Against the backdrop of a sick society, your struggle might relate to an affair, a miscarriage, work conflict, a difficult dilemma, or a tragic accident. Or it might be a more general struggle with anxiety, depression, or a persistent and nagging low mood. You might long for a partner and/or a baby. You might be in the grip of an addiction or troubling compulsive behaviour. Or you may simply wish to embark upon a fascinating journey of personal growth. There are endless reasons to seek help from a psychotherapist. Whatever it is, at your own pace and in your own words I will help you find your voice and tell your story. The simple act of sharing your struggles within the safety and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship can bring immediate relief. As I guide and support you through the process of connecting to painful emotions you are likely to gain new insights that will leave you feeling calmer, stronger and more confident.
Most, but not all, suffering can be traced to difficult childhood experiences including overt physical, sexual and emotional abuse. They also include the less obvious, but arguably just as painful, experiences of feeling ignored and neglected, or overly controlled and protected, by one's parents. In order to preserve the attachment relationship to their caregivers children quickly learn how to bury their fear, anger and sadness. This can lead to the formation of life-long, unhealthy styles of relating which result in those same feelings being unconsciously triggered throughout adulthood. This becomes a mechanism for getting stuck in a relentless, life-sapping cycle of triggers and responses. Understanding that a large part of our functioning takes place outside of our conscious awareness helps combat feelings of shame, and help us make sense of feelings of anger towards those we seek to blame. The therapeutic endeavour is one of creating meaning out of suffering and finding compassion for both self and other.
It is important that parents seeking professional support for adolescent children know that therapy is not about finding someone to blame, least of all parents. Most parents do their absolute best for their children. And inevitably, as Philip Larkin wrote, they fuck them up. On the one hand this is tragic. On the other, with the right support, it affords your child the invaluable opportunity to transcend their suffering, and to develop confidence, resilience and integrity. If blame for the suffering of adolescents lies anywhere it lies in the flawed ideology of neoliberalism and its damaging rhetoric around competition and individual success, which leaves many young adults in a deep, dark, lonely pit of self-loathing and despair, and most parents too stressed and exhausted to help. The pernicious world of social media, cruelly masquerading as a community of real friends and connections, offers little refuge. On the contrary, it has become a sinister conduit for further emotional violence against the adolescent population.