Find your way forward in life
‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves’
I imagine you’re reading this because you’re facing some difficulties. And now you might be ready to make some changes. It’s a big step to take and I’m glad you’ve made it this far.
My name’s Maria and I’m a counsellor and psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience, including work with the NHS and in Higher Education. I help individuals and couples find ways through their challenges and move on to positive, more fulfilling lives.
I do this by providing the opportunity for people to talk and explore what they are struggling with in a safe, supportive and confidential way. This can be a great help in itself and often marks the beginning of a process of discovery and change based on self-awareness and self-care.
Here are some of the issues people bring to me:
Major life changes such as separation, loss and birth
Depression and other mental health issues
Difficulties related to conceiving, IVF and pregnancy loss
Lack of confidence
This list doesn’t cover all of life’s challenges. But in my view, no difficulty is too small to take to therapy if it is causing distress.
The main approach to my work is Gestalt Psychotherapy, a holistic and relational way of working with individuals.
Gestalt Psychotherapy focuses on raising awareness of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours in the present moment, with the support of the relationship with the therapist. These explorations account for the effect of the current situation, and look for new possibilities to live a more creative life driven by positive choices.
Relational Gestalt Therapy
This approach focuses on the here and now, which helps to identify and understand patterns of relating with others outside of the therapy, the present and the past.
I also sometimes use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) principles, particularly on difficulties in a short-term timeframe. This focuses more on specific problems, and puts less emphasis on exploring underlying issues.
The use of creativity (pastels, sand-tray, stones,) as a way of exploring difficulties is also something I suggest to clients if it seems it may be helpful, and they are happy to try something new.
In addition to my therapy work, I provide clinical supervision to qualified and trainee counsellors and psychotherapists.
Supervision is both compulsory for all practitioners and a very important part of the counselling and psychotherapy that takes place with clients.
Many of us have been in relationships when something repeatedly goes wrong in communication, and we find ourselves reacting in exactly the same or similar way time after time. Problems with relationships can also lead to other difficulties such as depression and anxiety.
Couples therapy can help you explore and develop awareness of ‘toxic’ interactions, and look at ways of changing them. Couples therapy can also help to identify significant differences in personalities, values and needs, which are often the source of ongoing difficulties.
For example, often what attracted partners to each other in the first place leads to significant struggles later, unless they are able to find a way to work with differences, to change when change is needed and to accept differences as a possible source of richness rather than conflict.
My approach to couples is integrative, drawing on concepts from humanistic, cognitive-behavioural and psychoanalytic principles, and a more specific approach called Emotion Focused Therapy or EFT. This focuses on accessing and healing emotions and strengthening relational bonds by facilitating new ways of talking and responding.
It provides practitioners with regular and ongoing opportunities to reflect in depth about all aspects of their practice. This helps them work as effectively, safely and ethically as possible, and ensures the best possible therapeutic practice for the client.
In this process, building a relationship that is open, trusting and enabling is essential.