fergus cairns

Psychotherapy and counselling

in north London, north-west London, the West End and Soho

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How I Work

Despite my theoretical approach (see below), I am not a ‘healer’ or complementary therapist, and in most ways facilitate very much the same sort of ‘talking cure’ as counsellors and psychotherapists of all schools.

I may supplement conventional one-to-one dialogue with techniques such as relaxation and body attunement, guided imagery, physical exercises and role-plays, and so on. Equally none of these techniques are essential and I am always guided by the client as to what will best facilitate their development.

After an initial consultation (which may be spread over more than one session at no increased cost) I usually set up an initial contract to meet for 12 sessions. Towards the end of this we will review to see if we want to move to a longer-term, open-ended contract or towards closure.

For more information see my Therapy Information and Contract document.

Where I'm Coming from: Theoretical Approach

I initially trained as a person centred counsellor. My own confrontation with a physical illness got me interested in holistic and body centred ways of working, which led to the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy.

Body psychotherapy originally derives from the ideas of Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich had many unconventional, not to say crazy, ideas, but his intuitive vision of the identity of mind and body has been broadly vindicated by subsequent discoveries in neurology and psychology.

The core assumption of body psychotherapy is that it makes no sense to talk of mind and body as separate things: they are one.

The mind is a physical object made from nerve cells, chemicals and electricity. Our thinking, emotions and ability to imagine and relate may be radically changed from day to day by the physical ‘climate’ in which our mind operates and the habitual way we use our body.

Equally, the body is not only a physical object but is our personal narrative made flesh. It is a physical expression of the personality within and its healthy functioning may be hindered and frozen by old defences and behaviours which once helped us but which must be changed if we are to move on in life.

I am also informed by Jungian archetypal psychotherapy; native American spirituality and shamanism; object relations theory; and Gestalt psychology.

Training and groupwork

I also organise training and groupwork in health awareness and psychology for the private and public sectors. I am an accredited trainer for the Positive Self-Management Programme (PSMP), a seven-week course for people living with HIV.

 

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