Therapeutic Counselling for Individuals and Couples
Online, and in Crouch End, Haringey, North London
How can counselling help you?
Most of us would like to be happy all the time, or at least more of the time. What counselling can do is help you find your own meaning to life, and a better understanding of your relationships. This provides greater contentment and self-confidence, helping you to grow through the difficult times, and enjoy the good times.
Therapeutic Counselling in Crouch End near Finsbury Park, North London, and online
I work with individuals and couples experiencing problems in the following areas, among others—
Sessions are available on weekdays and at weekends, online and in person at the Haelan Clinic, Crouch End.
Whether you are looking for open-ended or short-term counselling, my aim as a therapeutic counsellor is to help you to live your life in a more fulfilling way. Short-term counselling can help you to deal with a specific problem, and can be very useful. Open-ended counselling is an opportunity to look at things in more depth, to explore underlying themes in your life that are affecting long-term or recurring issues.
As well as individual therapeutic counselling, I offer relationship and couples counselling online, and in Crouch End. Coming to counselling as a couple gives both of you some valuable time to reflect on your relationship, with an independent person present. This can lead to a greater understanding of the issues that bring you to counselling, and your relationship as a whole. This approach can also be applied between friends, and family members. For couples counselling, I offer longer sessions of 1 hour and 20 minutes. This gives more time for both of you to talk, making a change of perspective more likely.
My qualifications include a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, as well as the Open Dialogue Foundation Training. I've also trained as a bereavement counsellor. I'm a member of the International Association of Psychology and Counselling. I've worked as a counsellor for Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling, for Counselling Initiatives in Haringey, and worked for many years in the voluntary sector for mental health.
You can find out more about my approach, qualifications, training, experience, couples work, and fees on the other pages of my website. If you think I can help you, please contact me by phone or email to find out more. In an introductory session, we would discuss what you'd like to get from counselling, and how we can work together.
I offer counselling in the attractive area of Crouch End, at The Haelan Clinic, 41 The Broadway, Haringey, London N8 8DT – click here to see map. The Haelan Clinic is near bus routes W7 (from Finsbury Park and Muswell Hill), 91, 41, W5, as well as rail stations at Finsbury Park, Harringay and Hornsey. Finsbury Park is on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, and is easily accessible from areas in Central, North and South London. Alternatively, if you prefer the convenience of having your counselling sessions online, I am happy to work with you in that way.
Thanks to Paul Thoma for his photographs.
Is counselling political?
I've just watched an interview with a student on a counselling course, where she's being taught that counsellors are "social change agents". She doesn't agree with this, and I must say I don't either. Counselling is all about listening to you as a unique individual, and your particular situation in life. What matters is that you choose what you want to talk about. Having someone there who listens to everything you say without judgement, enables you to change and grow in the way you want. This goes much deeper than politics, as I see it.
What is going on for you?
One of the things I've noticed recently is how unique people's responses are to current events. Some people are struggling to make sense of what's going on around them. Others are having difficulty with their relationships, or feeling anxious without knowing the reason for it. Some realise that things are difficult, but get on with their lives anyway, and enjoy life as much as possible. People are resourceful. Whatever you are going through, making connections with others helps to feel less isolated.
Online help for mental health
My experience working online with individuals, couples, and support groups, has shown that it is possible to create therapeutic relationships online. It is a bit different from meeting in person, but it can be supportive. It meets a need for many people, and enables contact with people from different areas who wouldn't normally be able to meet in person.
You already have what you're looking for
I was reading about an event that happened many years ago, and wanted to find a map showing the area where it happened, and the special places mentioned in the history book. I searched the internet – where you can supposedly find almost anything. Couldn't find what I was looking for. For some reason I decided to open an old school textbook that I had kept since I was 14, and found exactly the map I was looking for, without knowing it was in there. Maybe I remembered it subconsciously, or maybe it was a coincidence. But it made me think, there's a lesson here. We can search far and wide "out there" for things we want or need, before we realise that we already have what we're looking for.
Outbreak of kindness and common sense in a psychiatric service
I've just read Open Dialogue for Psychosis (edited by Nick Putman and Brian Martindale), and have found it encouraging and inspiring. I'm familiar with the Open Dialogue approach, having completed the Foundation Training, but have learnt more about how it developed in Finland in the 1980s, as well as how it has been introduced and adapted elsewhere, including the UK. Two of the people who developed the approach, Birgitta Alakare (psychiatrist) and Jaakko Seikkula (clinical psychologist), wrote one chapter. Influenced by family therapy, they created a different way of organising psychiatric care. Long-term psychiatric patients who had been living at the local hospital for many years, as well as new patients, took part in meetings with their families and social networks, and this is continues today. A prompt response, early treatment, and psychological continuity (treatment by the same people) are also key elements of Open Dialogue in Finland. Research shows that they achieve better recovery rates than treatment as usual for psychosis. The approach isn't only used for psychosis, but for the whole range of mental health problems. As Alakare and Seikkula say in the concluding remarks to their chapter, "Open Dialogue is not a model or manual for care; it is more a way of organising services and meeting others respectfully and in dialogue."
Interesting psychological insight from 2,500 years ago
Herodotus, in The Histories, writes "One thing, however, I am very sure of: and that is, that if all mankind agreed to meet, and everyone brought his own sufferings along with him for the purpose of exchanging them for someone else's, there is not a man who, after taking a good look at his neighbour's sufferings, would not be only too happy to return home with his own."
This rather surprising opinion resonates many centuries later, for some reason. Just being able to talk about our problems with someone else, and listen to theirs, gives us a different perspective on our own lives.
Conversations with people we disagree with
"I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right!"
This may bring a smile of recognition to many, reminding them of their own or other people's conversational style, in those potentially difficult conversations where you don't agree with each other. Opinions have become quite polarised, and it can feel risky broaching sensitive topics even with close friends. It is surprisingly rewarding if you can state your point of view, and listen to another's point of view, without trying to persuade each other. If people feel that you are listening to them, it will probably increase their trust in you in the long term, if not immediately.
Memories, Freud and Archaeology
Do you ever experience a long-forgotten memory, popping up seemingly from nowhere? Sigmund Freud compared these memories to archaeological objects, that have been preserved underground. He collected such items, and his consulting room was full of them. He would show them to patients, to illustrate his point. Archaeologists nowadays explain that the context in which objects are found, gives them meaning. This can work with memories, too. If you take the time to think about them, when and where they happened, and your feelings about them, you may find that they are meaningful and valuable.
Sanity, Madness and the Family
This book was written by two British psychiatrists, RD Laing and Aaron Esterson. It's based on interviews with families where one member has been identified as schizophrenic. Their aim is to show that the experiences of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia make sense, in the context of their family relationships and society. The interviews they conducted with family members show how confusing such relationships can be. It's a fascinating book.