My approach is rooted in a biopsychosocial model which argues that our health is determined by a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social factors. My studies and research alerted me to a dissonance between mind and body calling for a contextualised approach to healing that recognises the many deep and layered complexities of the human condition. Neuroscientific research provides an ocean of evidence that human brains develop and mature in conjunction with their social environment. It is perplexing that Western medicine continues to separate both the mind from the body, and the individual from its environment, when the data, in stark contrast to the assumptions of the biomedical model, so clearly highlights the interconnected and social nature of our existence.
I blend skills and ideas from many different disciplines including philosophy, attachment theory, neuroscience, and trauma and body psychotherapy. I have been deeply influenced by the pioneering work of a vibrant community of world-renowned scientists including Stephen Porges, Peter Levine and Bessel Van der Kolk. Their ground-breaking research demonstrates that human beings are born with an innate expectation to be loved, to be cared for, and to matter. In short, we are designed for co-regulation rather than self-regulation. I hold this in my awareness as I invite clients to share time and space with me. I also hold in mind the remarkable research findings of professor, Brene Brown, which identify vulnerability as the birth place of every positive human emotion and behaviour including joy, hope, belonging, change and creativity.
Other key influences include retired physician, Dr Gabor Mate, who reaffirms that healing is a process of reconnecting to the self in the presence of a caring other. Belgium psychotherapist, Esther Perel, meanwhile, highlights the pitfalls of seeking refuge in relationships. Her deft exploration of the tension between security and freedom, mystery and transparency, and trust and betrayal, provides invaluable insights into the paradoxical nature of healthy adult relationships. I draw on these to help clients explore the anguish and torment they experience in their relationships.
I am further influenced by spiritual teachers, such as Eckhart Toller and Thomas Hubl, who highlight our collective disembodiment. Toller claims that our evolutionary history has provided us with a means of torturing ourselves with our "higher" brains which seek peace and fulfilment in the external world. Hubl sees this behaviour as a hidden symptom of transgenerational trauma and its legacy which lives on in each of us. Spiritual practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong and meditation show us how we can heal our individual and collective wounds by reconnecting to our bodies. These ancient traditions overlap in a very functional way with the more modern traditions of neuroscience and psychotherapy.