A mindfulness based approach
My psychotherapy training is in a mindfulness based approach called Core Process Psychotherapy (CPP). This particular approach integrates concepts of mindfulness and awareness with modern psychological perspectives and approaches.
This approach to counselling and psychotherapy does not require you, as the client, to be a mindfulness practitioner, nor indeed to be familiar with what mindfulness is. Rather, my own mindfulness practice is intended to help support me in my work, both through bolstering my resilience as a therapist and through enhancing the therapeutic space I offer. Mindfulness is about meeting whatever is happening in the present moment with awareness, compassion, warmth and non-judging acceptance. All therapists aim to provide a therapeutic space imbued with these qualities. In the case of mindfulness-based counsellors and psychotherapists, these qualities are underpinned by their own awareness and mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness may also come into our work together in other ways. For instance, during sessions, an awareness of what is happening in the present moment may be used to support an exploration of thoughts and feelings and their expression in the body, as well as the mind.
Normally I do not not teach mindfulness during therapy appointments, but if you were interested in exploring practical approaches to developing mindfulness, then this could be included in our work together. I also offer mindfulness coaching, which sits outside of therapy and is intended to support you in identifying meaningful and practical ways to introduce awareness and mindfulness practice into your life.
I offer short term therapy ( around 8-16 weeks in length), as well as longer term therapy of up to three years. In the case of short-term therapy, the work tends to focus on the particular issue, or issues that have prompted you to seek therapy. You may for instance be experiencing or be recovering from a period of transition in your life – a home move, a bereavement, the end of a relationship, or loss of a job. You may therefore decide that you want to use the therapeutic space to support you in working through the thoughts and feelings arising from this event.
It may be that there is no particular event or situation that has led you to explore the option of therapy. The counselling and psychotherapeutic space is also be used to work on feelings such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress and low self-esteem. An exploration of what supports and resources you in you life would likely also occur in short term work.
Long term therapy shares some similarities with short term work, but typically allows more time to explore the connections between your past experiences and your current thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It also allows space to notice and better understand your inner psychological processes and interpersonal dynamics. Insights from our work together also have the opportunity to further bed themselves into your day-to-day life.
While we may agree a notional length to our work at the start of therapy, this can be revisited at any time. Normally I would suggest meeting for six appointments to begin with and then for us to use the therapeutic space to reflect on where we want to go from there.
What goes into becoming a psychotherapist?
Psychotherapy trainings, such as Core Process Psychotherapy, are typically delivered to a postgraduate level and involve years of teaching, practice and personal and professional development. It was, for instance, a requirement of my psychotherapy training that students undertake personal therapy for at least a year prior to starting and for four years during the training itself. The training also expected students to develop mindful awareness through regular mindfulness practice. This commitment to deep self-work underpins a Core Process psychotherapist’s capacity to hold a client’s process and ability to provide a therapeutic space where in-depth inquiry can occur.
The images on this page show the consultation rooms I use for client practice at EH1 Therapies in central Edinburgh.