About you

StoneIn our sessions you will find a space to talk openly, giving you the opportunity to express any thoughts, feelings or fears. My guarantee to you is that I will work with you and assist you in exploring and understanding issues, whether you are in crisis or whether you are grappling with a longer term, deeply embedded psychological problem. I will help you to become more aware of your own coping abilities which in time will give you the confidence to deal with both present and future situations or minimise their effect, allowing you to live a more satisfying life.

You are unique in your life and I will respond to you in the same way, offering not only my experience and qualifications (as a benchark of an ethical therapist), but also my belief in how therapy can help you to make changes or come to terms with situations in your life. If you feel that you can trust me, and are ready to work with me, our alliance will be a success.

Life can be challenging. Perhaps you are:

If you’re grappling with any of these issues and unsure of what to do next, the information below may provide some reassurance. The free factsheets, available for download from the Resources section, also provide information and practical help.

Anxiety & stress

Anxiety is a part of normal life. But, as a species, human beings seem to be ‘wired’ to worry. Rates vary, but in western countries around 14 to 29% of us are likely to suffer from an anxiety problem at some point in our lives. Some people can point to a very obvious cause for their anxiety such as a traumatic incident, or a significant life event such as getting divorced, a bereavement, or moving house. However, many anxious people can’t identify a single obvious cause.

The anxiety reflex – often known as the ‘fight or flight’ response – functions like an internal alarm. When the alarm sounds, our minds and our bodies respond both mentally and physically. We are all familiar with the feelings and sensations that flood through us when we panic or become very stressed.

While stress and anxiety are normal responses to challenging situations, a state of lasting anxiety is not healthy. When anxiety becomes chronic, this means that our internal alarm is constantly ringing – it is permanently switched on.

The good news is that there are a range of modern therapy approaches that are scientifically proven to work:

  • Neuroscientists have found that people practising mindfulness techniques for just 8 weeks were more able to reduce sensitivity in the part of the brain that controls the ‘flight/fight’ response
  • Researchers have also found that clinical hypnotherapy can be very effective in calming the mind and nervous system
  • Hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can also be highly effective in helping people to cultivate positive thinking patterns.

Depression

While it’s a normal part of human experience to feel down or low from time to time, persistent depression is not.

Depression can take many forms and can be a severely limiting condition.  It can be caused by a significant life event such as a bereavement or loss of a job; or changes in body chemistry brought on by illness or a health imbalance; or it can develop gradually over time. Depression affects the mind-body balance and at its most extreme can literally grind people to a halt both mentally and physically. If left untreated, depression will continue to put strain on you, your family, and possibly your colleagues.

There are many symptoms of depression including ongoing exhaustion, lethargy, feeling unable to cope, and a loss of interest in life. Lasting feelings of sadness and regret, together with an inability to see any point to life, are also very common.

With the right support, it’s possible to recover. If you think that you (or someone in your family) are suffering from depression, the first step is to seek help from your GP. Some people may need medication to help combat this very common mental condition. For a significant number of people, professional counselling provides the time and space to work through what’s troubling you and identify new ways of approaching problems.

Couples and relationships

Having a fulfilling relationship is central to our wellbeing as emotional creatures and a core part of our lives. Becoming a couple is easy; keeping the love and trust alive over months and years is, for most people, much more challenging. Very commonly, couples experience conflict during times of change or crisis – such as moving in together, financial pressures, illness, having a child or children leaving home, a career change, or dealing with the aftermath of an affair. At these times, one or both of you is under pressure. Admitting that your relationship is causing you pain, resentment and anger, or that your expectations of the relationship are not being met, is a difficult but essential first step.

Coming to relationship counselling takes courage, but it is also an opportunity to rekindle trust and learn again how to really hear each other. Whatever your decision – to stay together or to separate – counselling provides emotional space in which to review your relationship and process painful emotions, especially anger and loss. It also provides safe space in which to explore fresh or more creative ways of relating to each other that are based on mutual respect.

Unhelpful patterns and compulsions

Human beings are very much creatures of habit. We need patterns and structures in life to help us live productive and fulfilling lives. But if certain patterns, such as constantly tidying, checking or repeated handwashing, are taking over your life, then it’s time to look at these more closely.

There are a range of modern therapy approaches that are successful in getting compulsive thinking and unhelpful behaviour back under your control. A key part of regaining control is to have strong, workable strategies to reduce your anxiety, and for increasing tolerance for the situations or objects that are causing distress. It’s essential to have someone working alongside you who you can trust for support. That person also needs to constructively challenge harmful thinking, and encourage you to find new ways of thinking positively.

Childhood issues

As adults we may carry a great deal of ‘unfinished business’ left over from the past. The unfinished business may relate to difficult emotional states, trapped feelings of anger or sadness, or physical ill health. You may find yourself being drawn to certain situations, relationships or jobs that you know are not right for you. You may feel that you lack control over your life, or perhaps you have reached one of life’s crossroads – you need to do things differently, but are unsure of how.

The purpose of therapy is to untangle the mass of feelings, memories and patterns, separating out what belongs in the past from what you need in the present. Working through how these patterns are still active and affecting life in the present is the key to being able to move forwards. Part of the process includes experimenting with new, more helpful ways of being. Therapy provides the opportunity to do this kind of work in a very supportive environment.

For information on therapy for children, please go to Children & Young People.

Negative thinking

Most people have an inner critic – part of our mind that runs a constant stream of criticism and judgement – anything to find fault with. This kind of self-talk, whether it’s directed at yourself or at someone else, can be very destructive. Small issues get amplified out of proportion; someone’s sideways glance or stray remark takes on extra significance; small errors or failings become big ones; and we don’t seem to be able to let go of certain events that occurred long ago in the past.

It’s helpful to think of the mind like a muscle that’s out of shape or over-trained in the wrong way. Most people struggle to think positively most of the time. We need to retrain our mind muscles to think less, and more positively. With time and practice, it is possible to condition our minds so that we have more resilience and are less prone to constant, negative over-thinking. A short-term course of hypnotherapy and solution-focused counselling or coaching can be extremely effective, helping to switch off self-sabotaging thinking patterns and encouraging more constructive ways of thinking.

Loss and grief

Bereavement is one of the most painful experiences in life. The loss of someone close, even if it’s anticipated, is a devastating experience. Grief is suffered by thousands every year; everyone experiences grief differently and there is no ‘right’ way to mourn. While many people will cope with the help of family and friends, it can take time to work through the complex emotions that come after a death. Anger, guilt, shock and pain are very common responses. Dealing with other people’s reactions, helping them to come to terms with the loss, is also challenging.

Grief in response to a death is familiar to most people, but it is also possible to experience grief in response to other losses, such as unemployment, the loss of your home and possessions, ill health, or the end of a relationship.

Being able to talk through memories and feelings, no matter how painful, is an essential part of recovering from bereavement. With time, it becomes possible to honour those memories without being overwhelmed. A trained counsellor will help you manage painful feelings and keep memories safely in the present while you come to terms with their true value.

Margaret Meyer

 

My offer to you is a complete, safe, and supported experience that integrates the practical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. I work with a relational Gestalt approach, which is based on the relationship between the client and the counsellor. I have no stake in your decisions or fixed opinions on how you should lead your life. My role is to support you and your emotional and mental processes, remaining open, non-judgmental and genuine at all times.

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