How I Work as a Therapist
I work holistically because whatever issues we face it often affects other areas of our lives such as how we feel about ourselves or our relationships. I support people to understand more about their issues and any impact so that they can consider alternatives in terms of how they think, feel and act.
Psychotherapy is a higher level of training than counselling and is comprehensive in covering many aspects of development, relationships, trauma, mental health etc. Personal therapy is compulsory throughout all psychotherapy training. Not only did this support me with my issues, but it helps me understand the experience of being a client.
The research shows that Counselling and Psychotherapy work best through a collaborative relationship that builds in terms of trust, understanding and communication. If there are easy answers and quick solutions you will have found them yourself, but if things feel more complex you and I would work together to explore in more detail what may affect how you manage your issues. We often refer to therapy as being like looking at layers of an onion. How far you go and how much work you want to do is up to you. We focus on what you are aiming to achieve.
My role is to support you to navigate through difficulties to find your own answers at your pace. Nothing is imposed but sometimes we need to consider questions and conundrums in the work that may feel challenging.
I continue to draw on my long career in the helping professions as well as private practice because of the breadth and depth of experience it has given me. I have supported adults with various issues for over 30 years first as a social worker, then as a counsellor and now as a psychotherapist.
I first gained experience working with offenders, learning about offending behaviour, contributory factors, and victim impact including substance abuse, mental health, the impact of childhood traumas, and many other issues. Working with people to understand more about their lives and their choices supported people to consider different ways of living.
Working next in Mental Health, I gained good experience of the pressures faced by people trying to improve their emotional and mental wellbeing. I facilitated a community women’s support group for several years, I provided counselling at a GP practice and I worked with a multi-professional Family Therapy Team. Understanding about how people experience stress and strive to improve their mental wellbeing motivated me to start training in psychotherapy.
I became interested in the growing move towards a person centred and rights focus taking place in the learning disabilities field. I liked the concept of “challenging behaviours” that was developing to see people ‘acting out’ as communication issues and not pathologising people. This supported me to understand how people may struggle to find ways of communicating what they really think and feel.
I was also a Senior Practitioner for nine years managing people and trained in management. I enjoyed supporting others to build their knowledge and skills, to manage the stresses of the job and to develop their careers.
Training in psychotherapy, my first placement gave me experience of working with alcohol issues and my next with primarily young adults working out a variety of issues in their lives.
I set up in private practice five years ago and gave up social work two years ago. People who come to see me bring a range of issues such as: managing anxiety or stress, relationship and family issues, experience of childhood abuse, loss, trauma, sadness or depression. My background experience supports me in this work.
My Training and Qualifications
Accredited as a Gestalt Psychotherapist (under the name of Maria Siepe) with UKCP.
Accredited as a Counsellor with the National Counselling Society.
Registered Member of BACP (under name of Maria Siepe).
More than three years of Advanced Gestalt Psychotherapy training with Gestalt South West- Gestalt Southwest.
Completed training with an Advanced Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy with Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership.
I am also one of the organisers for an annual Psychotherapy lecture in Bristol- Marianne Fry Lectures
Qualified as a Social Worker in 1986 and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council until 2017.
Supervisor and Practice Educator in Social Work.
Certificate in management (UWE)
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