My Approach

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding shame can’t survive.

Brene Brown

My Approach

I would like us to develop a safe enough relationship where, together, we can address the issues that have brought you to therapy.

I am particularly informed by attachment theory and I use a trauma informed approach.  This means that I think that our experiences, resources and relationships fundamentally affect how we relate to ourselves, our feelings and others.  

I take a holistic approach which means that I think that body, mind, environment and emotions are interconnected.  Often we can come into difficulty when we become disconnected from important aspects of ourselves such as the impact of our lifestyle on our bodies, emotions and relationships.  

No one model of therapy works for everyone, therefore, I take an integrative approach. This means that I draw upon a variety of models of therapy that I think will most suit your needs, contexts and preferences. Some of the approaches I draw upon are explained below.


Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapy addresses emotions, psychological symptoms and behaviour within the context of your day-to-day life, interpersonal relationships and interactions.

This type of therapy can be used when working with individuals, groups, intimate relationships and families. 

Systemic therapy understands that difficulties don’t develop within individuals but in the relationships, interactions, life events, language, stories and behaviour patterns that develop between you and significant others. 

Your context is important including factors such as ability, age, gender, power, resources, sexuality, health, race, and their impact.

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) aims to help individuals, couples and families understand both their own emotional reactions and those of significant others.

EFT is based on attachment theory. Attachment theory, and the associated research, has found that we feel better when we feel safely connected to the people we care about. 

Emotionally focused therapy helps address insecurities which are typically triggered within intimate relationships. It can help you learn how to interact in more responsive, and emotionally connected ways.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to help you gain insight into how you interact with your environment both externally (work, culture or relationships) and internally (thoughts, fantasies and feelings). It can be used with individuals, relationships and groups.

This type of therapy takes into consideration your age and life stage as well as the impact of your culture and context. 

Psychodynamic psychotherapy acknowledges that there are limitations on what we can be conscious of and that we are often managing conflicting thoughts, feelings and beliefs. 

This approach acknowledges that life’s not black and white and that complex meanings can be attached to experiences.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a time limited, structured and present-oriented (here and now) psychotherapy. However, it may focus on your past experiences to help you understand how they may be impacting you now.

The focus of CBT is to learn how to manage current problems, by helping you develop skills that bring awareness to your thinking and behaviour. 

CBT uses a variety of cognitive (thought-challenging) and behavioural techniques and can include problem solving. 
Generally, CBT isn’t used as a single type of therapy but often incorporates other approaches including: compassion-focused therapy (CFT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness, solution-focused therapy and other models of therapy. These place an emphasis on empowerment and developing an awareness of your inner experience so that you can engage in ways of being and activities that are personally meaningful. These ways of working take into consideration your context and the meaning of how you might be trying to cope.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) disagrees with the idea that we should all be aiming to achieve a “healthy normality”.  ACT suggests that life is difficult and human psychological suffering is a common, although, uncomfortable part of our lives.  If we hold the expectation that in order to be normal we should be feeling “happy” or “good”, the majority of the time, then, when we don’t, we may feel like we are somehow not “getting it right” or are “abnormal”.

ACT aims to help view thoughts and feelings as harmless, even if they are uncomfortable.  Ironically, although this way of working doesn’t aim to reduce “symptoms”, through this process of acceptance, ACT often achieves symptom reduction whereby thoughts, which may previously have worried you, are accepted in that they make sense in the context of your life and in terms of how the human mind works. 

 ACT has two main aims:

  1. To help you accept unwanted private experiences, thoughts and feelings which are outside of your control.
  2. Commitment toward living a personally meaningful and valued life.

 ACT can be used with individuals, couples and groups for both short term and longer term therapy. 

Self Compassion

According to Kristin Neff self compassion has 3 main components:
1. Self kindness – this involves being warm and understanding to ourselves when we are in pain and suffering instead of judging ourselves critically.
2. Common humanity – this is the recognition that suffering, and feeling inadequate, are part of our shared human experience – something we all go through rather something that happens in isolation.
3. Mindfulness – is a non-judgemental way of observing our thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to push them away or battle with them.  Mindfulness asks us to consciously work at not over-identifying with our thoughts and feelings so we don’t get swept up in negative reactions.
Research has found that self-compassion has been associated with less reactive anger, emotional resilience, and greater care being shown within relationships.  There is also growing evidence that mindfulness reduces chronic pain and improves mental and physical wellbeing.

I wonder if the best gift that we could give to other people would be to show them a little of our own anxiety and insecurity, so that they wouldn’t have this fiction to compare themselves against

Dr. Meg-John Barker