Some people can feel a sense of relief to receive a diagnosis from a medical professional.
For others, a 'label' can be difficult to process and accept.
We are respectful of every individual because we are all unique.
We work with the 'person' opposed to the label.
My commitment is for me and the team to work with you and our method and approach be tailored to meet your hopes and goals for therapy.
Take a look behind the doors to see some of the difficulties that we can manage together.
"Claire continues to be instrumental in my CFS journey to recovery."
"My self-esteem was rock bottom when I started counselling. With Claire, it is starting to improve and I am happy with my progress so far. Watch this space!"
"I have been seeing Claire for over twelve months and I have only self-harmed once in that period."
"I am certain of who I am and Claire is always encouraging and accepting of me. It has been amazing to have a space just to be me."
The Journey from Child to Adult
As a single mother of two boys aged 16 and 12, I am mindfully aware of the difficulties that young people face today. It can often be hard to keep up with the strains of education, friendships and home life. Social Media can be the best thing and yet the worst thing for some young people. Perhaps it just sucks or feels 'peak' being a teenager for lots of different reasons. Talking to family and friends can feel very supportive although sometimes this doesn't feel enough. Therapy with me could be beneficial to explore your feelings and I can offer you a safe and confidential space to talk openly and freely.
Counselling for Adolescents & Young People
I have worked alongside many young people aged 15+ when life has become too difficult for them to manage alone even, with a great support network. My place is your safe place where we can join together to explore the things that feel difficult for you. I use a variety of tools when I work with young people. If you are a visual person, we can unpick things with the help of my trusty whiteboard and bright markers or we can use my therapeutic card deck if you don't know where to start. Perhaps you just need a safe place, without judgement, to be yourself to share and talk through your struggles which is also fine. Sometimes people use my space as a bin! I can work therapeutically with you in a way that feels right for you. The counselling process can promote healing, new visions and greater self-esteem. I am here for you.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The exact causes of ADHD are not known although it is believed that there are increased chances of some people experiencing the disorder. It could be genetic, biological, psychosocial or dietry factors. Whether we know the causes or not, ADHD can be a gift for some and for others a lifetime of struggling. It can wreak havoc in an individual's daily life making sleeping difficult and organisation almost impossible. Listening, communicating and following instructions are often very ardous tasks. ADHD causes universal problems with concentrating for a long period of time. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood." (NIMH, 2019).
In The Counselling Space
I can support clients who suffer from ADHD by sharing my vast and varied personal and professional experience of the condition. The theraputic work done together can take on many different forms to ensure that you get the most from the counselling process. If attention and retention of information is difficult, we can create and use visual session maps for easier reflection. I can work alongside you to address Hyperfocus which may be causing difficulties in your daily life and in the completion of mundane tasks. Perhaps you have had a late diagnosis and are struggling with this. Together we can create personal coping strategies in a person-centred way making them tailored just for you. The therapeutic journey could lead to brighter days where the condition feels more like a gift than a curse.
The Runaway Steam Train
Feeling anxious or on a high alert for danger can be very distressing and overhelming. Anxiety could be described a state of tension and vulnerability. I use the metaphor of a runaway steam train because some clients describe anxiety as a continual feeling which can get bigger and bigger for no rational reason. Although anxiety can be distinguished from fear, physical symtoms seem to mirror our fight or flight response. Anxiety can feel like a chaotic and meaningless nature of the universe (Tudor & Merry, 2002). Everyday life stress can often hold hands with anxiety. Medication is useful for some and not for others. If anxiety has taken hold of your life or is causing frequent panic attacks then it may be good to speak to your GP and engage with a counsellor to manage the symptoms and find new ways to become the driver of your internal steam train.
I can share with you that I have suffered with anxiety on and off since the age of fifteen. Whilst everyone experiences anxiety differently, clients often describe their feelings and symptoms in a way that resonates with me deeply. I am not sure that there is a cure for anxiety, however, the therapeutic process of counselling can help quieten the anxious noise, working together to find the root causes. I guess once you know what is causing your distress, you have more power to make changes. I can come on your journey to help you find some answers and resolutions.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME)
CFS/ME can become an identity for some people which feels very sad. CFS/ME is a life-long illness and has the potential to completely destroy a person's life and dreams. There is no cure for the illness although most clinicians place emphasis on diet and graded activity when patients are out of their 'crash' stage which is often completely debilitating and requires continual rest. The extreme low points of living with the illness can lead to depression and loss of hope. CFS/ME can steal your identity and almost runaway with it. I have worked with many sufferers in the counselling space. I know CFS/ME to be real and understand the devastating impacts that it can cause.
My Empathic Approach
I am here for anyone who needs a theraputic companion to work through the effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It may be that you are trying to rebuild some of your life and don't really know where to start or you could be craving a non-judgemental and safe environment to explore how the illness has changed and shaped your life. Telephone sessions can be arranged if you are too unwell to attend face to face sessions. My person-centred approach enables clients to engage in a rich counselling experience at a bespoke pace.
Sometimes loved ones don't see eye to eye with eachother to a point where their relationship is affected. Arguments and disagreements can take over every day life and can also spill over into other areas of life such as work, family life and friendships. When couples become 'stuck', a resolve can seem almost impossible. A viscious cycle can develop and implode on a once happy relationship. There is help out there when you both feel ready to take the first step towards happier times.
My Trusted & Recommended Practitioner
Carolyn has vast and varied experience of couples counelling. She has worked in London for many years as a couples practitioner for Relate. Please click on the link to learn more about how Carolyn can help and then feel welcome to use the contact tab at the bottom of her page.
'Depression' seems to be the most used word to describe human distress in the 21st century (Hill & Sanders, 2014). The World Health Organization describe depression as The Black Dog. In their depiction of depression, the black dog takes over a person's life in an extreme way which is often how depression feels. Everyone can feel sad from time to time, however, these 'blues' are not depression. Depression lasts for at least two weeks and can affect behaviour, mood, physical health and can have devastating effects on our internal self-worth and our emotions and feelings system. Depression at its worst can debilitate a person and render them unable to see the possibility of hope and happiness.
Taming The Black Dog
The NHS now offer Counselling for Depression (CfD). CfD is founded in the person-centred approach. As a person-centred practitioner, I am able to integrate some of the components of CfD. I am also able to be alongside you during your sessions to thoroughly explore what is causing and contributing to your depressive thoughts and feelings. Together, we can begin to discuss how depression has affected you and your life, working with self-compassion and self-acceptance as we go. The counselling journey can be healing and life changing with great emphasis placed on the trust between therapist and client. I can be your therapeutic companion.
The Grieving Process
Grief and loss are universal. Both arise from many different experiences such as bereavement, divorce and separation or loss of employment. Any life changing event can be distressing and upsetting. Grief has no expiry date and causes severe pain for those suffering. There are seven stages of grief. Each one takes on a different stance and each can be experienced combined or alone at different times, in different situations with different emotions attached. It is almost impossible to blank or avoid grief; it has no bounds. Grief counselling offers a safe place to explore feelings and emotions to help make sense of the grieving process.
Losing a loved one leaves us feeling empty, heartbroken and lost. The struggle to make sense of deep loss is lonely and confusing. Bereavement counselling provides support, in a safe and personal way, giving space and time to mourn and to explore and understand the feelings and emotions that have surfaced. The first step is often the most difficult yet the most empowering. Your initial session is without charge to provide an opportunity and the time for you to explore if counselling might be the step you would like to take.
A Beautiful Community
I believe in a fair and equal society where people are proud to be who they are, irrelevant of ethnicity, sexuality, gender and anything else in between. I once had cognitive behaviuoral therapy (CBT) in my younger years because I felt self-conscious about my appearance; especially my bottom. I learnt a lifetime value - YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. In my profession as a qualified counsellor, I have experienced clients who face heartbreaking waiting times to be heard by a therapist specialising in gender. This can be painful and soul destroying for those who feel trapped inside the wrong body. I am also aware of the historic stigma which tortures the self-esteem of those who long to show the world who they are. Difference and diversity are the colours of life!
WE ARE WHO WE ARE
I strive to give all of my clients the best possible counselling experience. All you need to bring is yourself even if you are not revealing your true-self to the rest of the world just yet. I can bridge the gap of waiting lists and provide support and empathy for your life story. Perhaps you would find it helpful to be in a safe and non-judgemental environment to explore how being 'you' affects you in certain areas of your life. My place is your space.
PS Yes, you are.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, most commonly known as PTSD affects the individual and their life. The symptoms of PTSD can follow quickly after a traumatic event or appear years later. Whenever the trauma becomes relived is irrelevant to the horror it can bring to the sufferer. People can experience flashbacks when they are awake and nightmares when the are asleep as though there is no escape. Sometimes a traumatic event occurs and it is simply too large or too difficult to process. Unprocessed trauma prevents the event becoming a memory. Instead it remains a current problem and at the forefront of the mind. Life can become scary on many different levels.
Treating Traumatic Memories
Our minds are like factories and the job description states that there is an obligation: to process life events in order for them to become memories. Usually, the factory is well manned, however, traumatic events can shut our mind factory down instantly or over time. As a therapist, I hope to help to restore your factory settings by drawing on my person-centred approach and philosophy to explore your trauma in a safe way, at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Together we can process the trauma you are reliving by working through it with a date stamping process in mind. Restoring the factory can greatly reduce distress and suffering in the long-term.
The Success & The Struggles
Relationships with others are central to our everyday life and well-being. Not all relationships last forever whether it be a friendship, a romantic relationship or a parental connection. These relationships can bring great joy, although in some cases they can prove tricky leading to feelings of uncertainty. This uncertainty can progress into many different emotions such as dislike, annoyance, disassociation or even separation from the relationship with another person. There is sadness and pain when we face problems with our relationships and sometimes we can't find a solution or resolution on our own. The good times are great but the bad times can feel dire.
Creating & Maintaining Healthy Relationships
If you are struggling to make sense of a personal relationship, it may be useful to share your concerns, disappointments, disagreements or hurt with a neutral person. I can offer to be alongside you in your quest to distinguish which relationships are right for you and which ones are causing you feelings of discomfort. We can untangle the discomfort by working together in the hope that you can make healthy relationship choices of your own.
A Fragile Concept
Self-esteem can be easily damaged. Sometimes the blame lies with others and sometimes we carry a baseball bat in our back pocket ready to beat ourselves. Negative beliefs are dangerous and can diminsh self-esteem in the blink of an eye. Living a life of feeling unworthy can be painful and exhausting. Masking insecurities is useful for a time until the mask becomes worn, tired and unable to stay in place for very long. Self-worth and self-esteem reside in our 'self-concept'. It is essentially the observation and experience of one’s own “sensory and visceral experiences” (Rogers, 1951, p.g. 76). In other words, our soul evaluation and self-validation lives inside us and is there to be enhanced even though, at times, we, and others berate it.
A Self-Esteem Alliance
Self-esteem and self-worth are both equal in my heart as a person and as a practitioner. To undervalue either or both is detrimental to our lives. These values can be shattered through no fault of our own and often we can see the fragments but still feel unable to gather them together. To begin, I can help you gather your shattered fragments to bring them back together. Between us and through the therapeutic process, we can explore ways to keep your self-esteem and self-worth in tact without relying on Superglue.
A Variety of Pain
Some people associate the term 'self-harm' with razors and blood. As a qualified therapist, I am able to see that self-harm takes on many different forms. Self-harm can be anything and everything to those people who find it difficult to express and share their negative emotions and feelings. Some of my clients describe self-harming as a 'release'. In its different forms, self-harm conflicts our built-in instinct to protect ourselves at any cost. When life feels very tough, it is hard to remember or appreciate our internal protection system.
The Healing Processes is Yours
When working with clients who self-harm, my primary concern is their well-being and health. Shame and guilt associated with the act of self-harm can be as detrimental as the physical harm caused to the self. When any form of self-harm is openly disclosed and honest in the counselling space, be it cutting, control of food intake or being in an abusive relationship, it becomes a trusted subject and an exploration together. To share is to 'release' too. The counselling space with me could be the first step to understanding your internal pain to help minimise the physical and emotional torment.