How I work
I would describe my approach as ‘integrative humanistic/psychodynamic’. I also identify strongly with the Person-Centred approach in my work which emphasises the counselling relationship. I am interested in therapeutic writing as a technique and often incorporate this when appropriate and/or other creative ways of working. My decision on the use of a particular creative application may be based upon utilising an existing creative mode of expression the client uses or in identifying an interest, or reawakening, a creative activity. I may also use imagery if/when suitable and I am interested in dreams and the role they can play in self-understanding. Sometimes, I may suggest keeping a dream journal. Mindfulness and Compassion are central to my work with clients and I am particularly interested in the role of acceptance and how this impacts upon positive change. As these ways of working are not suitable for all clients, I may draw upon CBT and Solution Focused techniques in my work with clients.
My areas of interest
Besides working part-time as a Student Counsellor, I have taught at The Centre for Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University since 2010. I have designed courses in ‘Mindfulness in Counselling’ and an ‘Introduction to Counselling and Psychology’. In addition I teach on the counselling skills courses. Currently, I am in the process of developing a course in ‘Creative Counselling’.
I am enthusiastic about the research that has been conducted on the effectiveness of mindfulness based cognitive therapy(MBCT), in the treatment of depression carried out by Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University and the on-going research that is taking place in mindfulness and neuroscience.
I have been developing my interest in mindfulness both professionally and personally, over the last 5 years or so. In addition, I have become increasingly interested in the role of compassion and its relation to mental health. I am particularly interested in the work of Paul Gilbert in the UK and that of Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer in the United States, amongst others.
My background and qualifications
I began my counselling career by undertaking training in Psychodynamic Counselling. This was based upon my interest in the Object Relations School, Transpersonal Psychology and Jungian ideas. My interest in these areas had been awakened by the courses I undertook whilst studying for a degree in Applied Psychology. As part of this, I undertook studies in clinical, developmental and humanistic psychology. Other courses included ‘therapeutic interventions’ and I was fortunate enough to be taught by an influential and prominent lecturer in Shamanic Studies. These courses, together with my personal experience of psychotherapy, were very effective in influencing my decision to pursue psychodynamic and humanistic counselling. I went on to study a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy recognised post-graduate humanistic/psychodynamic counselling diploma at the University of the West of England. More recently, I have gained a diploma in Teaching Mindfulness, Meditation and Relaxation and I am in the process of completing an advanced diploma in Mindfulness Coaching. I have completed a one year certificated course in ‘Compassion Training’ and I possess an adult education teaching certificate.
Prior to embarking upon my counselling training, I spent a good number of years working in mental health settings, including the NHS and voluntary sectors. I have experience of working as a counsellor in an NHS substance misuse clinic and worked as a bereavement counsellor for CRUSE.