with Heather Johnson, MA, Registered Member MBACP
A Spiritual and Solution-Focused approach
My aims in working with you, regardless of your presenting issues, are:
1) To help you feel that there is a place of wholeness and integrity within you. This is where the spiritual/contemplative aspect comes in. There is an essential part of your being that is free from wounds and psychological limitations. Some people call this part the soul, true Self, or spirit. To me it doesn’t matter what we name it; the important thing is that there exists a part of you that is beyond the struggles and particular afflictions of your ego-self. Part of my job is to help you feel this part of yourself and develop a relationship with it. This groundedness in your being will help you have the strength and clarity to work through your difficult emotions and life problems.
2) To help you learn how to feel your emotions fully and let them pass, rather than repressing or avoiding them. Emotions are constantly arising in you like waves of energy. In order to let an emotion pass through without getting blocked, you have to let yourself feel it fully, without holding on to it or intellectualising it. This is a skill that has to be learned and practiced. Otherwise you are continually defending yourself against potential pain, and also getting caught in destructive loops of over-thinking and self-analysis.
3) To help you make a plan for change, and break it down into realistic steps. Making concrete changes in your daily routine, whether it is taking time for yourself, beginning to exercise or working toward a goal, can have a profound effect on your state of mind. If you want to feel differently, you have to do something differently. Small, simple actions that you commit to and accomplish will build your willpower and belief in yourself. Deep change often happens naturally over time, just from making small adjustments to our usual ways of thinking and being.
What you can expect from a session
You may want to come for counselling because of a particular challenge in your life, or from the desire to change a destructive pattern. You may be struggling with depression, anxiety, or wanting greater meaning in your life. Whatever might be prompting you to reach out, together we can explore not only the surface of the problem, but the deeper layers that may be underneath.
What I can offer you is deep listening, care and the desire to understand without making assumptions. My aim is to help you discern what is actually present for you- your emotions, desires, and needs–and then help you clarify what course of action is needed, if any. On a more practical level, you may wonder what a counselling session is like. It is my hope that it will feel warm and relaxing, like talking to a good friend. Where you can be at ease and feel understood, but also trust that you will be told the truth. My hope is that a session will help you to feel more like yourself, more in touch with who you really are, and inspired to express that truth in your life.
Scope of my practice
My training in counselling is based in the person-centered approach of Carl Rogers. I also integrate aspects of emotion-focused therapy into my practice, helping you to recognize core emotions and needs . I am a hypnotherapist as well, and have worked for many years helping people to change compulsive behaviors and subconscious habits. My goal is to emphasize and draw out the positive- your strengths and hidden capacities- and to help you envision a hopeful and inspiring future for yourself.
I feel that what I offer is best suited for those who have basic psychological stability, but who may be experiencing particular challenges such as mild depression, anxiety, loss, periods of change and inner turmoil, uncertainty about life direction, or spiritual and existential concerns. An initial consultation may be the best way to determine if my approach is a good fit for your specific needs. If you think you may be suffering from a diagnosable disorder which may require medication as part of your treatment, your GP is probably the best first point of contact. I would never hesitate to refer you on if I felt that your needs would not be met within the scope of my practice and skill.