M.A., M.Th., E.C.P., U.K.C.P.
Systemic and Family Psychotherapist
EMDR Therapist (for trauma)
My first experience of working with people with psychiatric diagnoses was after university when I completed the in-service training course of the Richmond Fellowship in London (1976-8), which runs half-way houses for the rehabilitation of patients coming out of psychiatric hospitals.
More recently, I have seen many clients referred by consultant psychiatrists for psychotherapy for diagnoses including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. The systemic approach is useful for individuals with psychiatric diagnoses because it looks at their problems within the context of the whole of their lives, and not just at the individual her- or himself.
As a systemic psychotherapist, I can see clients by themselves, with their partners or families, or in varied combinations. This enables me to tackle one of the major problems for recovering psychiatric patients: the readjustment of their relationships with their partners and families which have been disrupted, and usually put under considerable strain, by their mental illness.
Rarely can the relationship return to how it was. Instead, a new way of living together needs to be negotiated and put into practice. It is important to involve partners and, where appropriate, other family members in this process so that the couple or family may be healed from the trauma of the disruption caused by the illness, not merely the individual with the diagnosis. Without such mutual readjustment, a patient’s recovery is likely to be inhibited, or the couple’s relationship may break down, or the family suffer more tensions than are necessary.