“If all you have is a hammer, then everything will look like a nail” as Maslow so famously said. This reflects my approach on the complexity of the human spirit and how best to meet its challenges. It also underpins my quest for constant learning and personal enrichment in my chosen field. My body of theoretical knowledge serves as a backdrop to what is of true essence: you the individual sitting before me, and the uniqueness of your situation. I do not work to a set formula, script or structure. Rather, my endeavour is to meet you and the work we need to do together, holistically at where it is at.
My approach to therapy is to locate an individual systemically, within the full context of their lived experience. This socio-ecological context includes many dimensions: family, race, culture, ethnicity, religion, education, demographics, politics, age, gender, sexuality, disability. All of these dimensions combine to shape an ‘internal working model’; a map by which we navigate, to make sense of the world. This model orientates how we think, feel, respond; how we cope, manage, endure (or how we don’t). Sometimes, ways of being that have served us well in a particular time and space, stop serving us as well in a different time and space.
I work in a trauma-sensitive way that privileges the view that trauma is held and encoded in the body. I draw from an integrative trauma modal to help with the processing of what lingers and disrupts.
Trauma can be incurred in both an interpersonal and non-interpersonal context. Non-interpersonal trauma includes situational lived experience like war, natural disaster, terrorism. Interpersonal trauma sits across a spectrum of emotional and psychological injury and can include physical, verbal, spiritual, financial, social and sexual abuse and violation. Interpersonally incurred trauma disrupts secure childhood attachment and stable developmental milestones. These adverse childhood experiences1 mean that a child has had to grow up in a context that is experienced as not safe, secure and stable; and without a consistently available, caring, loving, attuning adult figure in their lives. Neglect is one part of this territory.