Welcome

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Counselling and Psychotherapy, North Oxfordshire, South Northants, Warwickshire and via videoconferencing.

I am a psychodynamic counsellor/psychotherapist working in private practice from a quiet rural location 8 miles north of Banbury and within easy reach of the surrounding towns and villages around Brackley, Daventry, Southam, Leamington Spa and Rugby.

People come to therapy for many and varied reasons and finding the right therapist to work with is extremely important if you are to succeed in realising your goals. You might have symptoms of low mood or anxiety or you might be experiencing difficult feelings around your relationships or at work but each and every one of us has a different life story that has contributed to how we are feeling in the here and now. None of us are the same but the one thing we do share is the reality and intensity of our emotions and how difficult these can be to understand at times. These feelings are trying to tell us something and they sometimes get in the way of leading the life we want to lead. My aim is to help people who struggle with how they feel about themselves and their close relationships, and to find new ways of approaching life and tolerating difficult emotions and feelings that just won’t go away.

The following are not based on real clients for reasons of confidentiality but they do represent the types of problems that have been helped in psychodynamic therapy:

John had a happy childhood. He couldn’t recall any difficulties or issues that have troubled him as an adult but he did feel he has never been understood by his close family. He didn’t feel particularly depressed and felt there was nothing his GP could do. He had previously tried CBT and a short period of counselling which hadn’t helped so he was sceptical about trying further talking therapy. He enjoys his challenging and fulfilling work but he has found that he gets frustrated in relationships and ends up pushing people away which has prevented him settling down. John wanted to know why he behaved as he did in his relationships and in spending a few weeks in psychodynamic therapy, he came to understand that it wasn’t so much what he was doing in his relationships but rather what he wasn’t doing. In thinking about how John experienced others and how he felt about himself, he was able to find new ways of communicating his needs so he felt more understood and able to talk more openly about his feelings.

In contrast, Graham, came to therapy because he had experienced a troubled childhood. His parents separated when he was young and he was taken away from a home and a school he loved only to be moved around from pillar to post, never really feeling that he had a secure homelife or parents who understood his needs. As an adult, he felt he had underachieved but since the breakup of his own marriage, he had become stuck in a negative cycle of thinking, typified by rigid thoughts that things would change for the better if only he could get a better job, find a new wife, buy the house of his dreams. However, his negative thinking stopped him from ever doing anything about moving forward and he was feeling depressed and lonely as his life seemed for ever held back by his unsatisfactory past. In psychodynamic therapy he was able to work on his maladaptive thought processes and he came to see that by continually focusing on what he didn’t have in the past, didn’t have to stop him drawing a line under those earlier stages of his life and that in order to allow himself to grow into his middle age, he needed to be more accepting of who he is and the strengths he has in the here and now. He came to understand that it was his internal dialogue that was holding him back and that his own demanding inner voice could become kinder and less critical. His experience of others as being demanding and critical was in fact mostly in his mind and in accepting this, he was able to start making positive moves to making changes in his sense of life direction.

Julie wanted therapy to deal with an intense feeling that she had to protect others from her negative thoughts. She worried that if she told others about her feelings, they would in turn worry too much about her and she felt she couldn’t do this to her partner and close family.  Julie’s father had abandoned the family when she was very young and she was brought up by her overly protective mother. The anxious and controlling nurturing Julie received from her mother left her with a strong sense that she had to keep her emotions from others in order to stop them worrying about her. In psychodynamic therapy, Julie came to understand that it is okay, that it is normal, to talk openly with our close partners and that the fears she had about the effect of her anxiety on them was linked to her earlier experiences as a child and that by addressing these fears in therapy, and having a relationship with her therapist where she could see and experience the positive effects of being open and talking, she was able to let go of her old ways of thinking.

Alex felt paralysed by the jealousy he experienced in his current relationship. He had an intense fear that his girlfriend would cheat on him and he dealt with this by being overly controlling but his girlfriend told him he was being critical and demanding and that she didn’t want to move in with him until he sorted himself out. Alex had previously been cheated on in earlier relationships and his mother had cheated on his father and left the family home for another man whom she also subsequently left. There was a strong repeating pattern in Alex’s life where he experienced anxiety around separation creating a strong fear of being abandoned. His psychodynamic therapy revolved around an exploration of what his needs were from his relationships and how he might communicate these more effectively to his partner. In talking through his anxieties with his therapist he gradually became more accepting of himself and his strengths. He gained in self-confidence and was able to see that in being open and less fearful in his relationship, that he was able to relax and be more honest in expressing his feelings which had a profound effect on his partners’ experience of him. They were able to move on in their relationship and subsequently moved in together.

David’s wife had recently told him she wasn’t sure if she loved him. She continually criticised him for not being present in their relationship and not doing enough to help around the house, particularly as they had four children. David had a responsible job in the city and was often away from home although he did work from home at least one or two days a week. He felt he was a good father and had positive relationships with his children. However, he felt paralysed by a comment made by his father when he was a boy that ‘he wasn’t good enough and he would come to nothing’. Despite David’s clear success professionally he felt he wasn’t good enough in his job and he wondered if he should resign. The threat of his marriage breaking down as well meant his father’s earlier prophecy was playing strongly on his mind leading to severe feelings of depression. David didn’t believe businessmen like him should take antidepressants so in despair he agreed to a course of psychodynamic therapy. In working with a male therapist, David experienced a new and different relationship where his strengths and achievements were acknowledged and celebrated rather than downplayed, as his father used to do. In spending time in therapy, David gradually let go of his fears of not living up to his father’s demanding expectations and he developed a stronger sense of self. He started exercising more, socialising more and being more present in his relationship with his wife, including reactivating their sex life which had suffered. The subtle shifts David made in exploring his fears and anxieties, challenging his behaviours and thinking about what was important to him allowed his depression to lift and a more positive outlook to develop.

I specialise in working one to one with adults either in open ended medium to long term therapy or with time limited Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy. If you would like to discuss the suitability of my type of therapy for your needs please contact me via the link below.

Psychodynamic therapists work with a broad range of underlying psychological issues where the presenting symptoms are depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties or issues around identity and struggles with finding meaning or purpose in life.

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