Counselling & Psychotherapy that gets to the heart of things.
General Counselling and Psychotherapy
General counselling is available to explore any difficulty that is troubling you. It is a space in which a person who is trained to listen to you in particular way can help you to spot patterns of behaviour that may be getting in the way of you living with greater ease. It is a place to be, to feel, to explore, to think, to play with ideas, and to experiment with different ways of being and relating, both to yourself and others.
You may choose to come to therapy at a time of crisis, or maybe the time has simply come for you to deal with something that you have not wanted to look at for a long time, maybe even a lifetime. Maybe you have been running from some aspect of yourself and you are tired of running, or maybe you have been managing the problem and you are tired of managing, ready to get to the heart of things now and feel freer. Or maybe you would just like a place to work out a few things, a place that’s just for you and just about you. Or maybe you just like therapy. That’s okay too.
In therapy we aim to navigate a path through your struggle together, bringing together my skills and experience and your knowledge of yourself to help us on that journey. Psychotherapy takes time, commitment, and it can be challenging at times, but it is a unique space in which to explore who and how you want to be in the world. It is an opportunity to reclaim forgotten or hidden parts of yourself the loss of which may be affecting your overall well-being, your life, and your relationships.
If we decide that we’re a good fit to work together, I’ll be ready to take on the challenge with you.
Attachment and Relationships
You may have noticed patterns of difficulty in your relationships, or issues that keep coming up over and over again that you are at a loss to resolve. Maybe you have difficulties with intimacy that you would like to explore or you may have noticed that you often pull away from a partner(s). Maybe you get stuck in a ‘push/pull’ dynamic that is distressing for you. Or maybe you keep finding yourself in the position of wanting more from a partner than they can or will give. However the issue shows up, when we are struggling in our relationships, we can end up feeling frustrated, alone, or with a sense of emptiness.
You may be having difficulties with boundaries in your relationships, either collapsed (too quick to give, tend to lose yourself in relationships) or rigid (too quick to pull back, afraid to get close).
You may be struggling sexually, with feelings of shame (may show up as self-consciousness or feeling exposed), or difficulty with physical intimacy and affection.
It would be simplistic and inaccurate to attribute all of the above to attachment difficulties, and yet, attachment very often has some role to play. Our experiences with our earliest caregivers set the stage, creating a template of expectation that we carry with us throughout our adult lives and relationships. If our needs were not met adequately as babies and small children, it is likely that we will not expect them to be met as adults and this has consequences for the way we relate to others.
Likewise, developmental trauma - early loss, abuse, and physical and emotional neglect - can have consequences for our relationships that last into adulthood.
In therapy, we can think together about both your current and early experiences and create space to grieve painful experiences that you may never have had the opportunity to hold space for before. Ultimately, our goal will be to nurture the primary relationship in your life - the relationship you have with yourself.
LGBTQI+ Related Issues
If you identify as queer or LGBTI+, you might be looking for a person who has experience of Dublin’s queer community and some understanding of the issues that can arise both in the community and beyond as a queer person navigating a hetero-normative and cis-normative society. As an active member of the lesbian and queer women’s community, I can offer you what experience and understanding I have. While I certainly can’t claim to be an expert in all things queer (who can?), it might give us a bit of ‘cultural shorthand’ as we work together.
On the other hand, you might just be beginning to explore your sexual or gender identity and haven’t even thought about getting involved in the community yet. You might have questions about your identity and need time and a welcoming and queer-affirmative space in which to think and feel your way through them. I aim to accompany you for as long as you need, to avoid assumptions based on stereotypes, and to be open to whatever decisions feel right for you.
Or maybe you are clear about your identity but are having difficulty accepting yourself. Culturally we are still raised to see heterosexuality and cisgender identity as the norm and sometimes we internalise that messaging which can create feelings of shame and difficulty with self-love and self-acceptance. Not dealing with these issues can affect relationships, quality of life, and can also make it very difficult to respond to transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, heteronormativity and cisnormativity effectively and in a way that supports our sense of self and personal dignity. Having a trained listening ear can help while working through these issues.
Of course, you may be a LGBTQI+ person who would like to deal with issues that have nothing at all to do with your sexual or gender identity. I get that it’s not always about queer experiences and I aim to be guided by whatever feels important you.
I have also engaged in training in LGBTQI+ experiences.
Childhood Abuse and Neglect
For many people who have experienced childhood abuse and neglect, even feeling deserving of being in therapy and offering themselves that space to speak and to nurture themselves can be a challenge. It is not unusual for the child’s experience to be diminished and minimised leaving the child, and later the adult, unsure of whether their experience is really worth tending to. For what it’s worth, if you are asking the question, if you’re wondering if your experience of abuse/neglect is still impacting your life and your relationships in ways that limit your peace and well-being, I believe it is worth tending to, in whatever way you choose to do it.
There are many ways your emotional life may be affected by a history of abuse or neglect, but some of them include:
Having difficulty asking for help or feeling deserving of it.
A harsh inner judge or critic – may feel like you have a bully living in your own head.
Outbursts of anger or rage, or anger turned inwards towards the self in the form of self-blame. Or both.
Feeling guilty for having needs.
Sensitivity to rejection or rejecting others before they get the chance to reject.
Difficulty accessing emotions, or emotions feel too big to handle – they may ‘take you over’.
Difficulty with intimacy – emotional, physical, and/or sexual.
Fight, flight, freeze response triggered in situations that appear safe on reflection.
Feeling confused about your emotions, relationships, and your sense of who you are.
If you choose to begin therapy to address these issues, you will have a space in which you can speak freely about your experience in your own time. A therapist who is experienced with issues of abuse and neglect will understand that building trust takes time and that unpacking the impact of abuse is a process that needs to unfold at the client’s pace.
As a therapist, I have 13 years of experience working with issues of abuse – emotional, physical, and sexual, and issues of neglect – both physical and emotional. In more recent years, I have specialised in sexual trauma, including child sexual abuse.
Trauma incl. Sexual Trauma
Following a traumatic event the nervous system is overwhelmed and it is not unusual to feel like you’re going crazy, when in fact your body is doing precisely what it is supposed to do – sending a signal from your brain to your nervous system to be highly vigilant and prepared for the worst. It can be hard to think clearly, you may feel low in mood, afraid/anxious/panicky, jumpy, helpless, angry, disconnected or a bit ‘surreal’. You may have flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares and/or have difficulty sleeping. All of these and more are normal following a traumatic event/s, as your body is in self-protection mode and much of your energy is going into trying to keep you safe from something terrible happening again (yes, even if you are now safe!).
Often, with support and a consistently safe environment to rest and recover in, these symptoms will subside in time. However, sometimes the ‘alarm keeps going off’ as though it doesn’t know that the trauma is over and this can be distressing and life-limiting.
In the first instance, shortly following the trauma, you may need support and a safe space to speak about what has happened in your own time. You may benefit from understanding what is happening in your brain and in your nervous system and how you can help it to get back on track – though, please remember, our bodies can be slower than we would like them to be. Re-establishing safety for the nervous system does take time.
In the second instance, when the alarm has been going off for some time and isn’t showing signs of easing, it may help to explore what could be getting in your way. It is not unusual for the coping mechanisms we have developed earlier in our lives to work against us following trauma and unpacking this may create more choice or help to clear the path forward.
The key to safe trauma therapy is working at the pace of your own nervous system, which can be a challenge in itself. However, while we cannot take the trauma away, integration of your experience can help it to move into the background so that your energy is freed up for you to live your life again. Life may look different than before, but many people find that while life may feel different following trauma and its integration, the process of integrating it can bring both growth and hope.
It is important to work with a skilled and experienced therapist when working through trauma and I have several years’ experience specialising in trauma work, having worked in Rape Crisis as a psychotherapist and as a support worker with women experiencing domestic violence.
Outdoor Therapy /Walk and Talk
Outdoor therapy, also known as eco-therapy, is now available, and takes place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, and in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.
Therapy in the outdoors gives us the opportunity to explore our relationship to nature and our place in it, to draw on nature and the elements as metaphor and teacher, and to explore the experience of movement and the wisdom of the body in ways that are not available to us when we are sitting face to face in the counselling room.
For people who find the experience of sitting face to face too much or find the gaze of the therapist to be intolerable (this is not unusual, particularly for some people who have been traumatised or abused, or for some people who are neurodivergent), we have a chance to instead walk side by side, making eye contact in a more natural way, or even not at all.
Outdoor therapy is open to all who are interested in exploring it and I invite you to explore it with me if you are moved to.
When you get in touch, we will need to have an initial phone call to discuss the practicalities of what we will do if the weather is stormy, agree how we will deal with it if either of us meet someone we know, and discuss confidentiality and the places that you would feel comfortable walking and talking freely.
If you have any mobility issues or health concerns that might be an issue for you when walking for a longish period, please let me know at this time also.
Outdoor and walk and talk therapy is available in one hour and one and half hour sessions.
Fees are as follows:
1 hour: €70
1 and half hours: €100