I've worked in mental health as a counsellor in West Sussex, primarily Littlehampton and Worthing since 2011, firstly through the NHS Primary Care and then running my private practice.
As well as working for 10 years as a professional counsellor and CBT therapist, I also offer a unique experience of somatic (body-based) coaching. This allows you to examine and consider how your body reacts to stress and negativity in your life. For example how you might automatically frown or change your facial expressions, or unconsciously how your posture changes in response to a triggering situation like a confrontation or a dispute. There is a large body of clinical research on the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and physiological responses.
For more research on this check out the lifetime's work of embodiment master Paul Linden Ph.D.-
Mental Health in West Sussex
Many clients in West Sussex whom I treat with counselling and CBT, talk to me about their challenges with mental health, including depression, anxiety, workplace stress, boundaries with colleagues, and bullying in the workplace. These are a few examples, as well as relationship issues including divorce and separated families, children's arrangements disputes, secrecy, infidelity, domestic violence, as well as addiction and substance misuse.
Over several years of counselling in West Sussex, I've spoken with a lot of clients about dysfunctional and toxic relationship dynamics with family members and partners.
As well as how they do not feel heard or understood, sometimes in their personal life or at work in West Sussex.
Counselling and CBT can help us to separate our emotional responses in a triggering situation, helping us to reconsider what our choices are, and improve our mental health.
Many people that I've worked with in counselling and CBT in West Sussex, have told me they feel disconnected and isolated in the area they live and struggle to form meaningful relationships.
A lot of people who visit my counselling practice in West Sussex describe how they have very little meaning or purpose in their lives. By that, I mean meaningful relationships with others, and work and interests that they look forward to and enjoy, that add value to their lives.
This can play a significant part in how a person experiences anxiety and depression, as well as other issues with their mental health such a s low self-esteem.
What leads to poor mental health?
Addiction to negative thinking
Some of the clients that I've worked with at my West Sussex counselling and CBT practice have told me that at first, they struggle to see the connection between their mental health and their daily lives. By that I mean we can get blinkered by what we have been doing day in day out, sometimes for years. It becomes very difficult to see the benefits or the disadvantages to our physical and emotional selves and our mental health.
We're so enmeshed in our situation, a bit like how a heavy smoker or drinker who doesn't question their habits or lifestyle the way that they did when they first took up the unhealthy habit.
Think about this for a minute, addiction can also apply to many different patterns of behaviour with ourselves and even with others.
In the early stages, every cigarette or every drink is monitored, we work hard to convince ourselves that we are not addicted. Once we know that we are addicted, we stop analyzing our behaviour, or the consequences and pretend that it is normal. Or that it is us making a real choice. It rarely occurs to us that we are not really enjoying it. Perhaps because it might cause us to feel panic and distress, in the realization that we don't understand why we do things that we don't enjoy and that harm us.
We then give in to more and more cravings which increase more and more as time goes by. They may even get angry when others point out how their habit has increased.
I use this example as, many clients I have treated for depression, anxiety as well as self-esteem and addictions, in counselling and CBT in Littlehampton West Sussex. They have told me they believe that they have very little choice or room to change their lives. Sometimes this is due to life circumstances, and there is some truth in this, but often it is about not wanting to let go of unhealthy beliefs, habits, and addictions and finding the courage to try out new strategies and approaches.
Grief and loss
Many people I consult in my counselling and CBT practice in Littlehampton and West Sussex have suffered losses, around relationships or the death of loved ones.
They have told me about how grief and loss have affected their mental health and how they experienced anxiety and depression that was connected to grief and loss.
Often this can go unprocessed for many years, by this I mean they carry on as if nothing has happened. They may tell themselves unhelpful things like crying is weak or that they are too busy to grieve. In my counselling work, I help people to relearn that grieving is a natural and healthy process. As well as how it is very important in terms of moving forward and healing from a loss as best we can.
Grief and loss, as well as other types of disappointments, can lead to depression and anxiety if they are not fully addressed.
Anxiety and depression, when not diagnosed by a GP, are the mind and body's way of telling us something is wrong. Like a warning light, again you can read more about this in my Pdf course books below.
What we can do to improve our mental health?
As well as investing in better self awareness through counselling, CBT, and coaching.
We're all very fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the country,
and practicing activities that help us to self regulate are a great way to boost our energy reserves.
We have access to some amazing natural resources and environments. Many people I know regularly commit to outdoor activities, even in the winter. Those that they know contribute to their well-being and happiness. There is a growing community of wild swimmers all over East and West Sussex. Exposing ourselves safely to cold water has proven health benefits, as it forced the immune and endocrine systems to come back to life. If you struggle with depression or lack of energy, I strongly recommend finding a cold-water group to slowly and safely practice exposing yourself to the cold water. You will notice the benefits very quickly. For more on this please take a look at the Wim-Hof Method-
There is also a great number of meet-up groups, that specialize in activities like walking, cycling, running, playing sports and games. All kinds of social activities for all ages.
I have found in my Counselling and CBT work in West Sussex, that the main obstacles to improving mental health and lifestyle are, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and procrastination. These are the main barriers that prevent people from making positive changes to connect with new people.
You can learn more about these in my PDF courses below.
Our initial meeting
The first step is to arrange to meet face to face after an initial telephone discussion, so I can learn more about your past and current circumstances. Next, we plan a course of weekly sessions usually between 6-12 for our initial contract.
We agree on a focus for the work and goals, and review the goals and focus as we move through the work, whilst getting to know each other better. This is to help you decide if we need to continue beyond the initial working agreement.
A counselling relationship is very unique in that it has very clear boundaries around confidentiality and trust. One where you can come and share things you might not tell other people.
It is also a relationship exclusively for your benefit and I would only meet with you strictly for our sessions, but never socially.
This is so that I can ensure that I am fully available and professional to you at all times during our work together. You can read more about this in the BACP guidelines at the top of my home page.
I look forward to hearing from you and meeting with you, for a confidential assessment consultation to discuss how I can best help you.
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