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"Courage gives us a voice, and compassion gives us an ear. Without both, there is no opportunity for empathy and connection”

Brene Brown


Welcome

It takes great courage to look for help and finding the right therapist for you can feel daunting. I hope the information on this website helps however, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

A bit about me

Hello, I’m Claire, an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist providing both short- and long-term therapy to adults and adolescents in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. I offer a confidential, compassionate and non-judgemental setting in which to explore a range of feelings and concerns that may be troubling you.

I believe that we all possess an innate capacity to heal and grow and that the relationship between client and therapist can be a key source for change, self acceptance and healing. Working at your pace, I will support you to find your own meanings and ways past your problems, so that you may move beyond self-limiting behaviours, thoughts and beliefs into a space of expansion and possibility.

My Integrative training enables me to weave together several different therapeutic approaches to best meet your specific needs. As it can be difficult to talk about the challenges you are facing, if you choose, we are also able to use the arts for exploration.

What concerns and feelings can art psychotherapy help with?

You may suffer from:

  • Stress and feeling overwhelmed
  • A lack of confidence and self esteem
  • Relationship issues
  • Symptoms like panic attacks, anxiety and sleepless nights
  • Bereavement and major life changes
  • Feelings of disconnection, depression and emptiness
  • Obsessive thoughts and rumination
  • Trauma and Post Traumatic stress
  • Anger issues
  • Problems with family or school life
  • Issues related to sexuality
  • Addiction
  • Compulsive or destructive behaviours
  • Appeasing, pleasing, or protecting others at your own expense

Perhaps you'd like to:

  • Find a sense of calm
  • Improve your sense of worthiness
  • Begin to form a renewed trust in yourself and others
  • View distressing symptoms as protective survival strategies
  • Make peace with painful parts of your past
  • Come to understand, know and accept yourself
  • Develop enriching relationships and set healthy boundaries
  • Gain insight and a deeper understanding of you feelings and concerns
  • Manage and express difficult emotions in a healthy way
  • Learn to trust and use your inner voice, strength, and wisdom
  • Understand your sexuality
  • Break free from patterns of behaviour that may keep you stuck
  • Reconnect to hope, humour and passion
  • Create a life that feels more authentic

Art therapy

“I found that I could say things with colours and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way - things I had no words for”

Georgia O’Keefe

Sometimes the best way to express our experiences, especially those we find hard to name or understand, is through creativity. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media to support expression and communication alongside talking.


You don’t need to have any natural artistic talent to benefit from arts psychotherapy. I typically work with people who have little or no experience of using the arts in their adult life and find that all that is needed is curiosity and willingness to explore. Most sessions involve a combination of talking and artmaking. However, at times, we may just talk and think together or, alternatively, the artmaking can be the focus. Ultimately it is what works for you that matters and so I am guided by you and what you bring to sessions.


If you wish to explore this method, I will support you in using art materials in your own way and at your own pace, encouraging you to reflect on your artmaking process so that together we can begin to make sense of what is happening in your life.

Express

Artmaking may include painting or drawing, clay work, using a sand-tray and objects (natural and manmade), creating a collage, working with postcards, or arranging stones or shells. You may choose to create something on your own or, if it seems appropriate and therapeutic for you, we can create artwork together. You are also welcome to bring to session found objects and any artwork or poetry, self-authored or connected with.

Understand

Translating our experiences into artistic expression can give us greater clarity and insight into what we are dealing with. Reflecting on your artistic process can serve as a bridge between feeling and thought and bring to light something that somehow you’ve always ‘known’ but couldn’t quite put your finger on. Together, we can explore what emotions and associations get brought up, uncovering many layers of meaning in ways that leads to alternative, fresh perspectives – and perhaps a new understanding of yourself.

Feel better

Making art out of our difficulties and predicaments can be transformative and empowering. Over time you may uncover, explore and express aspects of yourself that you would like to inhabit more, as well as becoming more at ease with the parts of yourself that feel more challenging to live with. It is a process of coming to know and accept yourself in a way that allows you to have greater compassion for yourself and others. From this place, you can access your innate ability to change and a new realm of potential and possibility opens up.

Credentials

I trained at the Institute for Arts and Therapy in Education (IATE) and gained an MA (Distinction) in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy.


I am accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP) and follow their standards of proficiency. I am also a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and abide by their Ethical Framework for Good Practice. I have regular supervision with a UKCP registered supervisor and am committed to ongoing professional development.

My work in the NHS, community-based charities and private practice has seen me successfully help clients experiencing a wide range of presenting issues. I have a lifetime of involvement in the arts in various capacities, including in my previous career as a primary school teacher.

I have been honoured to work with a diverse range of clients from many different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds and am committed to working inclusively.

Next steps

For a free, initial, 30-minute telephone consultation and to find out more please contact me.

First session:

Our first session is an opportunity to discuss your needs and situation in detail, explore any questions you have and to see whether my way of relating works for you. After that session, we may decide to take our work together further, or I may suggest a colleague or specialist agency that you can approach for more suitable help.

On-going sessions:

Sessions are usually held once a week, and last for 50 mins per session. Your slot will be reserved for you each week on the same day, at the same time.

I also offer 90 minute sessions, for particular clients. This can be discussed in our intial meeting or at any point during our work.

Twice weekly sessions can be arranged at the request of the client.

Fees & availability

I see clients in person and on zoom for regular weekday sessions and on Saturday mornings.

My fee is £80 for a standard 50-minute session.


I provide a number of low cost places, set to a sliding scale, for people with limited resources. Please do feel free to contact me to discuss further if this applies to you.

Payment is due before each session via a bank transfer.

Please note that if you want to cancel an appointment, I require at least 24 hours' notice, otherwise you will still need to pay for any sessions missed. Special consideration will be given to clients who are affected by emergency circumstances.

Get in touch

If you would like any more information about the services I offer, please complete this contact form and I will respond as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.

You can also message me on 07815 780 331 if you would prefer to leave a message or speak to me first.


I look forward to hearing from you.

Some frequently asked questions

Does therapy work?

Psychotherapy has been shown to help many people recover and move forward from mental health symptoms and is recognised as beneficial by the NHS.

Benefits of talk therapies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Therapy is an investment in yourself. It can be used to help solve particular problems or can be a process of personal development within the therapeutic relationship. Either way, it is a positive step towards understanding your problems, enabling you to make conscious changes in your life and create the best future for yourself.

What is the difference between counselling, psychotherapy and arts psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, counselling usually refers to shorter-term more focused work, exploring and gaining insight into a particular issue, while psychotherapy tends to be a longer-term process and is often indicated if your difficulties are more deeply rooted.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to increase your awareness of your ‘inner world’ and the influence it holds over your relationships, both from the past and the present. As with other therapies, the context for healing is an empathic therapeutic relationship, developed over time through profound conversation. Working with the arts in psychotherapy can help deepen that conversation, as it combines psychotherapeutic technique with creative processes using arts materials or actions to help in how you communicate your feelings, thoughts and emotions.

What are the benefits of art therapy?

The arts work with a part of us which can be under-used or forgotten as we grow into adulthood. Art therapy provides the opportunity for reconnecting with the imaginative aspects of your personality, allowing in the more playful, spontaneous, open and experimental part of self. This can be helpful if you tend to overthink things, as art-making can get you ‘out of your head’, opening doors to new ways of expressing things and broadening your scope for healthy change.


Furthermore, making art in a therapeutic setting often allows us to get beneath the surface and explore what is really happening in our lives, accessing deeper thoughts and feelings that may lie beyond conscious awareness. The art can hold many meanings at once and can create a safe distance between us and our feelings, which are now outside of us safely contained in an image, poem, or other creative form. This helps to calm the mind and facilitates healing when particular issues or feelings are too difficult to talk about.

How many therapy or counselling sessions will I need?

This depends very much on the difficulties you are bringing, how you work and what you are hoping to achieve. In our initial session, we can discuss your needs and situation in detail and work together to decide whether short or longer-term therapy would be most appropriate. Together we will review your work regularly to get a sense of how it is going and how long you may continue. You have the right to stop or take a break from therapy at any time. In general, it is most beneficial for this to be mutually decided and I encourage you to discuss this with me so that our work can be reviewed and thought about together before ending.

Is counselling confidential?

All sessions are confidential. The only exception to confidentiality is if I believe that serious harm may occur to yourself or others. Should this situation occur, I would then make every effort to seek your consent to break the agreement about confidentiality. However, with or without your agreement, I am ethically and professionally obliged in these circumstances to contact appropriate professionals and disclose relevant information.


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