Please note that for the moment I am not available to see new clients.
Hello, and thank you for visiting my profile. My name is Maurice, and I've been in private practice as a counsellor and psychotherapist for over 17 years. During this time I founded and developed The Hope Street Centre to the thriving place that it is today.
Throughout my years as a therapist, I have learned that many people struggle along in life, carrying debilitating feelings (such as fear) which limit their lives. This is a pity because these conditions can often be cleared up remarkably quickly with talking therapy and some practical actions.
I trained in techniques from various branches of therapy, including person-centred counselling, psychodynamic therapy and psychosynthesis, transactional analysis and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I have taken an active interest in neuroscience and consciousness research, which has enabled me to develop unique approaches to the issues clients bring to me. These have proved highly effective, particularly in the field of personality change. With my training and years of experience, I find that I can help with most mental health issues that clients bring. Even where there are severe conditions which need a more medicalised approach, there are often ways in which I can provide support in the background.
Fear, anxiety and phobias
I have worked extensively with issues such as fear, anxiety and phobias. These are areas where cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can often be helpful. Sometimes the cause is more deep-seated and a psychodynamic approach to uncover the historical roots of the anxiety may be more effective.
Trauma occurs when we experience strong emotions such as fear which threaten to overwhelm us. Our brains try to manage this by closing down the memories that were extremely threatening, but this is only partially effective, and they sometimes leak out causing disturbing “flashbacks”. By working through the trauma gently and gradually, it is possible to facilitate it being processed by the brain. When this is done, we don't forget the unpleasant memories, but they no longer have the same power over us that they previously had.
Stress and depression
I've put these two conditions together because they are often confused, and many clients I see who are being treated for depression are suffering from stress. Prolonged stress can have severely damaging effects on the body and brain, but the good news is that if diagnosed early and the appropriate changes made before reaching the “burnout” stage, it is reversible and recovery can be speedy. People who reach burnout often describe it as a “breakdown” and at this stage recovery can take months or even years.
The issue with treating stress as depression is that the antidepressants mask the effects of stress. This allows the stressed person to keep pushing themselves for longer so that when the breakdown eventually occurs, it is far worse. True depression that is not caused by stress is a more elusive condition because there are so many different reasons why it happens: bereavement, loss, failure, illness, hormonal deficiency, to poor diet. Sometimes depression has a deeper-rooted cause, such as a lack of purpose in life, which is where the techniques of psychosynthesis can be helpful. Where depression is not too severe, there are some techniques from CBT which can also be useful.
I can work with couples or individuals to help resolve problems in relationships. Often couples find themselves in arguments that start for the most trivial of reasons and escalate out of control. At the most basic level relationship counselling can provide a safe place where couples can say what needs to be said, while I act as a referee to prevent the anger getting out of hand. Going beyond this basic communication, I have found the techniques of Transactional Analysis (TA) to be very helpful. So much so that I have written two booklets on two of the TA models: The Parent-Adult-Child (PAC) Model and The Drama Triangle. By writing about these models, I hope to make them accessible to my clients to work with, in their own time.
With the widespread awareness and popularity of CBT has come a realisation that it deals mainly with behaviour change. While this can be helpful in many cases, sometimes the problem goes deeper, and behaviour change isn't enough. For some clients, a change to their personality is required for permanent change, and this requires a deeper approach.
In an attempt to bridge this gap, a bewildering array of new therapies have sprung up, often with catchy titles such as CAT, DBT, Schema Therapy and Compassion Therapy to name but a few. Clients are advised to seek one of these “branded” therapies, only to find that there are frustratingly few practitioners trained to do them. No therapist can afford to be trained in all of them, and those that do train can command very high fees.
By getting down to the basic principles of personality, and understanding why we get stuck in dysfunctional patterns, I have been able to evolve a method which achieves harmonisation of the personality without the additional complexity of the branded therapies. This method can be useful where a client has been diagnosed with a “personality disorder”, and can also help where the behaviour change therapies have not been sufficient or have worked for a while, but the results have not been maintained.
It is tempting to think of therapy as just something to fix psychological problems, but it can be much broader than that. Sometimes we get the feeling that we're not fulfilling our true potential, that we could be more creative, or we want to overcome some limitation to our development. Therapy can help us to be better partners, to be more caring parents, and to work more effectively with employees or our superiors. It can help creative people to overcome blocks, and business people to promote themselves more confidently.
I have become very interested in how modern food production is affecting the health of many people, leading to an explosion of chronic illness. GP's and hospitals are swamped with patients seeking help for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, digestive disorders and many more. In addition to physical problems, toxins in our food, water and environment can cause mental health issues. For example, serotonin production is disrupted, mitochondrial damage leads to loss of energy and illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and toxic overload to our liver and kidneys can put many of our brain and body systems under pressure. It is particularly important to consider toxins in food when dealing with stress and depression. These toxins are also implicated in Autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other conditions.
We live in an age when there always seems to be bad news, and this can grind away at our optimism and confidence. Whether it's economic collapse, corruption, climate change, environmental degradation, species extinction, overpopulation or regional conflicts, there always seems to be something to worry about. These are genuine concerns, they are not just “all in the mind”, so therapy of itself cannot solve them. What I as a therapist can do is to allow you to talk about your concerns in an accepting and non-judgemental way, and help you to formulate your lifestyle choices accordingly.
This is not just something that's in the future. More and more people have had their lives disrupted by global events, and working through the loss and trauma that these experiences have caused is a first step in finding a way forward. Each has to choose how they wish to respond - some move “off-grid”, some become politically active or work to help the disadvantaged. Some may decide not to have children or experiment with alternative forms of sexuality; some may prefer a simpler, less materialistic lifestyle while others may embrace a life of service or contemplation.
If you are considering changes such as these, I am more than happy to help you with the psychological issues that are raised.
I am “walking the talk”: my book Crisis: Recover: Rebuild is a writing project that helped me explore the issues of civilisation breaking down, and my Sanctuary project carries this further into the practical aspects of survival.
Should you wish to work with me on any of the areas described above, then please contact me to book. I work during the week on a Thursday and Friday and also offer weekend appointments.
Please note: Starting March 2018 I will be unable to offer regular weekly appointments due to travelling to Scotland to work on The Sanctuary. I expect to be available for approximately two weeks out of four.