I began my career in the caring sector when I was 17 years of age working as a Psychiatric Auxiliary Nurse. This experience along with my studies in Philosophy and Psychology created a solid platform for further personal and professional development over seeking ways to help People with Mental Health Difficulties. I went on to work in day and residential services for People with Intellectual Disabilities while training in Psychotherapy. I gained invaluable practical knowledge and experience which I believe distinguishes my current practise in that I have "seen" what kind of support may be needed by people who are more vulnerable and dependant on others. I have found that many people who ask for help from statutory and health services express a sense that they have not been heard or understood. As a Therapist I therefore feel that it is important to listen actively and so empower the individual who is at the centre of the Therapy. I believe that a Therapist is able to work in relational depth when they themselves have had life training at a "grassroots" level and that this informs empathy which is a fundamental therapeutic tool.
I learned and understood about the human condition from an early age through experience. This prepared me for later life. Caring for a closely related family member with HIV and AIDS in the 1980's showed me how devastating and frightening a new unknown disease is and this reminds me of the current situation with the virus COVID 19. Significant life events and my own personal Therapy have helped me see and know that it is possible to go beyond emotional and psychological pain and feel fulfilled and liberated. I have gained in understanding that a good Therapist has emotional wisdom, resilience and a high level of motivation in wanting to be excellent in their care for others.
About Counselling and Psychotherapy
There has been a large increase in self help material advertised in the media over the past 20 years. We are encouraged to find inner solutions for anxiety and stress, self confidence and now managing the uncertainty of the future with the introduction of Pandemics such as COVID 19. Living now requires us to manage our own mental health as well as fulfill the usual basic practical necessities for survival. Seeking solutions to leading a happier life through "surfing the net" can be confusing because there are so many ideas being promoted and this in itself can be a stressful exercise.
As a Psychotherapist I have found that people want to be able to talk about their own personal story and be heard and understood and seen as an individual. A person may become ill through psychological disturbance and distress and become a patient while receiving medical treatment, but their recovery is also based on emotional and psychological growth which happens through individual motivation. As a Therapist I believe that it is possible to help a person activate their own inner healing resources. It is the job of the Therapist to create a safe and nurturing environment for this process to happen.
I have been providing Clinical Supervision to Trainee Counsellors, Assistant and Trainee Psychologists while working for the Neurodevelopmental Service. I have a Certificate in Clinical Supervision approved by the British Psychological Society. I offer my Supervisees the same gentle compassionate approach as I do my clients and am aware that as a role model I need to provide the guidance necessary so that Supervisees are enabled in reaching professional excellence in their practise.
Please read some testimonials as these can give the reader useful information about my approach to Therapy:
"I found Alex's approach reassuring which allowed me to take things at my own pace. Due to my situation being complex Alex provided me with the time and space to explain the situation and how I was feeling. I felt safe to open up and express my true feelings. Alex has a very calming nature and is able to express reassuring listening skills. Alex has played an important role in my recovery.
When I evaluate the work that we covered I was first able to deal with my acute anxiety, then go through a process to understand the current situation, develop strategies to help myself and then move on to believing in myself again. This has been very useful in my journey and I still try to be aware and apply some of the things explored in sessions. Many thanks and take care." Client A (May 2020).
"I couldn't fault the counselling time I had with Alexandra. It was astonishing, the attention to detail she managed to take in and regurgitate at the appropriate times demonstrated her listening skills beautifully. In a warm and inviting space to confide and release feelings, it was extremely easy to open up, be heard and have Alexandra reflect and help me understand, interpret and seek solutions. With expert advise and coping mechanisms and a deeper understanding of my own circumstances, I could then move forward with life without the support of the counselling sessions. I will be forever grateful to her for propping me up and elevating me to a better place of clarity, confidence and strength. Sending lots of love". Client B (May 2020)
"Losing mum was the worst thing in my life. I couldn't stop crying. I was dirty and didn't want to wash or clean my teeth. You talked to me kindly and you were a bit like my mum but I can't really say that as my mum died. I made friends and am happy living with my best friend. Thank you Alex for everything." R lives in supported living and lost her mother 2 years ago, (May 2020).
" Thank you Alexandra for helping our son. As soon as he met you he said that he felt so happy that you understood him. My husband and I were very worried as we have tried a number of services but it is difficult finding a counselling service where our son feels accepted and comfortable. His anger outbursts have abated considerably and this has been very positive both at home and work. Our son is much calmer now and I think this is because he has been able to talk about things at his own pace....things that have been couped up for a long time." Mrs D, who supported her son attend therapy. Mrs D's son has intellectual Disability and Autism, (April 2020).