What is Counselling?

Many of our difficulties develop as a result of experiences in our earliest relationships, the way we feel about them and what we do with these feelings. When relationships have been insecure, abandoning or dangerous we may feel alone, unsure or frightened. Often we repress difficult feelings simply to get by in life. In Counselling you can articulate and express these feelings sometimes for the first time.

Counselling is generally considered a relatively short-term option where a specific problem may be looked at over a period of a few weeks or a few months. This might be a problem at work, an unexpected response to crisis, a one off relationship difficulty or a recent bereavement.

What is Psychotherapy?

Good enough relationships with our earliest caregivers are crucial to human growth and development throughout life. When these relationships were not safe, secure and supportive we may feel ill at ease with ourselves, others and life. Psychotherapy provides a secure environment and an opportunity to look at what might have been buried and never acknowledged. It offers you the possibility of making sense of unsuccessful behaviours patterns, such as sleeping problems, unhappy relationships, addictions, eating disorders, or a sense of meaningless in life.

Psychotherapy is a longer term-option with the intention of making sense of chronic difficulties such as mood swings and anxious feelings, destructive relationship patterns, drug and alcohol misuse or problems with food. In psychotherapy you work with your psychotherapist to reflect on your past and present relationships and work through your emotional distress. This makes it possible to become more aware of the anxieties and conflicts underlying your emotions and your actions; and to look more clearly and productively at yourself and your relationships with others.

Psychotherapy is sometimes known as the ‘talking cure’. Through talking it aims to help you understand your feelings and how you think about yourself, others and your life. Psychotherapy is not about the psychotherapist giving advice but, through getting to know you, helping you work out how you might want things to be different and to create that change. Another way of looking at is to see therapy as a journey, which you undertake jointly with your therapist. The journey is yours; the therapist is your witness and companion. What emerges on this path depends on your life history and your willingness to make sense of it all.

Psychotherapy can help a wide range of emotional difficulties that affect adults including: depression, concerns about your capacity to parent, bereavement, eating problems, phobias and obsessions, self-harm, addictions, anxiety, abuse or trauma, identity confusion, relationship breakdown and feeling lonely and abandoned.

What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

This approach is sometimes also called psychodynamic psychotherapy. It assumes that painful experiences and relationships from the past affect the way we think and behave in the present. This can happen even if the link between past and present is not obvious. A traumatic experience that has happened at some point in your life might have left you feeling overwhelmed. Also a climate of emotional or physical neglect will shape your feelings about yourself and others now.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is an ongoing process. It offers you a secure and confidential relationship with your psychotherapist in which you can come to a better understanding of yourself; a space in which you can explore yourself and the meaning of your symptoms and feelings. A therapy session is not an everyday conversation. It is a private space where you can talk openly about yourself. This is not always easy; it can take time to develop enough trust in the relationship to feel safe.

You may decide that Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is for you if one or more of the following apply: you feel unhappy and depressed, anxious or confused, you cannot bond with your baby, you find it hard to make or keep satisfying relationships, you cannot make sense of your life, you suffer from physical problems for which there is no medical explanation, but which may be an expression of emotional pain.


What happens in a Psychotherapy session?

The aim of psychotherapy is to enable you to share important experiences of your life. When you talk about feelings and thoughts, which you have not been able to express before this can bring a sense of relief. Knowing that you will have a regular, confidential and safe space can ease the sense of being on your own and help you to develop the capacity to create change in your life.

In an initial consultation you can talk about the issues that concern you and ask any questions that you may have about psychotherapy. You will then be able to consider what would be an appropriate course to follow and decide if psychotherapy is the right course of action for you at this point in your life. Fees are discussed and agreed on. Therapy usually takes place once a week (sometimes twice a week) at agreed times and on a regular basis. The content of the sessions is confidential unless there is concern that you may harm yourself or others. Sessions are generally held at the same time each week and last fifty minutes.

What happens in a Baby Watching group?

We meet in a small group of parents and babies for 6 weekly one-hour sessions and pay special attention to how babies communicate; we wonder about your baby’s initiatives, what they may mean, reflect together on new ways of interacting with your baby, and about your experience of becoming a parent. Sessions involve filming you and your baby for 5-10 minutes and looking at best moments in the following session. This allows you to learn more about your baby and about yourself as a parent. You will receive a copy of the best moments as a memory.

Before the start of the group all parents have an initial meeting with the group facilitator to talk about their journey of becoming a parent to your baby, and to decide if this group is suitable for you.

What is Postnatal Depression?

Post natal depression is one of the names used for the mood changes that a woman may experience after childbirth. They start within the first year and last for more than two weeks, or are very severe, and have a significant negative effect on your life. This is different to ‘baby blues’, when you may feel down or weepy in the first few days after childbirth. It is estimated that 20 – 30 % of all childbearing women suffer some form of emotional problem after the birth of their baby.

Symptoms include feeling tearful or irritable, not being able to sleep or feeling numb; you may neglect yourself or experience guilt for not enjoying your baby. There can be many reasons for postnatal depression, a disappointing birth, high expectations, prior depression, ghosts from your past, such as an unresolved bereavement, a recent house move, social isolation to name just a few.

What helps is to find support groups, exercise, eat well, try baby massage, reduce your expectations; find someone to talk to a neighbour, health visitor, or counsellor; some women benefit from medication, which has to be adjusted if you are breastfeeding. If you have postnatal depression it is unlikely to go away by itself, so seek help.


What is Parent – Infant Psychotherapy?

After the birth a woman has to make a radical physical and emotional transition. Fathers also may find the adjustment to becoming a parent more challenging than they had anticipated. If you have been neglected or just not loved enough as a baby you may find it hard to bond and enjoy your baby.

Parent – infant counselling is based on the knowledge that the first few months and years in a parent and baby relationship are very important for the wellbeing of both parent and baby later on in life. Research confirms that parents and babies benefited from meeting with older women, who are friendly, accepting and trained to listen to parents and babies. The purpose of parent – infant psychotherapy is that you are supported in changing unhelpful ways of being together. This approach can take time. However by talking about what bothers you with someone, you may be able to think about yourself and your baby in a new light. Often even a few sessions can make a difference.

What is Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)?

This is a method, which uses video recordings of interaction between parents and babies (and older children) with the emphasis on better than usual communication. Looking at what works well for you and your baby (or older child) and partner can help you to understand each other better and build stronger relationships.

It takes place in your home, or in my practice. During the first appointment we discuss what you would like to be different, what difficulties you are experiencing and whether VIG would be able to help. We agree on a situation to film, such as holding your baby, feeding, playing or having a chat. The filming is no longer than 10 minutes. Before our next meeting I will edit the film to show you the best moments. We jointly reflect on the selected video clips. Reflecting on your strengths will help you make changes to your communication style and think of how to apply those changes to other situations. By the end of our work together you take home a copy of the best video clips. For more information please visit BabiesFirst

What is Holistic Birth Preparation?

Pregnancy is a finite time. Making the most of it, coping with the ups and downs, the challenges and joys, is all part of your growth into becoming a parent to your baby.

In Holistic Birth Preparation you are supported to pay attention to the changes in your body and in your mind. You are given information about the main processes involved in birth and the reasons for often unfamiliar sensations. This will help you tolerate them, to find the right way of asking for support and to make choices about your birth environment. You will be encouraged to take time out to observe your body, to practice breathing and relaxation. We talk about feelings, hopes and fears, what it is like to become a parent and how best to communicate about these issues with your partner.

You can attend sessions on your own, with your partner or with your birth supporter.


What are the benefits of Baby Massage?

In baby massage and baby chatting sessions you are encouraged to experiment holding your baby in different ways. You are taught basic massage strokes, play predictable games, using nursery rhymes and sing lullabies to sooth your baby. You chat with baby and about baby.

Research has shown that massaged infants were first more alert, cried less and their sleep was enhanced. They gained more weight, appeared less stressed, were more easy to soothe and more interactive and sociable. Research says that massage is relaxing not only for the person receiving, but also for the person giving it.

Baby massage helps you become more sensitive towards your baby, and to have fun together. As your confidence increases you will become more spontaneous in your interactions with your baby and you will strengthen the bond between you.