Anxiety is normal. Yes, I just said that! Many of us grow up with the idea that anxious feelings are negative and to be avoided at all costs, yet struggling to push them away can make us feel even worse.

My approach uses Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), a therapy rooted in clinical research that is effective in treating a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma and more. In a nutshell, it involves accepting that we can’t always change what we think and feel, but we can choose how to respond to our thoughts and feelings differently, allowing us to focus on living our lives the way we want to.

I blend ACT with compassion-based, attachment and somatic (body-based) philosophies  to provide a creative and practical approach.  I believe that human connection is at the heart of successful therapy outcomes, and I aim for a rich and productive therapeutic relationship in which you feel safe, heard and able to move forward in your life.

anxiety is normal

Anxiety is a normal and natural response to our existence. It is the way we deal with it that is the problem. When we try to avoid anxiety we can actually end up making it worse. In our sessions together I will help you to learn new ways of relating to your anxiety, so that it has less of a grip on your life. You will learn skills that will provide you with tools to take out into the world and start using straight away.

the mind thinks it is protecting you

Your mind is trying to keep you safe – it has evolved to monitor the environment constantly for threats. Back when we lived in caves, this made good sense, and it kept us alive. In the modern world it is not always so helpful. By working with our anxiety as a survival strategy that doesn’t always serve us, we can develop new ways of responding to it.

it is ok to feel

Most of us grow up with strong messages from family and society that feelings like anger and sadness are undesirable, shameful, embarrassing and destructive. We hide and suppress so-called negative emotions and criticise ourselves (and others) when they show up. We try to avoid difficult feelings, and this emotional avoidance leads us to rigid thought processes, and pain that has nowhere to go. By learning to turn gently towards these feelings we soften their impact on us, and liberate ourselves to respond more flexibly when we are triggered by them.

find the power in your pain

When it comes down to it, we worry because we care. And often the seeds of our anxiety contain the things that are most precious to us in life. By identifying our values and what matters most we can learn to harness the power in our pain and take practical steps that go in the direction we want to follow.

move towards meaning

We are taught to pursue happiness, yet it is a transient state that we can never expect to inhabit permanently. By shifting our focus towards meaning and purpose we acknowledge both the joy and the suffering that make up a richer, more fulfilling experience of living.

do what works

Sometimes, avoiding our experience works. For instance, taking paracetamol to suppress a headache is a good option when we want to get on with our day. Avoiding things isn’t always a problem. We don’t have to embrace every feeling that comes our way! But when we can’t get rid of our difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations – when they keep coming back, no matter what we do – then it’s time to try something new.