My re-training involved working in a Special Needs School for pupils with mild learning disabilities (4-16 year olds, from 2000-01) and as a Learning Support Assistant and Learning Mentor in a London school (13-16 year old girls from 2001-02) where I was asked to focus on behaviour and provide bereavement support.
I also worked for eight years for the Psychological and Pastoral Care Department of the Royal Marsden, Chelsea site (2002-2010). My role as Relatives Support Co-ordinator involved working with partners, parents, children, close friends of cancer patients who had reached the palliative care stage of their illness. I also set up and ran a bereavement service. I trained as an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist at The Bowlby Centre (previously known as CAPP) and qualified in 2009.
I recently held the post of Staff Counsellor and Mediator with the Occupational Health Department of Croydon NHS Trust from March to October 2021. This was a newly created role to support staff with the challenges of working and living with COVID-19.
As with most therapists, I have had to manage and process difficult life events. I bring my life experience together with my personal and professional training, which includes twelve years of personal therapy, to the therapy room.
TRAINING & QUALIFICATIONS
- Cruse bereavement counsellor, 1996
- Certificate in Counselling in Education (Basic clinical and theoretical skills), Roehampton Institute, University of Surrey, 2001
- Post-graduate Diploma in Attachment Based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, The Bowlby Centre, 2005-2009
- Working with Families with Physical Illness: a Systemic Approach, The Tavistock Centre (Portman and Tavistock NHS Trust), 2009
- CBT Foundation Training for practising counsellors and psychotherapists, Hemmings Field Associates, 2011
- Post-graduate Diploma in Integrative Supervision, Regent’s College, 2012
- EMDR certification, levels I, II and III – EMDR London Centre 2015-2017
I attend numerous training and CPD events as well as conferences every year, on the themes of trauma, dissociation, body/mind work, the impact of life limiting illness, depression, working with adolescents, self-harm, suicidality, neuroscience and attachment. I attend regular weekly supervision. I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP, Private Practice, University & Colleges and Healthcare Sections) and of the National Counselling Society (MNCS (Accred)). I am also a member of The Relational School (TRS).
I can work in English, French and Spanish.
Attachment theory is my main theoretical framework. I first came across John Bowlby’s writing when I trained with Cruse Bereavement Care in 1996. His work and understanding of the human mind made complete sense to me. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory postulates that all primates have an ‘attachment’ system which is part of their survival mechanism (it makes, for example, a parent respond to the cry of his/her child or a child seek out the parent in a strange situation).
This “wired in” attachment system reacts with the environment we are born into. It is also affected by our temperament. This means we all learn different things, unconsciously, from our early attachments and will develop different strategies for attaching to others. This may affect the quality of our personal relationships, and our ability to function effectively at work. A confidential and safe space in therapy allows the exploration of your attachment patterns to help you understand why you are the way you are, and facilitate your moving away from those patterns which are unhelpful. John Bowlby and other researchers after him also demonstrated the importance of the mourning of losses (big and small) over a life time and the devastating impact unresolved grief can have on the human psyche.
A subject’s ability to mourn will determine his/her ability to acknowledge the loss, mourn the loss, adjust and recover over time so as to “live with the loss”. “Loss” is a wide ranging term which can mean the loss of someone close to you but also shattered dreams, the loss of a job, of what could have been or the difficulty to adapt to different stages of life in the life cycle. John Bowlby’s Attachment theory has since been developed worldwide by clinicians and academics in the field of neuroscience, psychoanalysis, child care, education, training and development in the workplace and criminology to understand how human beings function (or not) together.
Through my own personal and professional development, I have added a number of other tools which, in my view, can complement this approach such as CBT and systemic work. I believe the psychoanalytic component is a crucial non verbal aspect of the therapeutic work. My work is informed by modern relational psychoanalysis which seeks to acknowledge that the fears and fantasies experienced by the client are grounded in the real history of their early relationships. An essential part of the therapeutic work is that the therapist is capable of engaging the client in collaborative work that is compassionate, as well as being boundaried and rigorous. I consider myself today to be a relational integrative psychotherapist informed by psychoanalysis and attachment theory.