Paul Weeden mbacp
How are you feeling right now ?
Do you know how you got to where you are ?
How do you feel about who you are and how you are ?
These may seem like abstract questions that you may find irritating, or consider irrelevant to your life. However may I suggest that in my professional and personal experience working with clients in London & Sussex. Whether it be working with NHS patients, school children or in my private practices, that this is precisely why we so many people feel bad about themselves and the situation they find themselves in.
This is also why many people end up feeling depressed, anxious and often unable to live the life they want to live.
Essentially what I’m suggesting is that, we don’t know who we really are or how we got here. Often we’ve gone along with other peoples versions of who we should be and followed their advise too closely. I often find that when people feel stuck depressed or anxious, they may desire a quick fix solution that just magics us or our problem away, this could come in the form of a distraction or avoidance strategy, busy people are usually very good at this.
The truth is you know who you should be better than anyone, you’ve probably just forgotten how to access your own wisdom.
Or maybe you’ve experienced the opposite in feeling rigidly stuck, and floundering in your own misery, going round and round in circles in your head. Maybe you’ve experienced this whilst visiting a therapist, the nodding dog type with the frustratingly irritating “how did that make you feel” over and over again questioning. As if this alone helps you to feel better.
I would like to strongly suggest that after accepting where we are at, counter-balancing the stuckness with better understanding, exploring options, and learning to use new tools and skills is the solution to many of our personal dilemmas.
For example, someone might seek a therapist because they feel depressed, anxious and have low self esteem. They may hope the therapist has something that will make them feel well again. Often I find that people may not expect the therapist to mainly observe at first, and then mirror back to them what they see in a client that is outside of their own awareness. This can be useful to show a person the triggers and patterns they are repeatedly creating in life that aren’t helping them, and how we can come to learn about and change ourselves through exploring new possibilities with fresh awareness. However I find that it’s in between the sessions that the work can really takes place in many cases.
At times we are all out of balance in some way, in fact everyone I’ve even met has been. By this I mean, though people may appear to have confidence and self assurance on the surface, this in many cases is often a mask covering over something they don’t feel good about and wish to hide from others.
Many busy seemingly successful people can’t understand why they can’t relax very easily, why they seem to feel depressed for no apparent reason, and why they struggle to find and maintain good relationships.
And yet often the same people will admit that they find it hard to make time to spend with their friends and family and rarely indulge in fun for the sake of it.
Perhaps you also often make decisions that put other people before yourself to please others ? whilst making little or no time for your own needs, desires or personal interests.
How do you feel in your body ?
One of the areas that I have felt great passion and interest in developing is working with and integrating body awareness, and then using that information in a way that helps people find specific body/mind self development that they find beneficial to bring into their lives that will help them grow and develop as a person.
The German psychiatrist Fritz Perls along with Wilhelm Reich, Sigmond Freud’s colleague were some the better known first psychoanalysts to raise awareness around the information hidden in plain sight in the body.
This means we can use information in and through the body to raise awareness of where we currently are at. Then if we can accept it, we can find ways to balance, centre and align our sense of self again.
It’s not uncommon in my experience that people’s emotions manifest as bodily sensations or even as physical discomfort and pain.
Neuro-science is now showing us how holistic body-mind science works, the body keeps a historical record of past trauma’s and emotional blocks often dating back to childhood.
If you are interested in this subject, you could take a look at the work of Dr John Sarno MD to verify this-
Another way to look at how this type of self awareness can be helpful is, if you sit at a desk all day, it’s no surprise if you find your back, knees and hips get achy and stiff. Obviously you may well benefit from massage, and activities and sport that exercises and stimulate specific muscle groups and joints in a managed and balanced way.
This is fairly obvious and simple enough and you may wonder why the need for further therapy or coaching. The answer to that, is to discover what it is that is currently unconscious holding you back from doing this consistently in a reflective, developmental and balanced way. Perhaps it’s the fear of feeling out of your comfort zone, or self conscious in front of other people, not making your own needs important enough, or not believing you have enough time.
Next we will seek to find out what types of interests and activity you need to bring in, and how to make best use of them and apply them to your daily life.
For example all dance is movement, but not all dance will provide the type of movement your body and life style specifically need.
We can easily see that some martial arts are more fiery than others, whist others are more flowing and watery. This is also true of the wide variety of dance and yoga practices out there.
It’s also worth pointing out at this stage that what we may need most, may not be what we initially recognize or feel most drawn to.
If I can give you another example, imagine someone who feels stuck with feeling ineffective and lacking the power to succeed and influence others positively. We could say they are too grounded and ridged in an unhelpful inflexible way, risk avoidant, feeling unable to access the vital spark needed to engage more fully and effectively in the world. They may also avoid social situations, and they may admit to disliking being up high or traveling fast because they don’t like the feelings associated with it, ‘letting go of control’.
But getting up high into the clouds or moving really fast might be exactly what they need to do to let go and take them out of their comfort zone. Imagine what it could do for their sense of self, how it could expand their awareness and perspective, if only for the fact they have achieved something that they didn’t previously think they could do.
Models in Practice
Integrative humanistic counselling
Much of my inspiration has come from many humanistic pioneers in the psychotherapy field. Carl Rogers introduced the core conditions of congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy, which have become the foundation and cornerstone of all good therapeutic relationships.
Rogers also gave us the actualizing tendency, which he likens to ‘a potato shoot sprouting in a cold dark cupboard’, a metaphor for the infinite potential human beings have at our core.
In my London & Sussex counselling practices I use active empathic listening to help build a relationship where you feel heard and understood in a uniquely collaborative way. We can then explore your options and possibilities moving forward. As well as coming to accept what you can’t change.
In my humanistic integrative clinical work I encourage you to make good use of your imagination, through examining together your dreams, your automatic thoughts and behaviour. I will also invite you to try role-play, examining posture and body language, and to work creatively through drawing and creative writing.
I will also invite you to explore your posture and body awareness through focusing on parts of your body and the way you hold yourself and move. This can give us invaluable information about how and what you currently embody and hold within yourself and what this tells us about how you feel.
I like to make use of the ancient four elements model of earth, air, fire & water to help you to develop a more balanced life style practice that realigns your past wounded old self on an emotional, psychological & physical level.
Our primary experiences with our parents & other caregivers shape the way we engage with the world for the rest of our lives. Working psychodynamically we can explore how the past is influencing you in the present, often in an unconscious way. In other words we may not even be aware of what is driving our thoughts feelings or behaviour as it can become so repressed into our shadow self.
The psychoanalyst Melanie Klein showed us that as small vulnerable children, we are not even aware of separation from ourselves and our environment, including our caregivers.
Sigmund Freud introduced us to the concept of the id, ego & super ego, and how they are in a constant flux with each other to gain control over the living system. In gaining awareness of how we can self sabotage ourselves through unconscious patterns we can make corrective decisive steps towards a more integrated balanced & centered self.
John Bowlby & Mary Ainsworth strange situation experiment demonstrated how small children can form either secure or insecure attachment styles to their caregivers based on the quality of nurture they receive during the most important developmental years.
These patterns of behaviour tend to go on and become life long ways of behaving and relating to other people and the environment.
So by increasing our awareness in a course of psychodynamic therapy, we can learn to understand why we do what we do, we then have the opportunity to make more conscious choices, and consider what options might be more suitable & beneficial moving forward.
CBT- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
At times it can be extremely useful to look at the way we see things and how we think of ourselves in the world. Are our beliefs really true, do they stand up to scrutiny, or do they serve other purposes ?
As well as to consider what is genuinely helpful and useful about the way we think.
Our minds are a lot like super computers we are capable of thinking literally at the speed of light, if we maintain and look after our mind and body, so at times it can be helpful to see if there is anything we can do to improve our wiring and functioning.
To summarize- we all have parts of ourselves, baggage that limits our potential .Many of our thoughts feelings and behaviour are out dated unconscious patterns and programs left over from childhood that do not serve us anymore. Sometimes we could use an external point of reference to help us to see a wider perspective, in order to gain insight and integrate these parts of the self into our lives.The main focus of my work is helping people to understand themselves better and then make use of that understanding and awareness to make positive change.
I believe that every individual is unique and special in their own way, my integrative training embraces this.
I invite you as my client to guide me to the areas of your life you feel are most relevant for you to address right now. I will then help you bring to light the parts of yourself currently outside of awareness.
High functioning relational supervision relationships are paramount to therapists & coaches being able to provide effective and ethical clinical work of a consistently high standard.
I have trained in a relational clinical supervision diploma, and I utilize the BACP core conditions and ethical framework as paramount in the supervision work that I do.
I invite supervisee’s to work hard and think creatively; to consider different perspectives and to utilize different approaches in order to learn as many new things about yourself and your clients, in order to help you to find what might be most beneficial to your clients and coachee’s through your working relationship.
Training & Experience
I’m now a certified Embodied Facilitator with- Integration Training
My main training was through an integrative BACP accredited advanced diploma at the Centre for Personal and Professional Development in North London. I chose this type of training because I believe that different aspects of a wide spectrum of theories can apply to any given situation. In other words, not trying to make a person fit into our training modality, regardless of whether it is applicable to them.
I have a relationship based clinical supervision diploma through Ibis Consultancy.
Other certificates & workshops-
The four elements Coaching model workshop- Integration Training
Embodied intersubjectivity in the clinic
Relational based clinical supervision
Short term contracts
Working with sandtray
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training
Living With Dissociation
Partners of Dissociative Survivors
Time limited counselling
I have worked with a wide diversity of client groups from many different cultures and backgrounds, and I have experience with many different issues, and a capacity to be with the most difficult of feelings as well as help find realistic and achievable solutions. I have gained my experience within NHS Primary Care, as well as with young people in schools via the YMCA, and I also have extensive experience in Counselling agencies such as the ‘As You Are’ centre in West Sussex, as well as running a busy private practice.