The first session
There will be an opportunity for me to find out more about you to assess if I can offer help and for you to get an experience of being with me. It is also an opportunity for you ask questions about therapy. I ask quite a few questions to gather information. I encourage people to go away and reflect after the first session to be sure that they want to start.
We generally start in the chairs facing each other. It is important for you to know that there will be no interruptions during the session and that the space is totally private and confidential. We may initially start like many other approaches talking about your past and current life and hopes and wishes for the future concentrating on patterns that are getting in the way and where you want to be.
Sometimes I will attend to your emotional experience by bringing my awareness to what I perceive to be happening in your body and from time to time I might feed this back to you. Sometimes people can experience this as a judgement or criticism. If this is the case, I encourage you to direct you attention as non- judgementally as possible to what is happening so we can together gather information and begin to make links to psychological patterns. If there are judgements I may encourage you to explore the significance and impact of them.
I may also from time to times use more active body based interventions such as touch, movement, massage, breath awareness or meditation and focussing on the body to evoke awareness of the fullness and complexity of your experience. For example if someone has come for psychotherapy for anxiety or depression I may invite them to lie on a mattress and together we will observe and pay attention to bodily experience such as excitation or numbness and see if we make connections to patterns in the person’s life. It is most important that you feel safe and you will never be asked to do anything that you do not feel OK about. Both spontaneous physical and energetic processes and cognitive reflection are given room. This is important for the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects. There are a whole host of techniques from Body Psychotherapy that can be used but since each person is unique I tailor the work to suit the individual and suggest whatever I feel might be useful to further that person’s process. Research has shown that the relationship between the therapist and the client and the client’s willingness to work are more reliable indicators of success in therapy rather than particular techniques.
You can find the locations of my South Somerset and South North Dorset practices here.