Working with me
I offer Person-Centred therapy guided by the body’s ‘felt sense’ intelligence and a very effective Neuroscientific Brainspotting approach.
I work in a holistic way using the relationship as our foundation and incorporating mindfulness, neuroscience and each individuals unique resources as well as their family and cultural context. You can learn more about me here.
About my work
In our therapy sessions, we will use the ‘relationship‘ to heal and foster a safe space to understand yourself. There are many names for this but the key ingredients I offer are;
- Resonant reflection (mirroring back what you say to check I understand you well)
- Following your pace and perception of the world
- Commitment that you have the capacity to heal even if you don’t (and especially when) you don’t have that yourself
When working on the relationship, we can draw upon many sources of inspiration, including:
- Felt sense
- Relationship building
- Language, metaphor, poetry, song
- Whakapapa – Geneology/lineage & ancestors
- Your own knowledge and skills to make healing steps
- Whanaungatanga – active relationship building
Is this suitable for me?
Person-centered therapy is suitable for anyone, particularly people looking for an effective, personal, warm, safe way of working. While the details of your unique situation and preferences lead our work the most important factor in deciding if this is for you is if you feel interested in working in this way. Send a message or give me a call and to see if you think work is suitable.
Why work with a felt sense?
Much of our story happened to us as children, too early to remember when we were very young and preverbal. Working with language will never get us the whole way. In our sessions, there is no need to retell stories you feel uncomfortable with, whether they are simply private, you have told them before and do not wish to retell them.
Each thought and feeling we have is stored in the body and accessible there. Working with felt sensations allows us to process these thoughts and feelings without reliving them, making disassociation less likely, more manageable and therefore re-traumatisation less of a problem.
The work we do with the body will have an immediate effect on helping you manage symptoms of trauma as you will be able to understand them differently and through experiential work they way trauma is held in the body changes. Change happens when we use the body, not simply retelling the same stuck difficulty.
Indigenous/Non-western traditions see the mind/body/spirit as interconnected and linked, in this work we assume that to be true.
What is Person-Centred Therapy and Focusing?
At the heart of the therapy, I offer is Carl Roger’s Person-Centred Therapeutic way of being. I will listen to you and reflect back what seem to be the most important words, feelings and images, you will be encouraged to help me ‘reflect back’ more accurately your experience. Together we will work to understand what it is at the edge of your experience which is connected to your difficulties.
We will work together to uncover what lies just out of sight and hold it at the right distance so all of it is less overwhelming. In Person-Centred Therapy it is understood that the client is the expert, no-one knows you as well as you know yourself, my role is that of a guide, helper, assistant, a midwife to your process. The relationship we build is the healing ingredient, as often in the past relationships have been the source of difficulties. In the therapeutic relationship, we can work to understand each other as completely as possible, just as we seek to understand the parts of ourselves and how our experiences fit together.
As a Focusing-Oriented Therapist, I use my own ‘felt sense’ and will help you to use yours to reflect not just on your feelings, but how your body experiences your feelings. Maybe your anxiety is accompanied by a twist in your stomach, your depression with a heaviness around the shoulders, grief with a pain in the heart, your lack of ease with a shaky feeling in the background. The bodies ‘felt sense’ provides us with an avenue which takes us beyond the familiar stories which go round and round our heads and to a new fluid place, ever-changing and full of surprise.
What is Trauma & PTSD?
Neurobiology and polyvagal theory demonstrates why our relationship to our body and felt sense is often so useful, we can use our body to experience trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD, learn to ground ourselves out of flight/fright/fawn/freeze, understand PTSD as Post Traumatic Stress Response and understand our triggers and in doing so uncover new patterns of behaviour. Once we know that our bodily response of anxiety, withdrawal, depression, addiction and so on are the result of our best efforts to help ourselves, however misguided, we can offer ourselves compassion, transforming the way we relate to the ongoing repercussions of traumatic experiences and historical legacy of systemic trauma, without ever excusing them.
For me individual therapeutic processes spill beyond the two people in a room as I believe we are all connected to each other and universal consciousness is always present. Ecotherapy, spirituality, belief systems and indigenous perspectives offers avenues beyond the scope of areas commonly associated with western individualistic therapy but consistent with the later work of Rogers and Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit which in Canada has been applied to healing with First Nations peoples for decades.
How can Spirituality and Beliefs relate to Healing?
Transpersonal therapy, Buddhist Psychology, Indigenous and Ancestral work and many more as these experiences defy terms and boundaries. There is no need to have (or indeed not have) any spiritual or religious belief to do this work. Still, many people who believe they can change have some also believe in processes larger, ‘Higher Powers’ ‘Greater than me’ ‘Bigger than This’ or ‘Groundings’ which are a way of connecting to land, nature, relationships and Papatūānuku. There is in my work an invitation to use the body, karakia, nature, non-human persons and supportive ancestors to finding safe connection, building resilience and growing strength.
How is Safety handled in this work?
In recent years neurobiology and polyvagal theory have offered us a robust understanding of trauma. Focusing allows traumatic events which have been stored in the body as pain, numbness, stiffness, tightness, to be released. When we do this together, it is possible to feel the past in the body, even if there are no memories or if memories are not ready to be shared. By staying with bodily sensations, it is much less likely that therapy is re-traumatizing than restating events and by following these feelings in the company of a compassionate therapist it is possible to learn, at an intense level, that safety can co-exist with pain at this moment. In this way, the past no longer needs to dominate the present, and adversity can be overcome. You will be encouraged not to rush and do this in your own time so that you are in charge of the pace of your healing. Trauma occurs to us as individuals outside our control; healing occurs when we are in connection and our power. While it is usual in therapy to experience discomfort at times, you are safely accompanied through this journey.