“All our interior world is reality, and perhaps
more so than the apparent world”

Marc Chagall

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Individual (One-to-One) Counselling and Therapy, Alsager, Cheshire

I offer one-to-one counselling and psychotherapy sessions for adults and young people, working through issues in a confidential, nurturing environment. Sessions last 50 minutes and I usually see clients once or twice a week for a given period. I am based in Cheshire, working from Alsager (East Cheshire, Junction 16 of the M6), although my client base geographically includes North Staffordshire, the Peak District and beyond.

To date I have helped individual clients in both short- and long-term therapy, dealing with issues ranging from anxiety and panic attacks through chronic eating disorders, phobias and relationship problems to bereavement, post-traumatic stress disorder and abuse.

My therapeutic approach is integrative, which means that I borrow freely from various schools of thought to use the techniques that will work best for each client. These include psychodynamic and transpersonal therapy and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as well as less mainstream creative techniques including bibliotherapy and eco-therapy in cases where they can be helpful for the client. I have also trained in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) which can be very effective in some instances.

For more information about individual therapy or to make an appointment, please contact me at jcsmith@therapy-cheshire.co.uk or call me on 07811 981645.



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Very good facilitation – encouraging and warm.

Consequences of Rank-Centric Health Settings: Insightful Piece in the New York Times

The New York Times health section has run a great piece about patients’ conceptions – and misconceptions – around hierarchy in the medical and helping professions.

In the US as in the UK, nursing staff, doctors, surgeons and consultants – and we can add to this list those working in psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy – operate in a notoriously rank-driven environment. This is, of course, picked up on by patients, who are understandably looking for ways to navigate a complex and often bewildering health system.

“Such an overly developed sense of hierarchy comes at an unacceptable price: good patient care,” writes Dr Pauline Chen MD in the article, who then goes on to illustrate her point with a tragic example.

The New York Times runs some very commendable pieces on health and wellbeing, with one striking feature of its coverage being the use of practising medical professionals who speak freely about problems faced within the field. Another feature, and one which to my mind makes the paper’s health coverage stand head and shoulders above its rivals, is the use of patients’ voices – conditions are often investigated in some depth by people who are actually suffering from them. The ‘Patient Voices’ section also uses audio and each topic comes with a health guide.

Guardian ‘Family’ Section Breaks Taboo of Not Liking Your Own Child

There was a brave piece in The Guardian‘s Family supplement at the weekend by Helen Bale (not her real name), who admits that she often really didn’t like her 10-year-old son.

Read the full article here, which also has some wise commentary from child psychotherapist Ryan Lowe.

For more information about therapy for children or parents-and-children, visit the Association of Child Psychotherapists’ (ACP) website.

Dates Announced for ‘Freeing the Self’ Pre-Pesach Workshop in Hale

On 14 and 21 March I’ll be facilitating the ‘Freeing the Self’ two-part workshop in the approach to Passover, a psycho-educational discussion group aimed at provoking thought and reflection linking in with Pesach themes.

The workshops will be held in Hale, Cheshire on consecutive Thursday evenings in a very small group format; advance registration essential.

The evening programme is open to men and women; depending on demand there may also be a women-only daytime group.

For more information or to register, call or text me on 07811 981645 (office hours).

Equine-Assisted Therapy to Help Paul Gascoigne on Road to Wellness

In the news headlines today is the story of footballer Paul Gascoigne‘s current visit to a rehabilitation clinic near Phoenix, Arizona, where the programme of treatment includes equine-assisted therapy.

Working with horses is one of the fastest-growing areas of animal-assisted therapy, and for good reason. Horses, in common with many prey animals, are highly sensitive to mood and atmosphere, and are excellent communicators, more than capable of giving immediate honest feedback. But additionally, their sheer size and weight can be an important factor for clients who need to learn to develop trust in their own emotional and physical reactions and in others’.

In the UK, we’re fortunate to have world-class equine-assisted therapy delivered through centres such as Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship in Devon and the Barton Hill Centre in the Brecon Beacons, both of which I visited as part of my Masters research into animal-assisted therapy.

If you’d like to find out more, a great place for learning about the healing power of horses is Susan Richards‘ unforgettable memoir Chosen By A Horse, which tells the story of the author’s healing process through looking after her rescue mare Lay Me Down. The classic text on the theory of equine-assisted therapy, meanwhile, is Linda Kohanov‘s The Tao of Equus.

Horses in Snowdonia

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