Martin completed his doctorate at Canterbury Christchurch University and has worked in mental health services in the NHS for over 10 years. He has further training in systemic approaches and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and works in a treatment and recovery team for the NHS in Hammersmith and Fulham.
There are many things in modern life that can lead to emotional and psychological difficulties. With the fast pace and high pressure of today’s society comes higher personal and social expectations. It can seem like the bar of what it means to be adequate is constantly being raised, and if we feel we are not “performing” as well as our peers, it is easy to become dissatisfied and disillusioned with our lives. Our growing population also means we are competing with greater numbers and for fewer resources, and we end up coping with this in ways that are familiar, but often quite destructive.
Therapy can offer a space to pause and really look at our lives with the aim of gaining a greater understanding, working out what is of real importance to us and finding a way to commit to these values in the face of life’s adversities.
I work primarily using a modern form of CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as Mindfulness to help people cope with emotional distress and move closer to the lives they would like to have. Our minds are constantly providing us with a never-ending stream of thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations and ideas about our lives, and left unchecked, this information can start to dominate and leave us feeling distressed. I work by helping clients become more aware of this and start to free themselves from the things their minds tell them, so that they can have more fulfilling, enjoyable and meaningful experiences.
I work in an exploratory way, deciding with the client what level we should intervene at. My focus tends to be on helping people make changes in the present to enrich their lives, but I can also use more psychodynamic approaches that may involve a greater focus on past experiences if appropriate.
I try to make therapy a safe, confidential, and nurturing space where people feel relaxed and able to be honest and face their vulnerabilities. Having a trusting relationship with your therapist is absolutely key to the success of therapy as it is only in such a space that real progress can be made.
Bearing witness to a person facing the most difficult aspects of their lives and overcoming them is an incredibly rewarding and satisfying privilege. I never fail to be amazed and moved by what people can achieve in the process of therapy. Being a part of this process is a continual source of inspiration and motivation in my own life and I am constantly learning about myself through my work.
Image credits Georges Braque – Private Collection