Your life is not a series of separate events. It is a moment-to-moment experience with you at the centre. For that reason, most of the struggles we encounter are not discrete issues, but reflections of how we as a whole person have come to interact with others and with the world. In my work, then, I approach you as a whole person. You are a human being with a life to live, a potential to fulfill. You are not a problem. For that reason I prefer to avoid diagnostic labels, as these say nothing about what it is to be you.
Here are some issues that are common to human experience over the journey of a lifetime:
We are born into the world with an immense capacity for vibrant aliveness and joy. Just watch young children at play in the park or school playground. How often do you see adults playing with such exuberance without using alcohol or drugs? What happens to us that this natural vitality appears to drain away the older we get? As adults we cannot have the innocence and freedom of children, but we can reconnect with a zest for life.
Partners, parents, children, friends... Relationships can be the source of our greatest joys and our deepest miseries. Are you aware of who and what you are actually attracting with your energy and body language? Do you know the hidden scripts you are following when you seek a partner? What unconscious patterns do you play out in relationships?
Our sexuality is core to our identity, and problems in this area can be the cause of shame, loss of confidence and tension in relationships. Most of the common sexual problems are embodied symptoms of our beliefs and attitudes towards issues such as desire, need, trust, independence, power and self-expression. All the ways in which we relate (or do not relate) to others are manifested in our sexual behaviour. In fact, many of my clients working on other issues report dramatic improvements in their sex lives simply as a side-effect of the work.
During childhood we adopt certain strategies to cope with our emotional environment and to ensure parental approval. These strategies become second nature, so much part of our character that we may not even realise they are there. We hold these strategies as both 'mental scripts' and patterns of chronic muscular tension (body armour). Frequently these strategies do not serve us well in adult life and result in patterns of behaviour that undermine us. The patterns may also seem to be 'out there' in the world or in other people. Coincidences do happen, but repeating patterns in life are a sure sign that some deep issue needs to be addressed.
Being the victim of a shocking event (such as an accident, burglary or rape) can lead us to lose trust in the world and feel full of fear and anxiety. Sometimes these feelings heal with time and the support of friends and family. Sometimes they persist, and may even get worse, with flashbacks and panic attacks: this is post-traumatic stress, and is due to the nervous system not 'resetting' correctly, preventing the brain from assigning the incident to the past. Body-centred techniques are very powerful in helping the body rebalance and you to recover.
Power often gets a bad press: in many people's minds it is associated with 'abusive power'. But we all need personal power in order to achieve anything in life: it is the engine that drives us. Without it we are helpless victims of circumstance.
Anger is often regarded as negative emotion. In fact, it is perhaps the best and most important one, as its sole function is to look after you. One problem is that appropriate anger often triggers rage (historical, 'compressed' anger). Another common problem is that people who have a negative view of anger often do not understand that it ranges from mild assertiveness to defensive attack, and do not know how to comfortably and appropriately move along this range.
We have all negative beliefs about ourselves: "I can't, I'll never, I'm not..." Often we know all too well what they are. But many more negative beliefs may be hidden outside of consciousness - and these can often affect us more than the ones we know about, undermining us without our being aware.
A certain level of stress is good, as it gears us up for action. But when it becomes too high we can lose perspective and cease being in control of our lives; if too persistent, it can be locked in as an anxiety that impacts all areas of our life. Our judgment may become impaired, everything may seem overwhelming and we may be unable to see a solution. When it becomes a constant drain on our emotional and physical resources then we need to take action to deal with it.
Everyone occasionally suffers from fatigue - a general, persistent tiredness. This may be due to overwork or anxiety, but sometimes the cause is not clear. I can help you regain your energy or find out why it is happening. I can also help with insomnia, nightmares and other sleep-related problems.
Your body holds your emotional history just as much as your mind does, and what you are today is the sum of everything that has ever happened to you. Trying to 'soldier on' in the face of emotional wounds may help you cope, but it is a strategy that does not work on the body, and the stress of inner conflicts and tensions may result in persistent poor health or 'dis-ease.' This may include chronic conditions such as ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
We humans are relational beings: we see ourselves in the mirror of other people. In order to feel lovable we must once have been loved; in order to feel valuable we must once have been valued. Where positive past experience has been lacking, people tend to either collapse in on themselves or thrust out in an aggressive and controlling manner. What is needed is to work on both one's mental scripts and body armour in a safe, supportive and caring environment.
There are various stages to life. Some are marked by physiological changes, such as puberty, menopause and ageing; others are purely psychosocial (matters of behaviour and the way we relate to the world), but are no less real. Each stage brings its own challenges and opportunities to grow as a person - or to stagnate. Successfully navigating the transition from one stage to the next involves finding a healthy balance between the positive and negative aspects; this may be complicated by the fact that each transition may trigger unresolved issues from earlier stages.
Life can throw all sorts of things at us that school never taught us how to manage. Personal struggles, family problems, work issues, accidents and unexpected events can leave us not knowing where to turn. I can help you work through whatever is happening in your life.
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in mysticism and spirituality, with many people exploring shamanism, Wicca, magic, esoteric ritual, tantra and the use of psychic healing, vibrational medicine and spirit & angel guides. Such explorations can trigger a massive identity crisis in which our psychological and emotional foundations seem to be turned upside-down. Experiences of altered states, alternate reality and liminal spaces can also cause great confusion about the nature of reality.
We all need money to live, and we will spend a significant proportion of our adult lives acquiring it. Our job may be the focus of our lives, and many of us will even spend more time with our colleagues than with our partners. We work long hours (often sandwiched between stressful commuting), and the nature of our society does not promote healthy family lives. A healthy lifestyle balances work, play and loving relationships.
Life... Do you wonder what it's all about? Are there unanswered questions running through your mind: Is this all there is? I want to make something of my life - I don't know what I want, but I do know it isn't what I have... We live in a goal-oriented society: we pursue success, promotions, better jobs, bigger houses, more material goods... But why? What is it to be sane in a crazy world? What does it all mean? If we're going to die anyway, what's the point?
It is normal to feel down or blue once in a while, but depression is another matter. It can wreck our quality of life, and the way it drains energy can make it hard to manage. Advice on what to do is not much help if you struggle to get out of bed or take care of your basic needs. Relying on prescription antidepressants is rarely a viable long-term solution, although they may be very useful to stabilise the current situation.
Losing a loved one can turn our world upside-down and can plunge us into a range of emotions: shock, fear, relief, guilt, anger, grief - or complete numbness. There may be so many emotions and of such intensity that it is bewildering. Time does heal, and many people come through the grieving process with the support of friends and family. But sometimes people get stuck and struggle to find meaning and achieve the acceptance that allows them to live again; others simply do not have the necessary support available - and it is not good to be alone with death.
To completely misquote Winston Churchill: "We shall fight at the supermarket, we shall fight in the restaurant and in the kitchen, we shall fight on the bathroom scales, we shall fight at the gym; we shall never surrender." Is this how things are with your body? Wouldn't it be less frustrating and more productive to replace mutual antagonism with a relationship based on love and understanding?
Athletes, dancers, singers, practitioners of yoga and other physical disciplines can benefit from identifying places of deep chronic tension that affect both movement and breathing, as well as addressing the muscular imbalances that may develop from habitual exercise routines.
When speaking in public, body, breath and emotional connection are all vitally important, and without these essential groundings it can be hard to give a confident performance. This is true whether you're an actor, TV presenter or giving presentations at conferences or corporate events. I can help you assess and redress areas of weakness to become more centred in yourself.
Our inner world is a place of boundless complexity and an endless source of fascination - and of potentail. Just as life itself is not static, neither are we - we are always 'work in progress'. Whether you want to explore a specific area or just want to experience the journey, deep bodywork can give you fresh insights and open new doors.
These are just some of the conditions I work with. Whether they are best addressed through depth therapy or through transformative bodywork is something that we can discuss over the phone or at a consultation session. I offer a free consultation session that carries no obligation.
Feel free to call or email me to discuss how I might help you.