As a Psychotherapist professionally trained in Psychology, Women’s Studies, Gestalt Psychotherapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for trauma, I work from a holistic perspective. What that means is that whilst working with you, I take into account all of the factors that make up who you are and how you got to be where you are now.
As everyone is different, sessions are tailored to meet your particular concerns and interests. I use a combination of depth psychotherapy and everyday coping strategies.
How I Work
I talk with you
If you come to see me, we will sit and chat. We will talk about what is important to you and what is concerning you. We will work through these concerns together. For some people, that does the trick. For other people, I might work in some of the following ways.
While we are talking, I might ask you to notice how you feel in your body. Or I may for example, comment on the way you are clenching your jaw as you talk. The reason for this, is that we hold our emotions and our memories in our body.
It is accepted knowledge that when we are stressed, we may get tight shoulders, or when we are nervous, we may feel butterflies in our stomachs. This way of working, taps into this often-overlooked body-knowledge and adds further depth to the therapy.
I have a special interest in trauma therapy. I work with my clients to both manage strong feelings, and to address the root causes.
I use strategies to support symptoms of anxiety & depression – such as grounding, orienting, mindfulness, relaxation & movement.
I use talk-therapy to explore the underlying causes of my clients’ struggles.
I work with subtle body posture, facial expression and movement to work through long-held trauma.
When working with trauma, it is important that my clients feel safe and do not become too overwhelmed. There are many ways to achieve this and it is always a priority.
Sometimes I use creative therapy techniques to work with memories, situations and feelings that are difficult to verbalise.
If it is of interest to you, there are times when I may suggest we use some drawing, prompt cards, or other creative activities to look at an issue or a feeling from a different perspective. It is always amazing to see what comes out of such sessions. Often my clients discover something about themselves, or the situation they are in that talking alone had not revealed.
I understand that some people have absolutely no interest in working in this way, and that is okay, it is not for everyone. If it is not for you, we won’t do it.
However, some people choose to work with me specifically because they are drawn to a creative style of therapy.
I regularly use creative methods with my younger clients. It is often much easier for them to express themselves through a creative activity than through talking.
Some examples of creative methods I use are:
- Creating a timeline of your life.
- Body mapping – tracing your body on paper, then filling in the places where you feel different emotions and sensations.
- Sand tray – using a tray of sand and a huge selection of miniatures to create a scene that depicts something with which you are struggling.
- Using colours to draw how you feel.
Mindfulness & Grounding
I often use mindfulness and grounding techniques with my clients. They can be used to manage anxiety and other difficult and overwhelming sensations and emotions. We do these together in the session and it is also something I may suggest to do between sessions.
Some examples are:
- Focusing on the sounds, colours, shapes and smells in the room.
- Focusing on the breath.
- Focusing on specific sensations in the body.
I am influenced by the inner child work of Lucia Capacchione. There are numerous ways to work with the inner child – those parts of ourselves that were not (and are still not) listened to or cherished in the way they needed to be.
An exercise I am particularly fond of, is using the non-dominant hand to write out a conversation between your adult self and your child self. It is always very revealing. Other ways I may work with your inner child is through drawing, role-playing, or body awareness.
Where appropriate, I may share information with my clients about the evidenced-based theories behind the issues we are working on.
I have a small number of clients who bring their pet to our sessions. This supports them in feeling safer to work on difficult issues in therapy. This is something we have discussed and negotiated before doing a trial-run. I have found it works well with some pets and not with others. If you are interested in bringing your pet to a therapy session, please discuss this with me first.
I am an accredited Gestalt Psychotherapist. I was drawn to Gestalt as it is involves having relaxed, real conversations, with the underlying premise being that how we heal, is through becoming aware of who we are right here, right now. It encompasses mindfulness, self-compassion, creativity and body awareness. It is about becoming aware of the disowned parts of ourselves and embracing all of who we are. It’s a really lovely and effective therapy and I love working in this way.
HAES (Health At Every Size)
I am a verified HAES Practitioner. This means I respect all bodies and believe that it is possible to be healthy in a variety of different sized, shaped and abled bodies.
I support “…people of all sizes in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviours. It is an inclusive movement, recognizing that our social characteristics, such as our size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status, and other attributes, are assets, and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well.” (Linda Bacon, Health at Every Size)
None of the above
Sometimes what you need is none of these things. Instead, you may just want someone to listen and witness your struggle from one human to another. If that is the case, that is what we will do. There are no rules.
Common reasons people come to see me
• Eating Disorders
• Weight Stigma
• Body Image
• Childhood issues impacting the present
• Struggling with relationships (family, partner, friendships, work)
The majority of my clients are women between the ages of 17 and 55. I also have some wonderful male clients.
Many of my clients identify as LGBTQI.
Many of my clients struggle with body image, eating disorders, the effects of weight stigma, anxiety and self-worth.
I occasionally hold trauma-informed workshops and group therapy
Some examples are:
- Creative Therapy workshops for teens, focusing on anxiety, identity and self-worth.
- Creative Therapy workshops in remote communities, focusing on trauma healing.
- Creative Therapy workshops for women, focusing on self-worth and body image.
If you have further questions about how I work, or would like to make an appointment, please contact me, Toni Jackson.