Transactional Analysis (TA) psychotherapy is rooted in a psycho-dynamic framework of evidence-based research and practice in attachment theory and neuroscience. The core principle of TA is to develop greater awareness of how we think, feel and behave by exploring which of the three Ego States are present in our interactions, not only with other people but also in internal ‘transactions’ with ourselves. It is Eric Berne’s theory of Ego States: Parent-Adult-Child or 'PAC', that provides the name for my private practice.
The Integrative Psychotherapy model explores how our past experiences influence our present lives sometimes preventing us from feeling whole or 'integrated'. This approach challenges historical beliefs, behaviours and thoughts, enabling people to live more comfortably and less anxiously in the world. Richard Erskine's theory on Integrative Psychotherapy forms the foundation of my approach.
EMDR also takes an integrative psychotherapy approach with extensive research and evidence showing it to be an effective therapeutic intervention in the treatment of trauma. EMDR focuses on the past, present and future by targeting past experiences, current triggers and potential future challenges.
'The past affects the present even without our being aware of it.'
(Francine Shapino, originator of EMDR)
I believe that blending these disciplines allows me to adapt the therapy to more precisely meet individual needs. It also allows the therapeutic alliance to develop in a way that can contribute more effectively to therapeutic change. This professional approach, in tandem with a personal and career interest in the consequences of trauma, can be applied to a range of mental health difficulties or situations, most commonly including:
Developmental Trauma during childhood
Attachment and relational difficulties
What is the bravest thing you've ever said? asked the boy.
'Help,' said the horse. 'Asking for help isn't giving up,' said the horse.
'It's refusing to give up.
Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
If we share our shame story with the wrong person they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.
Notes on Trauma
No matter our age, trauma, when experienced, will always have an impact upon us. Living with the consequences of trauma can be complex, frightening, painful and distressing.
Often due to its multi-faceted nature, the trauma may not even be recognised. People can live in a traumatised state without the cognitive awareness of the event that caused the trauma. Free flowing, developmental growth can be interrupted by trauma and have an impact on our adult experiences of parenting or bereavement.
Not only is our relationship with others compromised, our relationship with ourselves can be too. Damaged self-esteem, negative thinking, and shame are ordinary reactions to trauma. It can have a detrimental effect on our ability to sustain and maintain long-term, loving relationships and friendships. Furthermore, the remaining imprints of a traumatic event, situation, or period of time in our lives, are often suppressed or diverted into behaviours that continue to damage our emotional and psychological stability.
Although the mental and emotional health consequences of trauma may seem to have similar characteristics, each individual is affected by trauma in their own way and will cope in their own way. For this reason, my work is not prescriptive, I work with individuals and their uniqueness.
The Therapy Process
In line with the work of Bessell Van Der Kolk, I acknowledge the 'whole person'. Behaviour, thoughts and feelings will be considered in our work together and this will create the structure for a process in which we begin to:
Examine how we interact and communicate in the present, in order to see and understand patterns of behaviour that link either directly or indirectly to our past experiences in life.
Develop an understanding of why we are as we are, and to see how behaviours and reactions formed to survive traumatic experiences in the past, become counterproductive and often damaging in the present.
This process of understanding helps to establish a degree of emotional distance from past trauma, enabling us to let go of some of the burden of responsibility for how we are in the present. This in turn gives us permission to see ourselves more positively both in terms of our relationship with ourselves and others. As we work with this increased awareness, the therapeutic relationship becomes a tool transferable to existing relationships in the external world.
All my work begins with a free 30-minute consultation to consider what you would like to achieve from working together in therapy and if you feel the therapy approach I use may be a ‘good fit’ for you. I will then complete a comprehensive assessment. From there we can set the goals for treatment together. I usually offer sessions once a week for 50 minutes. However, the frequency and duration of your treatment will be discussed as part of the initial assessment.
I prefer to offer face-to-face therapy sessions, however, I can also provide sessions online via Zoom and Microsoft ‘Teams’ or alternatively on the phone.
Notes on my location
I am based in Lancashire, Northern England.