Diagnosis vs. Person

As a therapist I see my role as someone who is there to listen to you as a person with a unique history and own story to tell. I believe everything we go through in life can potentially have an impact on who we are and how we choose to live our life. There are so many different aspects and experience that make us who we are. When we receive some sort of mental health diagnosis, it is often reflective of a particular part, or parts of us. It’s not always the case that our symptoms are taken within the broader context of our lives, history and experiences.

You are fundamentally the sum of your experiences. You are more than just a diagnosis.

You as a Person

When you come into the therapy room I am firstly interested in getting to know you. I want to listen carefully to your story with a view to understanding why you have decided to come for therapy with me and why now. During the early stages of our work together I will be interested in exploring with you what it may be you are wanting to change in your life. We will also look at how you might life to be after therapy has ended.

If there is a particular problem that has brought you to therapy, an early goal would be for us to find strategies to be able to deal effectively with that problem. For example, if you experience social anxiety in large groups we will look for strategies that enable you to be more confident in certain situations.

Following this stage, I will be interested in how you are in your life. What are your motivations, desires, how are you in your life and how do you lead your life. How do you think, feel and behave in your life, why do you make certain decisions and why not others. I will continuously be noticing the way you lead your life through what you are telling me. I will notice how you are, how we are together and I will be noticing patterns as we go along. Together our aim is to work towards establishing what patterns are no longer fulfilling and what patterns are ones you would like to change.

All the time the focus is on you. Your story, your experience and how you are in the world.

A Diagnosis?

My role as a therapist is not to diagnose in the medical sense of the word, I do not see issues in the therapy room that need resolving or ‘fixing’. What I do do, is to listen to your story, I look out for the context to your experiences and formulate a treatment plan which will work for you.

When we work together I will see a person who may have learned particular coping strategies for dealing with their own trauma or adversity. In that way, the patterns that you have learned have been essential survival techniques, so well done you!

At some point however, you may feel previous learned behaviours are no longer applicable to how you now want to be. I am here to support you in updating ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that are more in line with how you want to be now. This is the sort of fixing we can do together. I do not need a diagnosis or a label for this. It may often be a useful guide or can serve to tell me more about issues you may be facing though. Together we may be sitting in the unknown and we will explore what is right for you, nobody else.

Having a diagnosis can also be something that many find comfort in having. To understand there is an identifiable pattern of symptoms they may be experiencing and to know there are solutions can be useful. Whether you have a mental health diagnosis or not, our work together will be focused on what works for you.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about how we can work together feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation initial meeting.

Best Things To Say To Someone With Depression

We quite often come across lists of things to avoid saying to someone with depression but can we say to someone suffering?

Our immediate inclination may be to want to help them out of their dark space. We want to make things better and we want whatever is troubling them to go away. If you haven’t suffered with clinical depression it may not be so clear what is useful and what is not useful to say. How can you know what it feels like if you haven’t been through it yourself? It may be an uncomfortable place to acknowledge that you’re not familiar with the depths of despair someone seems to be experiencing. Platitudes and rallying support may be met with a brick wall.

So What Is Useful To Say?

Even if you are very close to the person suffering, knowing what to say may be a challenge. The following are some starter tips for what to say to show support for someone experiencing depression.

“I Love You”

“Would you like some space?”

“You may not want to talk right now so can I just sit with you?”

“I’m here for you and I care”

“When you’re ready to talk I will be here to listen”

“Can I make you a cup of tea?”

“You are not alone”

“You matter”

“You are important to me”

“I know things are tough right now but I’ll always be here”

Getting help

Getting professional help and having counselling for depression is an important first step. Depression will affect 1 in 3 people at some point in their life so know that you are not alone in feeling the way you do.

How Can I Just Stop Worrying?!

There are so many things I worry about on a daily basis that it’s starting to affect things I do, places I go and I just can’t seem to stop and not worry!”

Does this sound familiar in any way? From time to time we may all feel worried or concerned about a stressful situation and this is a perfectly normal reaction to have. Periodic worries will come and go and when we are feeling sufficiently resourced, we can tackle any worries as they arise. At these times we are working within our own window of tolerance and we can react appropriately to triggers and we can process and reflect without feeling overwhelmed. We are able to deal with worries and resolve them.

If however, your worries and anxieties are starting to feel uncontrollable, you may be left feeling vulnerable and powerless. At these times we may be outside of our window of tolerance and worrying triggers can send us to a place of overwhelm. We imagine it is difficult or even impossible to overcome what we are feeling and we are unable to make decisions calmly or appropriately.

Feeling anxious, panicky or tense can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as muscle tension, irritability, sleep disturbances, restlessness and difficulty concentrating. Your home and work life may be impacted and your mood may also be affected. You might also find it difficult to control the worry.

Know this though – You are not alone. Anxiety is probably one of the most common reasons people seek therapy.

Here are a few top tips for easing your worries.

Find Some You Time

Factoring in some “time out” on a daily basis will be very important for coping on an ongoing basis. If you put aside some time each day to explore what is going on for you and to list your worries, you might start to notice patterns. You may begin to see the sorts of things things that may worry you and how you feel about each. Understanding more about our worries, how they occur, when they are triggered and how we react to them is all useful ammunition for us to start to take back control.

Do Something Relaxing

It’s pretty difficult to be anxious when we are doing something relaxing. While it may take time for us to learn a new art of relaxation if we are not used to it, being able to focus on relaxation each day will rejuvenate us and give us strength to deal with every day worries in a healthier way. You may find yoga or meditation useful or it may be a mindful activity such as painting or drawing. Deep breathing on a regular basis as well as muscle relaxation techniques are also restorative. Whatever you find works for you, put regular time aside to relax.

Talk To Someone

Having the chance to talk to someone and to say your worries out loud can be very therapeutic. Worries can reduce in intensity when they are shared with someone and talking can help. A therapist trained in supporting people with anxiety issues will help you explore the causes and triggers behind your worries. Together we can look at current worries as well as historic issues which together may be working to fuel certain reactive behaviours. We can work on putting together a plan that will take into account your current needs to manage daily worries. We can also work on broader patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving towards worries that no longer work for you.

Get in touch

If you are thinking about psychotherapy for anxiety, please get in touch. There is a no-obligation chance to meet and to talk. Meeting someone for the first time may also be an anxiety provoking situation and will be an important issue factored in our meeting. This is to ensure our meeting is both reassuring and empowering for you. You can also ask any questions you may have about me, therapy or how I work. Read more about anxiety here.

I currently have availability at the Bluecoats location in Christ’s Hospital, Horsham and limited availability at the Washington location.