I worked for many years as an Educational Psychologist, which was a rewarding job, helping children, young people, their families and teachers..
I continue to develop as a person and counsellor through my own personal therapy and supervision. This includes exploring and challenging my own privilege and prejudices. I try to be aware of how others might see me based on their experience of other middle class, white, professional males and use this in the counselling room. The best way to do this is to listen attentively.
I aim to be truly Person-Centred, treating my clients as unique, rather than defined by normative concepts of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, disability or appearance. I try to approach each client with interest in their unique way of being.
I have regular supervision and develop my professional skills through study and development activities.
Qualifications And Professional Memberships
Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy with Distinction (Level 7 counselling qualification), Liverpool John Moores University 2019.
M.Sc. Educational Psychology, University College London 1998.
Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Registered Member of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC)
How I Work
I offer a confidential, non-judgemental therapeutic space. You may be worried about how to start the sessions and I will help you to get going. Later, you may take more of a lead. Sometimes you might know exactly what you want to work on, or it might help to tread gently together because you are not sure why you’ve come. You may be surprised what we end up talking about. I will check that we are working at a pace that feels right for you.
Please email me on the contact form below or feel free to phone. I’ll get back to you before the end of the next working day. I offer a free 30 minute phone consultation to introduce myself and find out more about why you are looking for a counsellor.
If you decide you want to work with me, I suggest six sessions as a good way to start the process. You are free to withdraw at any point or continue for longer. We’ll talk that through.
I offer appointments 8am to 7pm Monday – Thursday. I’ll keep your appointments at the same time on the same day if possible.
FEES: All sessions are charged at £50 per 50 minutes.
As life goes on, patterns of feelings and thoughts become part of us. Some patterns may be negative and get in the way of living a full life. You may be anxious about certain situations, feel bad about yourself, or just feel down about where life has led you. If you suffer this in silence, the pressure of keeping it quiet can build up inside you. It can be exhausting to go on with your outer life, while living an inner life you don’t share with anyone.
Your feelings and thoughts may also be related to your work, an accident, a relationship breakdown, the way you were treated as a child, the death of a special person many years ago, or the loss of an imagined life that you dreamed you would have. It all matters.
A certain level of anxiety is normal, it protects us from threats. When anxiety goes deeper, it stops us from living fully. It might be connected with childhood experiences, self-worth or difficulties in relationships, or it might just have been part of you for too long. I will explore what your anxiety is like for you, in your inner world and open up the possibility of change.
Is there more anxiety now than ever? There are good reasons to worry about the state of the world and there is a greater awareness about general and social anxiety. You may be anxious because your internet use is giving you ‘digital overwhelm’. If you are already critical of yourself, constant news of other people’s successes can make it worse. But it can also be a source of support. One thing I’ve found is that clients experience some relief from anxiety when they reduce their contacts and limit the time they spend online. I work with clients when they are anxious about what others think of them and fear they are missing out.
Some anxiety is self-imposed. Do you feel anxious if you don’t come up to the standards you set, or if you have not achieved the goals you expected? Perhaps you feel like an impostor and you will be found out. All these things can cause anxiety, tension, pressure and constant worry.
You may be looking for counselling because you are weighed down with depression. Maybe you are going through work related stress that is leaving you feeling down, overwhelmed and wondering if you are in the right job. Or you have been prescribed medication and your doctor has advised you to look for talking therapy as well.
I will spend time getting to know what life is like for you, rather than as ‘a person with depression’. Your low feelings are part of you but I’m curious about more than that, about how all the parts of you fit together. I hope you will feel that I know your story so well that you don’t have to keep starting from the beginning. Maybe you’ve never told anyone what your inner life is really like and it’s a relief to do so. It can be exhausting to keep saying you are ‘fine’, when inside you are not.
If someone close to you has died, this experience is unique to you. You may have heard about stages of grief, but it’s different for us all. I think it is important not to think of a death as something to ‘get over’, but to find a way to live while our loved ones remain part of us. I like this idea of continuing bonds but it can be more complicated, depending on your relationship.
If your feelings are getting in the way of living, you may be caught up in your grief and need help to process your loss so that you can live more fully. You may just be in so much pain that it helps to express that with another person.
There is no wrong time to seek help with bereavement, but often it can be after a few months or the first year, when others don’t remember the anniversary and give you the impression that it’s time you pulled yourself together and got on with life. It may be many years later.
My bereavement work is not just about loss through death. Sometimes things which seem normal life events are a huge loss to you. It could be the loss of an imagined future when a relationship ends, when an accident means you have to leave a job you love, or the sadness you feel when your children have grown up. These are all losses.
Trauma can be caused by anything intensely fearful, like witnessing or being involved in an accident, bullying or harassment at work or school, or being a victim of crime. If the fear stays with you and is not resolved, you can feel like you are stuck in a loop, returning constantly to the feelings of fear. I can work with you by providing a safe place to explore the fear and process it in a positive way.
I have worked with people who have survived physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I work gently to explore how this experience remains with you, so that you can process your feelings and continue a healthy survival. What happened is a part of your life experience and may be giving you symptoms of PTSD, like flashbacks, sleep disturbance, shame, panic, anxiety and feeling that you are a bad person. Gentleness is important so that you are not re-traumatised. I will always check with you when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed and it may be time to pull back to something safer for now.
I may advise you to do some physical therapy alongside the counselling. I like Van Der Kolk’s book, The Body Keeps the Score, which tells us how fearful experiences are stored physically and how exercise can help the mind and body to process the trauma.
STRESSFUL LIFE CHANGES
Life changes make us feel unsettled and anxious while we struggle to adapt to a new way of living. You may be a young adult worrying about the uncertainty of your future or about COVID-19, politics and climate change.
Half of all marriages and partnerships end in separation or divorce. You may be wondering about your current relationship and how to improve it or whether it is still right for you. You may have come out of a long relationship and are finding it hard to cope with the feelings you have towards your ex-partner and your fears of what life will be like now.
Perhaps you have recently retired and you’re wondering why life feels so different. Or you have been forced out of a job you love through redundancy, an accident or illness. Some transitions are natural, like getting older or children growing up and leaving home, but they can still be upsetting and difficult to come to terms with.
WORKING WITH MEN
Men sometimes carry their problems around, being strong on the outside. They leave the talking to others, often women. Your friends might be doing the same, but if you’re the one to admit it, you fear losing your credibility as a real man. There are ways to hide the pressure that builds up inside, through more personal fitness, gambling, alcohol, drugs or porn. There may also be an inner voice telling you to be a man, but this can be part of the problem.
You may be looking for counselling now because you’re fed up with suffering in silence or someone close to you thinks it would be a good idea. Your partner might be better at spotting the problems because they’re on the receiving end.
There is pressure for men to conform to norms, but masculinity is complicated. We don’t all fit into those norms, just as we don’t all have the same sexuality, body shape or feel comfortable with peer pressure that encourages us to act oppressively to others.
I think counselling can help men become better friends, partners, fathers and lovers. Learning to talk about yourself without fear of judgement can help your state of mind and relationships. When I work with men, they often find it’s a relief to finally let it all out. They feel lighter and open up to change, rather than closing down or manning up just to fit in.
FEES: All sessions are charged at £50 per 50 minutes. Payable by online bank transfer within three working days of the appointment. I will ask you to agree to a contract, which will include my bank details.
Please complete this short form to contact me. If you include a phone number I will call you back before the end of the next working day.
Liverpool Therapy Rooms, Suite 5, 34 Castle Street, Liverpool L2 0NR
Clients have consented for anonymous testimonials to appear on this website.
Online: Client TSeptember 2020
Mark is an attentive listener, who asked the right questions and linked parts of my past that I had never connected before. I left his sessions feeling lighter and more optimistic about the future
Online & in person: Client JSeptember 2020
The idea of counselling was out of my comfort zone but Mark has changed that. I feel listened to with empathy and without judgement and a weight is slowly beginning to lift.
Online: Client JMay 2021
I didn’t really know what to expect when looking for help and was very nervous about taking such a step, but I found your approach relaxed and it made me feel at ease at a time when I was very much on edge. You’re an excellent counsellor and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your services to any potential future clients.