Personal Therapy

Help for people who have never felt good enough so they can accept and value themselves for who they really are.

Personal TherapySome people grow up in very critical or difficult families.

Because of their early experiences they can come to feel that there is something wrong with them or that they are not good enough.

Even though they are now grown up and their childhood is far away, they may still feel there is something wrong with them or they are not good enough.

They may always be looking for approval, they can be very sensitive to the criticism of others (or feel criticised on the inside), they feel bad about themselves or they might even hate themselves.

These thoughts and feelings cause them much emotional suffering and lead them to struggle in their lives, relationships and work.

You may know instantly if you don’t feel good enough.

However, it can be surprising to realise just how many people are so used to the way that they think and feel that they rarely give their suffering a second thought.

So, you might be thinking “How would I know I don’t feel good enough?”

Even though ‘not feeling good enough’ isn’t a medical condition, there are ‘symptoms’: signs that let you know this is going on.

The Symptoms Of Not Feeling Good Enough

Here is a list of sentences that describe some of the inner experiences of people who don’t feel good enough.

If you read them and think or feel “Wow, that’s me!” then you have identified an aspect of feeling not good enough that may be causing you unnecessary suffering.

  • “I am very sensitive to shame”
  • “I experienced a lot of criticism as a child and am still feeling criticised now”
  • “I look OK on the outside, but I am really struggling on the inside”
  • “I always try to keep everyone else happy”
  • “I am terrified of disapproval”
  • “I think something is wrong with me”
  • “Sometimes, I am only pretending to be a grown up”
  • “If people really knew me they wouldn’t like me”
  • “I need the approval of others”
  • “When someone says they like me I find it hard to believe (or even scary)”
  • “I feel like there is part of me that is unloved and unlovable”
  • “I am always trying to work out what is the right thing to do, so as not to upset anyone”
  • “I can be sympathetic and understanding to anyone except myself”
  • “I feel like I don’t deserve anything good”
  • “I hate myself”

If some (or all) of these phrases ring a bell I might be able to help.

How do we learn to be not good enough?

Innocent childNobody is born not good enough!

Nobody is born giving themselves a hard time!

Nobody is born hating themselves!

These are all things you have to learn (or be taught).

As children we are all very vulnerable. We can’t look after ourselves, we are desperate to be loved, valued and protected.

If we are loved, valued and protected we will thrive.

If those qualities are in short supply, we have no choice, we have to learn quickly and work hard to get what we need even if there is very little of it available.

Learning those lessons can be very hard.

Abuse, neglect, criticism or the withholding of love are all deeply painful. In such situations, as children, we will find ways to get what little we can from those situations even if they are just crumbs.

Even if we grow up in loving homes we might still get the idea that there is something wrong with us or bad about us. You don’t have to be beaten up or starved to feel not good enough.

Because we only have our own experience to go on, we accept our situation without question. Our childhood experiences and how they made us feel is just the natural order of things even if it bends us out of shape.

The things we learn to think, feel and do are all designed to get us what we need. Unfortunately, when we grow older and move away from our childhood the thoughts, feelings and behaviour we learned there come with us, whether we need them or not, it’s as if that way of being in the world is written into our bones.

Eventually we might realise that something is wrong. Other people seem to be happier, more confident, less anxious or afraid than we are and we might look for ways to feel better.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk ourselves out of not being good enough.

When we read self help books we might be inspired but nothing seems to change.

Talking about our problems may just make us feel worse.

We might understand what went wrong but that doesn’t seem to help us change who we are and how we feel.

If time hasn’t already healed what is troubling you, then more time is probably not going to heal it either.

The way our brains and minds work mean that our childhood experience will affect us for years to come. Our old emotional patterns will repeat themselves time after time. Our inner critics will never tire and shame never seems to go away.

That’s not your fault. That’s just what brains and minds do.

You could try to soothe the symptoms. Using medication, eating, drinking, shopping and all the other soothing possibilities we have. Perhaps if you soothe the symptoms they will go away, but they always come back when the soothing wears off.

You could try to avoid the problem. By avoiding the situations in which it occurs or distracting yourself from it. If you don’t think about it perhaps it will go away, but when you think about it – there it is.

To reduce that suffering you must undo the way your mind and brain creates those problems or they will continue.

The only way to solve the problem is to solve the problem.

What we need is a way to reach deep inside to undo what we learned about ourselves.

Safe and gentle work with an experienced therapist could help heal those wounds. New therapeutic approaches can help untangle and dissolve the painful feelings, thoughts and behaviours that keep you suffering.

In this kind of therapy I work with my clients on what is important to them. We work together to make the changes they want as quickly, and as comfortably, as possible.

Many people find it difficult to admit to themselves and others that they are struggling with these issues. They may even feel ashamed that they have these difficulties or even believe they deserve to suffer.

Feelings of guilt and shame can make it difficult for them to look for help and choose somebody to trust with their distress.

Because these difficulties are so long lasting and pervasive many people believe there is nothing that they can do to change them.

There are good reasons why these kinds of problems are so entrenched and difficult to change. They are part of our body and brain’s built in response to stress. It’s not our fault, it’s the way we work.

But new therapeutic approaches can help change those responses and ease those problems.

When we can heal those childhood hurts and find ways to soothe our younger selves we can change for the better in ways that we might find hard to imagine.

Would You Like To Feel Good Enough?

It’s important to know that this work is about feeling good enough not being perfect. All of us have vulnerabilities and imperfections, this work is designed to help you feel good enough about yourself as a fallible human being (just like all us other fallible human beings).

If some of the symptoms of feeling not good enough resonated with you, imagine for a moment what feeling good enough might be like.

If you did feel good enough as a person you might find you could:

  • accept your vulnerabilities and imperfections and be kind to them instead finding fault and criticising yourself.
  • feel less criticised on the inside and better able to handle criticism from other people instead of having to do everything you could to avoid being criticised.
  • feel OK on the inside and the outside instead of having to pretend everything is OK on the inside when your are struggling.
  • know and respect your own needs and able to meet them without having to feeling bad about them or even pretend that they don’t exist.
  • handle other people’s disapproval without being devastated, even if it isn’t pleasant you can know your opinion is as important as anyone else.
  • be kinder to yourself, able to treat yourself with the kindness that you show to other people who are close to you, rather than criticising or belittling yourself.
  • feel more grown up, as if your capable adult self can face the world rather than feeling like a struggling child in an adults body.
  • feel more likeable instead of feeling that you couldn’t possibly be liked.
  • value the opinions of others but not treat them as commands or judgements, to be able to value your own opinions and decide what is right for you.
  • able to comfortably accept affection and respect rather than feel it is undeserved or a mistake.
  • feel loveable rather than broken or unworthy.
  • accept yourself with kindness as a unique human being (just like the other 7 billion unique human beings)
  • imagining that these changes are possible for you instead of writing them off as only possible for other people because you are not good enough to be this way.

All these changes are possible with the right kind of help.

The therapy I’m describing is not a magic wand and this process is not an instant cure.

Deep issues take deep work and learning to be different can take some time.

However changing just one part of your experience can have a profound effect on other parts of your life.

As you progress and make progress it will be possible to see more and more differences in your experience and each change will build on the others.

This kind of work is for you if:

  • you have had enough of feeling not good enough
  • you want to change, even if the thought of what it might take is scary.
  • you are willing to participate in the work that’s required.

This kind of work is NOT for you if:

  • you want a miracle cure. There is no magic wand, finding and healing those parts of ourselves that are suffering takes some work and some effort. While I can help you with that work no one can do it for you.
  • you just want insight into what’s wrong with your life. This work is about releasing the blocks that blight your life, not just having a better intellectual understanding of those blocks.
  • you just want to tell me how bad your life is and do nothing about it. This approach won’t work for people who want to feel bad and stay the same.

I do not work with clients with the following issues:

  • Drug and alcohol problems.
  • Children and adolescents.
  • Weight loss issues.
  • Smoking cessation.
  • Couples or family counselling.

Why do I do this work?

As is often the case with people in the helping professions my interest in this work grew out of my own history and needs.

Andy Hunt as a childSince childhood I’ve done my best to be good enough to compensate for not feeling good enough

I was always keen to help and keen to keep everyone happy. I lived in fear of the people I liked not liking me, finding fault in me or getting angry with me.

As a shy, introspective teenager I got interested in psychology as a way of better understanding myself and getting along with others.

At university although I didn’t study psychology I read a lot about it and got interested in counselling.

After university, at the tender age of 22, I took a three year part time Person Centred Counselling Diploma Course with the Person Centred Approach Institute. When I had completed this training I realised that I knew practically nothing about life and I wasn’t ready yet to be a counsellor and needed much more life experience to be effective.

Since then, I’ve had a wide variety of jobs including: a milkman, assistant steward in a cafeteria on an Irish Sea ferry, a Residential Social Worker at a centre for delinquent teenagers, the Assistant Head of Youth Centre in Brixton, in Inner London, and short periods as a grape picker in Switzerland, a spring grinder(!) in Germany , a night porter and barman in a hotel and then a software engineer for 15 years!

All this time I swam against the current of low level shame and of not feeling good enough.

I have spent a lot of my adult life looking for ways to be more authentic and comfortable in my own skin, including: encounter groups, Buddhist meditation and a multitude of self-help techniques.

In 2000 I took Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Training, first as a Practitioner, then Master Practitioner and finally as a trainer.

In 2004 I learned about Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and how that could release stressful emotions and patterns. I found the simplicity and power of EFT refreshing.

Combining EFT with NLP gave me a powerful toolbox of techniques which I used for my own healing.

Using these processes consistently I began to notice profound shifts in my experience.

Andy HuntI began to get much better at accepting and being myself.

Now I am much happier, less afraid, more self confident than I ever was before.

These changes have come about after a lot of work and effort, it’s been a slow process, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. As I made progress I realised that I wanted to offer the processes that worked so well for me to other people.

Why work with me?

I have been seeing clients on a professional basis since 2002. I’ve worked with hundreds of people using these processes and been on many further trainings to deepen my knowledge and improve my skills.

My clients tell me that they see me as straightforward, trustworthy, compassionate and resourceful. They also say that I don’t seem to be uncomfortable with anything they say, or judge them in any way, and that they feel safe with me.

Professional Training

My professional development includes these trainings:

  • Client Centred Counselling – 1985-1988
  • NLP Practitioner – 2000
  • NLP Master Practitioner – 2001
  • NLP Practitioner – 2002
  • NLP Psychotherapy Training – 2004
  • NLP Master Practitioner – 2003
  • NLP Trainer – 2003
  • EFT Practitioner – 2004
  • EFT Trainer – 2004
  • NLP Master Practitioner – 2006
  • EFT Level 3 Practitioner – 2006
  • Introduction to Solution Focused Brief Therapy – 2006
  • Introduction to Solution Oriented Hypnosis – 2006
  • Integral Eye Movement Therapy – 2007
  • Introduction to Compassion Focused Therapy – 2012
  • Introduction to Matrix Re-imprinting – 2014
  • Introduction to Provocative Energy Techniques (PET) – 2014
  • AAMET Accredited Certificed EFT Master Trainer – 2014

Professional Associations

NLPtCAI am a member of the Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (NLPtCA) and the Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques (AAMET).

The NLPtCA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to developing and promoting the use of NLP in therapeutic and counselling settings. It is a Member Organisation of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

As part of the requirements of the NLPtCA I receive regular clinical supervision.

AAMET

AAMET is the largest international EFT organisation dedicated to supporting EFT and students and practitioners to develop their professional skills.

I also receive mentoring and supervision of my EFT work to maintain my accreditation with AAMET.

The Therapy Process

Every therapist has their own particular way of working.

The way I work splits into two different sections

Finding out if we are a good fit.

Therapy is a collaboration and we need to know that we can work together to get the results you want.

To do that we need to:

  • Find out if I am the right therapist for you. It is important for any client to feel the therapist knows what they are doing, that they are with someone they can work with, feel safe with and trust.
  • Find out if you are the right client for me. It is important for me as a therapist to feel that I can help the client, that I am skilled enough to help whatever the client brings to the sessions. I also need to feel that the client is able and willing to do the work that is necessary to get the changes they want.

If we establish a good working relationship then our chances of success are much higher.

If for some reason I’m not right for you or you are not right for me it is much better to find that out before our work begins so I can suggest alternatives that will work better for you.

There are four steps

  1. The initial conversation after contacting me we have a 20-30 minute initial phone / online conversation. This gives me a chance to find out what is going on for you and what you want to achieve. It also gives you a chance to find out what I am like and how I work. This call is free of charge and without obligation.
  2. The questionnaire If it seems that we might be able to work together I send you a Confidential Client Questionnaire which you complete and return to me.
  3. The first session. In our first session I have a chance to find out in more detail what is going on for you and what you would like to achieve through working with me. It also gives you a chance to ‘test drive’ me as a therapist. In this session we can decide if we would be able to work well together towards your goals. If that is not the case I may be able to redirect you to someone who could better help you. In either case this is a paid session.
  4. The pause. After the first session you have a few days to reflect on whether you want to work with me. If that is the case we can arrange the next session to begin working on what’s important to you.

Doing the work

If we seem like a good fit, I ask my clients to commit to six sessions – this is enough time to find out if we can work well together and whether you are getting the kinds of changes you want.

If more work is required, we arrange further blocks of six sessions. Your commitment is never more than six sessions at any time.

Visit ‘How I work with clients‘ for a more detailed explanation of how this process works in practice, and the ‘Confidential Client Questionnaire‘ for details of the information I require.

Four Common Questions

Potential clients often have questions about therapy. The first is often thought but seldom asked, the others are often asked.

Will I feel safe?

Superficially therapy just looks like two people talking. What could be safer?

In reality clients sometimes need to approach the painful parts of their lives to defuse them. That might not feel safe at all.

Emotional distress is distressing. Sometimes those feelings can be so unpleasant or overwhelming that it doesn’t feel safe to feel them.

But, you don’t need to be re-traumatised by your traumas or overwhelmed by your distress to make good progress.

An important part of my work as the therapist is to make it safe for you to change the things you need to change.

Using EFT and other techniques it is possible to approach painful issues gently, deal with them and feel safe doing it.

How long will it take?

This is the question that most clients ask early on in the process. The answer is “I don’t know” (and no-one else knows either) because it depends on so many factors:

  • How complex and deep rooted the problem is
  • What the client wants to achieve
  • How willing and able they are to engage in the process
  • What is going on in their lives outside the therapy
  • Many other conditions.

Some problems – single traumatic memories for example can be cleared in just a few sessions. Other difficulties resulting from years of neglect and abuse can take many sessions to clear.

To help manage the unpredictability of therapy, I arrange to see my clients in blocks of six sessions. If we solve the problem in just one or two sessions then we finish there. If not we review our progress at the end of the sixth session, we chart how far we have come and how far we need to go. It is then up to you, the client, if we book more sessions. We work in manageable blocks and you decide when you are ready to stop.

I’ve tried counselling, homoeopathy, etc and it didn’t work for me, why would this?

If you have tried many things to ease your suffering and had limited success it may be because you couldn’t get to the root of the problem. The kind of therapy I provide aims at finding the roots of the problem and dissolving them. When the roots of the problem are gone it’s much easier to make the changes you want to make.

Is it confidential?

Privacy is a central concern of any good therapist. When you work with me I guarantee your privacy in the following ways.

  • The fact that you have come to see me as a client is confidential
  • Anything you say to me is confidential. I will not communicate it to another person without your express consent.

In the following extreme cases that confidentiality agreement will be broken if:

  1. I think you are going to hurt yourself or someone else
  2. If there is a threat to the welfare of children or vulnerable adults
  3. If an officer of the law makes a legitimate legal request to see my notes.

Any confidential information and notes about you are kept under lock and key in accordance with the ethical requirements of the NLPtCA & AAMET.

Six years after the completion of therapy all your information and therapy notes are destroyed.

Four Common Concerns

What If I Get Worse?

When some people think about undoing these kinds of emotional patterns they may worry that they could get worse not better and be reluctant to take that risk.

They may ask themselves: “What if I stir up all those old painful emotions and get stuck with them?”

That’s an understandable concern. We all have ways of protecting ourselves from painful emotions. Over time we develop ways of coping with bad feelings that bother us, perhaps we try to push them beneath the surface, or wrap them up so they are not so painful to be with.

Any approach that works to change these feelings runs the risk of bringing up or exposing those feelings – which feels painful. Naturally, most people are reluctant to do this because they fear that those raw feelings will just be left to be felt and take time to re-wrap and re-submerge.

However, the techniques I use in therapy allow painful feelings to be processed and released so that in the end there is nothing left to re-wrap or re-submerge.

If you are used to therapeutic approaches where you talk over what’s wrong and feel bad about it, the idea you can release those painful feelings might come as a surprise or be a little bit unbelievable.

This kind of work defuses those painful experiences until they become just experiences. Even though there may be some temporary discomfort feeling those feelings, it is short lived.

This approach has been designed to minimise exposure to difficult emotions and to maximise your ability to hold and soften unpleasant emotions for yourself.

The sessions are designed to make the process of change manageable by:

  • Listening and finding out what is important to you and what you want to change.
  • Having you choose what to work on, to:
    • make it easy for you
    • maximise your emotional safety
    • minimise the emotional risk
  • Learn the processes on simple issues so that you gain confidence in this way of working
  • Having the issue be your choice so it is not too much, too fast.

Part of each session will include

  • Reviewing progress from previous sessions
  • Choosing the next step so you can feel in control of what is worked on
  • Working on that issue to make more progress and build more confidence in the way we are working.

Most sessions will include homework so you can use simple techniques to change the way you feel between sessions.

What If I Open Pandora’s Box?

If you find yourself afraid in situations that other people find safe then you probably learned those responses in your early life. Those learning experiences were probably not pleasant then or as you remember them now.

It’s understandable that you would want to avoid being reminded of those times you would probably much rather forget and get on with your life.

Because of the way the human mind works those times in your life will not forget about you. The results of those experiences will turn up in your thoughts, feelings and behaviours whether you try to forget those times or not.

To minimise the risk of distress most people have found ways to put those experiences and the results out of their mind so they are not as distressing as they could be. So one of the fears clients have about doing this kind of work is that they will step off the ‘safe’ path they have built for themselves and step on a landmine from the past.

They are afraid that if they are not careful all those bad feelings so carefully contained will come rushing back to overwhelm and distress them.

In other words, it doesn’t feel safe to do this kind of work.

Fortunately, there are ways to do this kind of work that minimise your distress and maximise your safety.

You don’t need to be re-traumatised by your traumas or overwhelmed by your distress to make good progress and it’s the job of the therapist to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The kind of approach I use is designed to make changing those old patterns as comfortable and as safe as I can in these ways:

  • I use techniques that make it possible to work with issues that would otherwise be overwhelming if using conventional talking therapy. These techniques make it possible to work with intense emotional issues in a way that may be uncomfortable, but is not overwhelming or threatening.
  • I use my skill and experience to keep the process safe for you to make the changes you want to. Part of my job as a therapist is to keep you safe and able to make the changes you haven’t been able to make before.
  • I respect your defence mechanisms, I don’t push my clients to feel or remember what they don’t want to feel and remember. I only work with what my clients present to me and feel able to work with.
  • You decide what you want to change and I help you get there. We only work with the issues that are important to you. I have no hidden agenda for what you should or shouldn’t feel or work on. The work is focused on your needs, both for safety and for change.
  • As you make progress your confidence and ability to cope grows. Once you have used these techniques to successfully defuse some of your emotional ‘landmines’ your confidence in being able to cope with distress grows and your fear of that distress drops.
  • I teach you how to use these techniques to soothe your own distress . I show you ways to settle your own emotions so that you do not need to wait for the next session to feel better. Having the confidence to know that you can soothe your own distress makes this kind of work both comfortable and empowering. You no longer have to be the victim of your own emotions.

What If It Doesn’t Work For Me?

The purpose of the first part of the therapy is designed to maximise your chances of getting good results from this work before we even start.

I ask everyone to commit to six sessions to give the process a fair chance of working. Most clients find changes start to occur after just two or three sessions.

However, if after the first six sessions you don’t feel like it’s working for you we can stop and I can see if I can refer you on to someone who might be better able to help.

Does Coming To Therapy Mean I’ve Failed or I am weak?

In a culture that expects us to ‘get over it’ by ourselves it can seem like needing therapy is a failure or a demonstration of how weak we are. That’s not the case.

Coming to therapy is a courageous act.

It takes guts and strength to bring what troubles you to another person for help.

Sometimes we can only succeed with the help of another.

One promise I can’t make and five promises I can

There is no guarantee that you will get everything you want from this work. In my opinion no responsible therapist can promise to get results for every person every time. No one knows how much work there is to do, how hard it will be to do it and how well the client and therapist can do it.

Even though I can’t and won’t make any promises about how much benefit you will get from this process, I can make you five promises about what I will do.

1. I promise to do my best to make sure we are likely to succeed before we even start.

My approach to therapy is as a collaboration between two people working on painful issues to get the changes that the client wants.

For that collaboration to work well:

  • I have to be the right kind of therapist for you.
  • You have to be the kind of client I do my best work with to get the most out of the process.
  • We need to work on issues that I am confident and competent to work with.

If you have worked with therapists who weren’t right for you in the past you will know that it can be uncomfortable and even unhelpful.

The process we go through before we even get to our first session is designed to make sure we have the best chance of success.

2. I promise to work on what is important to you

You know yourself the best. In our sessions you get to decide what’s important to you and what changes you want to make. I can’t (and won’t) decide what’s best for you, that’s your job.

Part of the first session is to find out what your current difficulties are and how you want to be different. Once we know what troubles you and what you want, we put this list in order of what is most important to you.

What you want and where you want to get to is up to you, I’m there to help you get to where you want to go. You decide what is important and we can adjust those goals as we make progress.

3. I promise to tailor the therapy to your needs.

Everyone is unique, having their own particular constellation of difficulties. Ideally everyone needs a therapy that is just for them.

As I have said therapy is a collaboration between therapist and client. The work of getting from where you are to where you want to be is a joint effort. Part of that collaboration is developing a therapy that works well for you, which will help you make the best progress in the shortest amount of time.

However, while you can change far more quickly than you might imagine, I will never promise you a miracle cure. I can’t wave a magic wand over you and I won’t pretend that I can. This process does require your willingness to work towards the changes you want to make.

4. I promise to treat you with compassionate professionalism.

From my point of view you are a human being who is suffering. You are not your diagnosis or a problem to be solved.

I will work with you to help you change the parts of your life that are painful for you.

I won’t claim to be able to cure you but I will work hard with you to ease your suffering and I will do that with compassion and understanding.

5. I promise that I won’t prolong the therapy unnecessarily.

Some people are afraid that once they go for therapy that it will never end. They don’t want to spend years in long-term therapy.

“How long will this take?” is an impossible question to answer. People are complicated, what works for one person may not work for another.

It may be that you get the result you want after only one or two sessions, in which case the therapy ends there. It may be that you need more sessions to make good progress.

In all cases you decide when you have have done enough.

How much does it cost?

The full cost of each one-hour therapy session is £60 (there is a concessionary fee of £30 for people on a limited income).

You can pay me in cash, by cheque, via PayPal or bank transfer.

What do I need to do next?

If you want to explore working with me please contact me using the form below or by calling +44 (0)754 700 9116 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

When you contact me we will arrange a convenient time for our initial free telephone consultation.

 

Photo courtesy of Krisztina Konczos