find that the body is trying to tell us something but we are resisting hearing it. We can take time to listen – I prefer the word attend as there may not be words or clear messages – and we may find out what is holding us back or causing a problem.

I have also studied how the voice changes and inflects in response to desires, defences and fears held in the body. Posture and body tensions can be observed in a detailed way to help our discussion reach carefully into the psyche. By slowing down and observing somatics I Zenegra find we can bypass some of the verbal knots and complexities that bind us to unhelpful ideas and behaviours.

We all know that worry can make us sick. It shows up in the body. Fear, trauma and loss can also have serious physical effects as can identity issues and low self-esteem. I find working with the body often helps to restore health and build up confidence.

Some body therapists use directive touching such as massage or joint manipulation, but I do not use these techniques. I would enquire and help you to notice and attend. Together we may discover or explore what is happening somatically and emotionally. This helps us to balance between thoughts, feelings and actions – the alternatives might include:

  • getting tied up in circular thoughts
  • obsessing on negative ideas
  • low moods or depressive energy making change impossible
  • fear of change
  • being a victim of a habit despite knowing it is bad
  • repeating patterns of behaviour we regret

My work in Music, Theatre, Dance and many other somatic practices have given me valuable insights and skills. It is a way of working that requires sensitivity and curiosity on the part of therapist and client alike. Compassion for ourselves and our bodies is also important.

The Human Cry workshop

Archive details of free workshops presented as part of Pushing Up Daisies 2019

I use this phrase the human cry to evoke the wordless expression of emotions, through our voices and bodies.

Part 1 (12-2.30) focusses on the voice, it involves discussion and a low level of physical activity. The subject matter may evoke strong feelings and there will be some opportunities to share with others. No-one is required to disclose or reveal anything they do not wish to be known.

Part 2 (3.30-6pm) looks at the body and the body in motion, for those who want to explore this in more expressive ways. They may continue to look further inward and/or to physicalise through movement and vocalising. There will again be opportunities to share with others, though no-one is required to challenge themselves beyond what they feel OK with. As a therapist and workshop leader I am experienced at holding a group and I encourage people to go at their own pace.

I originally developed this workshop to explore how we manifest feelings (especially grief) in the body and the voice. However the same workshop often covers other feelings eg. joy, anger, jealousy, love etc. I use discussion and simple, reflective exercises to guide participants through body observations and safely witness their own somatic feelings – feelings held in the body and observable in the voice and the body. By doing this in a group we share our common experiences and hear a rich variety of views. I encourage safe sharing and supportive observation.

Many aspects of grief are natural, but unresolved feelings can inhabit the body in an unhealthy way. In some cases they can make us ill, angry or depressed. They may even inhibit our grief and block opportunities to share these meaningful moments with others. We may have multiple or conflicting feelings which need to be respected.

Family fallouts are common after a loss and sometimes last for decades as unresolved grief may cement grievances into hard, intractable resentments.

This work aims to develop compassion for our own complicated emotions.

This work aims to bring lightness and ease of expression or communication.

I offer an enjoyable exploration of your own voice. This is not a singing workshop and I take care not to put anyone in a situation they will find uncomfortable, even if what we may express is difficult or painful. This is not therapy but it does require some self examination. I hope it may prove helpful or valuable in your own expressive life and self-development.

What lies behind our words of grief? When words are not enough or even possible…. the body finds a way to communicate our pain, or if it cannot, where does it go?

Like a face, etched with the history of its life,so  the voice is our personal instrument, developed over the history of its use. From the first cries for breath, it’s timbre is honed by daily use, in conversation, conflict and restraint. That which is hard to express may be felt in the body and heard in the voice. Its rises and falls often say more than the words alone. 

This workshop was recently presented at the Cumbrian Conference of Transactional Analysis

To find this and lots of wonderful sessions see the Pushing up Daisies website by clicking here.

Psychodrama

Psychodrama is a form of therapy using action alongside or instead of talking. It uses dramatisation in a broad sense, including role play, visualisation and action, to explore issues, ideas, conflicts, relationships, history, dreams, fantasies…. and work with them.

This could include:

  • Roleplay, such as rehearsing a difficult conversation with a boss, colleague or family member.
  • In order to separate confusing inner voices we might choose an object to represent each one – then ask direct questions of the object. The client provides the answers but this technique helps them to clearly define them. In this way a client may have a constructive conversation with conflicting parts of their self.
  • Asking someone else to represent a family member so you can dialogue with them.
  • Re-imagining past events from multiple perspectives. Recreations can illuminate the past and provide fresh perspective.

Or it could be a more complex work which helps to explore an issue by dramatising aspects of it or by reimagining it as you might want it to be. This allows for reflection, contemplation, insight and an experiential view.

These techniques are very effective for working through complicated or frightening issues, for coming to terms with changes or getting a different perspective. They also have the advantage of accessing embodied memory or deep subconcious levels of knowledge. It’s not as scary as it sounds, it can be even be playful and joyous.

Psychodrama was developed by Jacob L Moreno in the early 1900’s and is considered by many to be the genesis of group therapy and many commonly used therapy techniques.

I have a 1 year certificate in action methods awarded by the Northern School of Psychodrama.

Learn more at BPA or The Northern School.

Therapy or counselling

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Opinions differ but I feel like therapy and counselling often overlap and I find in my work that I do both.

I understand counselling as essentially a listening process, through which people gain perspective, find a voice and share their experiences without judgement or criticism. This process can be illuminating, empowering or cathartic. Sometimes sharing your story is a first step toward changing the narrative.

In therapy the client works towards a process of change. This may involve explorations and insights, it may involve discoveries and challenges. But the process should be held safely by the therapist and the direction or purpose of change should be agreed and understood by the client, usually through an agreed contract.

In simple terms, counselling tends to be shorter, often focussed on one particular issue, whereas therapy may take longer and be more open to exploration.

Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not sure. The first session is a good time to ask questions.

Diversity and access

I welcome clients of any gender, race, ethnic background, sexuality or social class and understand that there may be issues specific to ones background that may require sensitivity to your experience. I have worked in many countries and have wide interests in other cultures. I also have many years experience of working with people with learning disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, to help them to express themselves and to take control of their life choices.

I aim to support diverse beliefs or lifestyles and would like, where possible, to support people from challenging backgrounds to assert their rights and achieve their goals.

I also can offer a limited number of clients a reduced price or variable fee to support those with limited means of income. Please feel free to ask.

Parents and carers can also benefit from counselling or therapy with someone who understands these pressures and stresses.

(I work from Todmorden – not currently wheelchair accessible) and Hebden Bridge (wheelchair accessible).

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Fees and discounts

I charge £40 per session in 2018.

Concessions and reductions are possible by agreement. Feel free to ask.

A session is about 50 minutes, but not more than an hour.

I ask that a client pay one session in advance.  Excepting emergencies, 48 hours notice is required to cancel an arranged session. Clients are charged for sessions that they fail to attend or cancel without sufficient notice.

For information on the cost of my workshops please use the enquiry form and give a brief outline of your organisation or event.

Common reasons for coming to therapy

There are some common issues that bring people to therapy, although each person will have a different experience of them and will need to find a different way to address them. This list is intended to point out that you might not be alone in feeling the way you do.

Anxiety

Social stress, coping with work, family, big life changes, losses or fears. We all feel anxiety some of the time, but when it interferes with decision making and stops us being natural, spontaneous, brave or effective, then we may need some help defusing the tension and thinking clearly.

Anxiety can also cause terrible physical symptoms that medication fails to relieve. In many cases therapy can provide long term relief.

Autonomy

Is something holding you back, stopping you doing what you want to do, or being who you want to be? Often we feel restricted, repressed or disempowered, without really knowing why. Therapy can help us to clarify or reconnect with our core aims, beliefs and desires, to become the person we want to be.

Identity (including eating and body-related issues)

How we feel about ourselves and how we think others see us, are core questions for all of us which can be hard to deal with alone. A compassionate examination can provide greater resilience for positive changes.

Bereavement and Loss

Losing a loved one can be devastating and may cause disorientation and distress for long periods of time. Bereavement can unravel long-held ties and set off big changes in families. However loss can be worked through, to a point where the sadness is accepted and the person you love can be held with you as a positive part of your future and growth.

Also, redundancy, divorce, losing mobility, function or capacities,  … these are all losses which can undermine our sense of self and can leave us feeling lost.

Relationships

At work, with the family, friends… many relationships fail or present problems due to communication difficulties – hidden agendas, lack of trust, feeling bullied or undermined. These are common feelings in relationships which can be addressed and improved through therapy.

Love

Romantic relationships present their own problems and often leave people feeling unloveable, unwanted or lonely. The patterns and beliefs behind these problems are often relatively straiforward to address.

Transactional Analysis

TA is a popular form of talking therapy devised by Dr. Eric Berne, initially as a way to work with people suffering severe disturbance. He then went on to make it into an accessible system for exploring and understanding personality and how people relate to each other. TA is commonly used in individual or group therapy, working with children or whole schools, in couples counselling and a variety of settings. A key feature for many TA therapists is that they are able to share their method with their clients (if they wish), who then has the same tools to support them in everyday life. Often appreciated for it’s clarity and flexibility it forms deeper understanding of the self. As a solid base for me it allows freedom to add other techniques and approaches too.

It is a humanistic and compassionate theory that supports people to improve their relationships, their work life and or their personal anxieties and neuroses. I have also used it to explore childhood issues, loss, love and sex.

See basic concepts