07890 644009 info@melissadunlop.com

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a gentle, supportive and often subtle process of exploration that allows you to safely access deeper levels of awareness than is usually possible, in order to facilitate deep healing and to allow for personal growth where it is needed. Work moves at your own pace, and is intuitively guided by what you bring, what you are comfortable with and ready to explore. Precisely what is needed from the therapeutic relationship may take some time to emerge.

Contemporary integrative psychotherapy uses a variety of theoretical approaches, and adapts to best suit your needs. A central aim is to identify your conscious and unconscious strategies for dealing with the world, to understand their origins and to identify alternatives, so that you can:

  • Find more options for responding to difficult situations
  • Feel better able to articulate your needs in relation to others
  • Move on from challenging and traumatic experiences
  • Make clear decisions about priorities in your life moving forward
  • Feel confident and enabled to realise your ambitions

Psychotherapy can perhaps best be viewed as a creative partnership: the relationship between therapist and client is the medium through which learning and development takes place.  As mutual trust and understanding grows, it becomes increasingly possible to explore more difficult to talk about aspects of your life.  I offer sensitive, accepting and playful company, aiming to help you find the words, strengthen your sense of self, and develop in a personally meaningful way, so that healing, growth and long term change become possible.

My Therapeutic Approach

I am trained in a contemporary relational form of psychotherapy called Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy.

As a Humanistic or Person-Centred practitioner, I seek to bring myself fully into the relationship with each client, challenging power dynamics around ‘expert’ and ‘patient’, trusting clients as the experts on themselves and offering a committed therapeutic relationship through which clients can genuinely come to know me as a practitioner. Once the relationship is established, clients can use it to explore and get to know themselves in ways that are not possible alone.

The major approaches that I Integrate are:

  • Psychoanalytic theory: including an interest in unconscious processes and ways in which past experiences may be influencing the present
  • Developmental theory: including traditional theories and more contemporary research-based understandings of personality development
  • Attachment theory: and how very early relationships influence our relational patterns throughout life
  • Motivational Interviewing: where necessary to break a cycle of self-destructive behaviour, I may employ a more directed approach using techniques from a method known as Motivational Interviewing, which centres around exploring and resolving ambivalence, to facilitate behaviour change
  • Psychosomatic awareness: (though my approach is non-contact), in acknowledgement of the interrelatedness of body and mind, a view now increasingly well supported by developments in cognitive neuroscience
  • Creative Arts: and any theoretical or cultural point of reference base that ‘speaks’ to the client or allows us to find common ground through which to explore experience

I am interested in the creative process and view therapy itself as a creative endeavour. Thus, my work is highly personalised, specific and unique to each client, as together we ‘co-create’ the process and its outcome.

I am committed to working from where the client is right now, rather than holding beliefs about them that they do not personally relate to.

Finally, I seek to give space to the full intellectual complexity of a given situation without losing connection to its emotional impact.