Trust, intimacy and openness are at the heart of our closest relationships. When they become troubled we can be deeply affected, and our health and happiness can suffer. Our sense of self-worth and identity often rests on the strength of our relationships, so we can despair when they fail.
I have many years experience as a relationship therapist, and have managed Brighton & Hove Relate and its LGBT relationship therapy service. I provide a safe space to explore and resolve problems that cause conflict or distress in relationships.
I support people to deepen their understanding of themselves and the ways they relate to family, friends, colleagues and partners. I work with people to improve the ways they communicate, and develop trust and intimacy. Many of the problems experienced in forming and sustaining relationships are the product of unconscious expectations inherited from our families and environments. Relationship therapy can provide a space to reflect on relationship expectations, heal past hurts, and find new and more fulfilling ways of relating.
I offer counselling to people planning to marry or enter a civil partnership, to consider the decision they are making and tackle any difficulties they may be encountering. And I support people who are considering divorce, separation or dissolution of their civil partnership to explore their options, address their hurt and resentment, and begin to rebuild their lives.
Relationship therapy can enable you to overcome the challenges you are facing right now, and develop the skills and understanding to manage challenges that may come along in the future.
When someone we love dies, we can experience overwhelming emotions of shock and disbelief, guilt, sadness, fear, anger and loneliness. We can become disorientated and suffer physical symptoms of fatigue, loss of appetite, spaciness, lowered immunity, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, and insomnia. It can be difficult to understand and communicate how we are feeling, which can intensify the sense of being alone with our grief.
Counselling offers people who are bereaved a safe and comforting place to grieve. There is no need to protect a counsellor from the intensity of your emotions, or to mask the complexity of your feelings about the person you have lost. The support of a counsellor can be a tremendous solace, helping you to understand and process what you are experiencing, and come to terms with your loss.
I am a qualified bereavement counsellor, with many years experience supporting people to find a way through the painful feelings and sensations which accompany loss.
Counselling and psychotherapy offer a safe environment to develop a sense of self-worth which is not reliant on other people’s perceptions of us. When we don’t feel intrinsically lovable and worthy of respect or esteem, we can focus on our flaws and develop a façade to protect us from being seen and known. This can leave us feeling very alone.
Low self-esteem often develops in childhood, when we can feel we need to act in a particular way to be valued and loved. Sometimes low self-esteem develops later in life, when relationships end or we experience redundancy or ill-health. Our self-esteem can also be adversely affected by experiences of discrimination and abuse.
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, life can be very challenging. It can be difficult to be confident and assertive, form relationships, and feel comfortable in social situations. We can feel anxious and insecure and unworthy of love. We can doubt the worth of our achievements, and feel as though we don’t deserve the recognition we have earned.
If you would like support to develop your inner strength and self-belief, please do get in touch.
If you were sexually abused in childhood you may have been deeply affected in many ways. In order to survive, abused children adopt strategies including denial of the abuse, putting on a mask, hiding in fantasy worlds, dissociating, and overachieving at school. The behaviours and strategies that children develop in order to resist and survive abuse can continue to affect them in their adult lives.
Adult survivors resist the effects of childhood abuse in many ways, and find strategies to help with healing. With the right support, survivors of sexual abuse can and do heal from their experiences and have fulfilling lives. In doing so they show great strength and courage. Many survivors find counselling and psychotherapy a helpful way to work through the pain, memories and other impacts of abuse.
Effects of Abuse
Abused children often feel they have to be strong, show no fear, and keep all their emotions bottled up. Common effects of abuse include:-
Women who were abused as children
The effects of child sexual abuse are further strengthened for girls and women by gender training. Guilt, powerlessness and being there for others are promoted by a wide range of social and cultural practices which blame women and girls for sexual violence, suggest women are responsible for maintaining relationships and moral standards and encourage women to be passive and dependent on others.
Men who were abused as children
"Three in twenty men are affected by sexual violence, which can involve women as well as men as the perpetrators. However, there is much ignorance and misinformation surrounding male rape and sexual abuse. Society’s lack of understanding about the size of the problem together with the pressure on men to appear strong and masculine can increase feelings of confusion, guilt, shame and doubt. Counselling provides an opportunity to talk to someone who understands the complexity of issues sexual abuse can create for male survivors. Telling your story and having someone really listen to you can be enormously helpful. Exploring what has been previously hidden or pushed away can allow the past to be put to rest and enable a new future to emerge." (Mankind UK)
LGBTQ survivors of abuse
LGBTQ people who have experienced abuse as children or young people are sometimes told that their sexual orientation or gender identity is a direct result of the abuse. This is a misconception which can further undermine the identity and self-belief of LGBTQ survivors of abuse. I am committed to supporting LGBTQ survivors to strengthen the sense of self-worth and identity which can be so eroded by sexual abuse and LGBTQ discrimination.