I am a qualified psychotherapist and a certified Open Dialogue practitioner, with 20 years experience working in mental health services. I am accredited and practice under the code of ethics of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
I trained at the Philadelphia Association in London, established by R.D. Laing, because of the emphasis in this training on Eastern and Western philosophy, as well as psychoanalysis, and because of the Philadelphia Association’s history of working with people experiencing ‘psychosis’, in both therapeutic communities and individual work. I place the word psychosis in inverted commas because I think it is important to call into question the words we use, and because people will mean different things when they use this word.
I would describe my psychotherapeutic style as relational, by which I mean that I am present in the room (as opposed to a more distant ‘blank screen’), and phenomenological (I focus primarily on the experience of each individual as opposed to preconceived diagnoses and interventions). I am influenced by many psychoanalytic thinkers, as well as Buddhism and Western philosophy (largely phenomenological and postmodern).
I enjoy working with a variety of people, with those who are looking to deepen their insight/awareness, to free themselves from disturbing, confusing or unsatisfying ways of being and relating, and/or to come to terms with traumatic experiences. I have a particular interest in working with people who attract a diagnosis of ‘psychosis’, ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘borderline personality disorder’. I have considerable experience working with people who attract these diagnoses, in both therapeutic communities and individual work. I am also actively involved in developing community/family based approaches to ‘psychosis’. As well as individual work, I offer consultancy sessions for families struggling with someone experiencing ‘psychosis’ (please note the initial free appointment does not apply to consultancy sessions), as well as Open Dialogue sessions to families and networks (see below for more information). I currently work in private practice in London.
The Open Dialogue approach is both a philosophical/theoretical approach to people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families/networks, and a system of care, developed in Western Lapland in Finland over the last 25-30 years. Research into the use of the approach for families affected by psychosis has shown the best documented outcomes in the Western World. For example, around 75% of those experiencing psychosis have returned to work or study within 2 years and only around 20% are still taking antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up. Though the research has focused largely on psychosis, the Open Dialogue approach is used with all those presenting to psychiatric services in Western Lapland. For more information on the Open Dialogue approach, please see the Open Dialogue UK website.
I have completed a two year training in the Open Dialogue approach with Mary Olson, Jaakko Seikkula, Markku Sutela and others. Work is now underway to support the development of the approach in the NHS in the UK. In addition to this I am able to offer Open Dialogue sessions to families/networks in London, working with a colleague. Further details can be found on the Open Dialogue UK website here.