Psychotherapy in South London - Dominique Girardini
Here are details of some of the approaches I have integrated in my psychotherapy practice.
Psychosynthesis is one of the predominant models in the field of humanistic and transpersonal psychotherapy. It was developed by the Italian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Roberto Assagioli, as he grew to view psychoanalysis as too reductionist and missing a whole dimension of human experience, namely the blossoming of human potential.
Psychosynthesis offers a very comprehensive vision of human development as well as a psychotherapeutic system which allows us to both plumb the depths of human suffering through the exploration and healing of childhood wounding and to reach the heights of human potential through the exploration of the more spiritual aspects of human experience, such as what gives our life a sense of meaning and purpose or what helps us transcend our limitations.
Furthermore, psychosynthesis is particularly helpful in facilitating the exploration of what makes up our sense of self and how it is often constituted of a multiplicity of parts or “subpersonalities.” These may have grown to be in imbalance or conflict with each other, causing tensions, confusion, inner turmoil, loss of direction or leakage of energy, within the personality. One may have come to a dominant position – such as the Critic or the Striver – behaving like an inner despot at the expense of a well-balanced, rounded, rich and varied, expansive personality. Through recognising and engaging with these parts in the therapeutic process, looking at their roots, often established in childhood, through creating a dialogue between them and working towards a new inner modus vivendi, we are offered the potential for more control and choice in how we live our lives. Thus, we can develop a sense of a central core of agency, a centre of awareness and will, aligned with the deeper self and we can bring back harmony within the personality.
I also believe that an integral part of the therapeutic healing process is to recognise and support the particular life-journey of a person – the individual’s own unique path towards Self-realisation.
EFT – which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique – is a form of Energy Psychology which combines cognitive work and tapping on meridian points in order to relieve negative emotional patterns. Based on an understanding that to any emotional distress corresponds a disruption in the body’s energy system. Through EFT we intervene on the level of the energetic body in order to clear the disturbance and restore balance to the system. EFT can be used during a therapy session when I can either tap on you or guide you to tap on yourself - and as this is a technique that I can teach you, the EFT procedure can also be used as a self-administered resource, particularly valuable as a tool of emotional self-regulation. I use EFT to work with anxiety, panic-attacks, phobias, limited self-beliefs, anger, trauma, low self-esteem and many other issues. I am a Level 3 Advanced Practitioner registered and certified by AAMET (Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques).
I have trained with Babette Rothschild and Merete Holm Brantjberg who are both eminent body psychotherapists who have done pioneering work in the field of Trauma Treatment. Common to their work is an in-depth understanding of the psychophysiology of Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in particular of how Trauma affects the Automatic Nervous System (ANS), and when not processed, remains locked in the nervous system, so that the PTSD sufferer is doomed to re-experience the original traumatic event time and time again. Symptoms of PTSD range from chronic anxiety, panic attacks, hypervigilance, sleep disturbances, difficulties in concentrating, to flashbacks and avoidance behaviours. In these Traumawork approaches, the emphasis is on developing awareness of arousal-levels of the ANS and, through a range of body-based practices and interventions, on learning to regulate it so that in time we develop the capacity to process all aspects – somatic, emotional and cognitive - of the original trauma experience without running the risk of re-traumatisation.
MBSR or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an approach that was developed in the 1980’s by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in order to support patients suffering from stress, anxiety, illness and chronic pain. “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” says JKZ. This approach is explored and cultivated through a set of practices, such as meditation, sensory awareness or mindful movement, which promote awareness, presence, acceptance and compassion. Over the years, I have incorporated these attitudinal qualities into my work and I aim to convey them to my clients through the general tone and emphasis of the therapeutic work or if they wish, by guiding them through some of the actual MBSR practices. Mindfulness is a deeply nurturing approach which enhances the quality of life in a multitude of ways. It fosters inner calm and spaciousness and brings about a a capacity for self-determination and choice by enabling us to respond to life rather than simply reacting.
I have completed training as a Mindfulness teacher, to the equivalent of Post-Graduate Certificate level, at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. I offer Mindfulness training in both one-to-one and group format, ranging from the standard Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn, to the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy progamme for depression that is recommended by NICE for the prevention of depressive relapse. Please refer to the Mindfulness Training page for more information on Mindfulness courses.