What do we understand by the term: Trauma?

The term trauma is widely used in the media and most of us have heard stories of people traumatised by horrific events and suffering with conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In this article, I hope to explain what psychological trauma is, how it happens and what we can do about it.

So what is trauma?
In the physical realm we know that the human body has a protective skin. Our skin is tough enough to get us through most day to day situations, but occasionally something happens that breaks through our skin. We call it an injury, medical doctors often call it a trauma. Typically this results in a wound which needs to heal. Occasionally we are left with a scar, and depending on the severity of the injury we may even be left with permanent damage.

This description can serve as an analogy to our psychological realm, where we have a mental system that allows us to engage constructively with the world and protects us from unwanted intrusion. Some (including myself) believe that this psychological protective ‘skin’ is optimally formed in loving interactions with our caregivers during our development through childhood.

However, events can occur that break through this protective psychological ‘skin’ or maybe prevent it from forming correctly in the first place. Psychotherapists call this a trauma. A trauma leaves a psychological wound that needs to heal. Occasionally we are left with a metaphorical ‘scar’ which can affect the way we see and understand the world. Fortunately, humans are blessed with an innate capacity to heal, both physically and mentally.

What type of events can cause psychological trauma?
One way of looking at traumatic events is the concept of “too much coming in”, or things happening that break through our ability to protect ourselves. This could include violence, aggression, sexual abuse, loud noises, explosions, war, medical procedures, accidents, natural disasters, horrific images and stories. This list is not exhaustive as it is not possible to predict what events will be traumatic to any particular individual. One factor may be how well formed their ‘psychological skin’ is at the time of the incident. This may explain why a group who experience the same event at the same time can all have differing reactions to it.

One theory describes an exacerbating reason that may explain why an event can become traumatic. This is our ability to mobilise (or not) in accordance with our natural bodily responses to danger. In my article on fear I describe the ‘stress response’ (sometime called our fight/flight response). If the circumstances of the event did not allow us to respond in the way our natural instincts wanted us to, then that may have the effect of intensifying the trauma.

What are the effects of trauma?
Trauma can affect our memory, and not simply in the sense of remembering historical events. One function of our memory is to teach us what is good for us, and what is bad. We learn by experience more powerfully than by instruction. Recently on a nature walk, I saw a loving father instructing his young son what a stinging nettle looks like. I couldn’t help thinking that the boy will probably have a more powerful learning experience the first time he touches one.

A trauma can affect our memory by changing the natural setting of our warning alert system, rather like changing the sensitivity of a smoke alarm. Too sensitive and the alarm is constantly being triggered by benign events, too insensitive and the alarm may miss potentially important signals. Trauma sufferers can experience both these effects, and it can be very disturbing and unsettling, especially if it’s all happening out of conscious awareness. In their attempts to self regulate, they may find themselves plagued with unwanted bodily sensations or drawn to partake in risky behaviours or addictions.

What can we do about it?
As I mentioned earlier, the mind/body has a natural predisposition to heal but usually requires the right external circumstances to support the healing. Rather like a broken bone needs to be held in place and kept still and protected in order to heal well, our psychological wounds need an appropriate environment in which to heal well.

Typically this will be a place of safety, respect, openness and encouragement. This is what a psychotherapist seeks to co-create with their client. The therapist needs to keep in mind that traumas that were perpetrated to the client, especially by a person in a position of power or trust, can make the re-establishment of trust very difficult for the client. It is important that the client feels that they have control over the pace and depth of the evolving therapeutic alliance.

More?
We have been looking at trauma from the perspective of ‘too much coming in’. There is another, slightly more subtle but no less devastating kind of trauma which is characterised by ‘not enough coming in’. Perhaps if I use the word neglect it will become more clear.

This kind of trauma is becoming known as complex trauma and will be the subject of a future article.

If the themes in article strike a cord with you and you would like some help, contact Kathy Freeman, our Practice Manager, and she will connect you to the right member of our team at kathy.freeman@localcounsellingcentre.co.uk

By Tom Corbishley, LCC Therapist

Advertisements

‘She Was Just So Beautiful!’

‘She was just so beautiful!’ my client declares, more to herself than to me. ‘Beautiful in a whole person way. Such a lovely, warm, open face … big eyes … I think they were brown? And a natural, broad, welcoming smile. We connected. We were total strangers and we absolutely connected, right there in the queue in Pret Kings Cross. It’s mad isn’t it, how something like that can happen out of the blue?’

She doesn’t wait for me to respond, before continuing.

‘I was finding it hard to choose a snack. I wanted a granola bar but they don’t do them in Pret, so I was considering the chocolate coated rice cakes instead. You know how hard it is to choose something else when a store doesn’t have what you fancy? Well, I must’ve looked like I was having real trouble with this decision because she commented – “Just get the brownie – you know you want to”. I hadn’t seen her before that, locked as I was in the major decision of whether or not to buy rice cakes! I looked up and there she was – this beautiful young woman’.

My client breaks her reverie to look up at me briefly, then stares mid distance whilst she continues with her story. She speaks slowly, with consideration and some consternation.

‘I laughed at her comment and said, “Who knew it was so hard to choose a snack?”. We were immediately at ease with another, so much so that I didn’t even notice how comfortable I was speaking to her. It felt like I knew her. She picked up a chocolate bar – she clearly knew what she wanted. She said ‘life’s too short not to eat chocolate. Are you sure you don’t want that brownie?” I smiled and said I’d settle for those rice cakes after all. We were looking directly into one another’s faces, fully face to face. There was a connection, not a spark as such, but a definite connection. It wasn’t flirtatious or salacious – she felt like my best friend, my sister and a potential lover all at once.  She was younger than me, shorter, with a cropped haircut. She is exactly the type of woman I’m attracted to. We joined the queue together and paid for our snacks without saying anything else. As she walked away she turned and said, “Enjoy those rice cakes, won’t you?” with a raised eyebrow, in a gently mocking way. She gave me another one of her confident, easy smiles and headed off for her train. I stood stock still and watched her walk all the way to her platform. All – the – way. I had a flash thought to run after her to ask for her number! Can you believe that? Me? The world’s most monogamous, happily married – TO A MAN – woman!’

Having finished her story, my client holds my gaze for a while, then turns to look out of the window. She sighs. She looks sad, nostalgic almost. I don’t feel the need to say anything. I sit in comfortable silence as my client sits with her experience. For her, this is an awe inspiring and consequently disturbing moment of human connection, rarely felt in day to day life. The fact that this happened with another woman makes it all the more affecting for her. My client would never have allowed that kind of connection to happen with a man. She would have shut that potential down at the very first word. She is deliberately and determinedly monogamous and very much in love with her husband of 15 years. At the same time, she has always known that she is sexually attracted to women. The only same sex sexual experience she’s had was a one off, sensuous night in bed with a fellow student at University, a memory that initially shamed her and which now she treasures. She has always safely contained her attraction to women in the realm of fantasy and, without much effort or sense of deprivation, chosen men for all of her sexual and love relationships. She has no plans to change this either but over recent years she has been feeling a sense of loss for the female sexual relationships she will never have. She has married for life and is grateful every day for the love she feels for her husband, but she feels the weight of what will never be. She talks in therapy about how many of her female friends have admitted to finding women sexually attractive and she understands that this a perfectly normal and typical experience for many women. ‘Everyone knows someone who has left their husband for a woman right?’ She’s passed caring about finding a label for her sexuality. She really couldn’t care less about Kinsey and his Scale. She wouldn’t change a thing about her life and the choices she has made so far. And yet ….. she feels the pain of having a valid and fundamental part of herself that will never be expressed. She knows she is working through a grieving process and she expects it to pass. In the meantime, she sits with the impact of that precious meeting in Pret.

She turns away from the window and looks back at me. With a steady assurance, she says ‘She really was beautiful …. And I think she might have thought the same about me.’

The client is this story is a product of my imagination. If you need a space to work through your sexual identity, sexual or relationship difficulties or, indeed, any other emotional or psychological challenges, please contact Local Counselling Centre on hello@localcounsellingcentre.co.uk Our expert team of therapists is waiting to support you. If you are a counsellor and are interested in specialising in sex and relationship therapy, take a look at the Diploma in Clinical Sexology offered by The Cambridge Institute of Clinical Sexology.

Written by Julie Sale Director of LCC and CICS.

Gender – What is it?

Perhaps it is easier to say what gender is not – it is not sex, and the two words should never be confused as meaning the same thing. Many people interchange the terms gender and sex, believing them to be the same, and this leads to confusion for many and distress to others for whom the difference is a significant issue in their lives.

Sex is the biological description of a thing, be it plant or animal, and is based on DNA, chromosomes, hormones and the resultant anatomy. Sex therefore cannot be changed at a biological level, although the outward appearance of a person can be altered by medical interventions, as in the case of what used to be known as Sex Reassignment Surgery. Terminology constantly changes and better descriptions include Gender Confirmation Surgery, Gender Affirmation Surgery or perhaps Genital Reconstruction Surgery as, after all, that it what actually happens.

Gender, on the other hand, is predominantly a social construct and, dependent upon where in the world you live, can mean different things to different people. We have to accept, though, that gender is determined, in the first instance, by a person’s biological sex and outward appearance at birth. This means that a baby with a penis is assigned male at birth and is expected to grow up to be a man and behave in a way that society expects a man to be. Similarly, a baby with a vagina is assigned female at birth and is expected to grow up to be a woman and to behave as society expects a woman to be. It is therefore widely accepted that gender is a learned behaviour – we watch our parents and other adults during childhood and copy them.

However, gender is not all about learned behaviour; there is also a biological element which is understood to occur during development of the foetus. All foetuses start life as female because it is initially only the female sex chromosome, which is inherited from the mother, that is active. After the eighth week of pregnancy the chromosome from the father becomes active. An X-chromosome will allow the foetus to continue its female development; a Y-chromosome will cause the foetus to develop as a male.

This process is known as differentiation and occurs in two distinct stages:

  • Physical differentiation – development of gonads and secondary sexual features
  • Brain differentiation – development of the brain and neurological connections.

Differentiation may be influenced for example by stress in the mother during pregnancy, which may then influence hormonal release at strategic times during foetal development. For example: it is possible for a foetus to develop a male physicality following activation of the Y chromosome but, because of stress or other influences at significant times, the neurological differentiation process can be affected, thereby leaving the neurological characteristics to continue development along their original female path.   Alternatively, the differentiation could be interrupted such that a female body develops male neurological characteristics. Please note that this is a very much simplified explanation of what is a very complex process with many factors which may or may not influence the final outcome.

Research supports the influence of both sociological learned behaviour and differentiation in the establishment of gender identity, although specific details are still very much under debate. These processes give rise to the awareness of self and, subsequently, to the gender identity that a person believes themselves to have. There are truly many variables associated with gender identity and there are increasing numbers of individuals who feel that their gender identity is different to that which was assigned at birth and that they no longer fit within the generally accepted binary ideal of the culture within which they live.

It is the expectation of society, then, that determines gender and appropriate behaviour, although this may vary widely from one group or society to another. Clearly the man’s gender role in western society is very different to that expected of a man from the Kalahari Desert, for example. In both cases the biological sex remains the same, but the expected behaviour and role within society differ considerably.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that people become confused by what they don’t understand, as we move away from the long-standing binary notion of man and woman. The concept that gender is fluid, and that there is a multiplicity of genders across the spectrum between the two extremes of male and female, is difficult for some to embrace. The ability to express one’s gender in any fashion one wishes is known as being non-binary or genderqueer and is the underpinning concept of gender diversity. A person can identify how they wish, whether that is as male, female, both, neither or in fact anything that feels appropriate for them. For some their gender is fluid and can change depending upon how they feel at any particular time. The ‘queer’ in genderqueer has the original meaning of being unusual, rather than the derogatory inflection that has been applied since the early 1900’s, particularly in relation to gay men.

We are in a time of change, when a younger, more rebellious generation no longer wishes to be bound by the older and more conservative ideals of what gender is and of how people should be expected to conform and behave. The deliberate use of ‘queer’, in defiance of the pejorative application of the word by older generations, only makes their behaviour harder to accept as being just the natural progression of a new generation.

Gender, therefore, is not a straightforward concept which can be explained simply. It is complex and it is fluid, constantly changing for many as they move through their lives. When meeting someone whose outward presentation is ambiguous and whose mannerisms are not obviously masculine or feminine, we are well-advised to be polite enough to ask how the person wishes to be gendered. The answer may surprise: the person may simply say ‘he’ or ‘she’; but they could equally respond with one of a whole range of alternate gender pronouns such as ‘they’ (as a singular pronoun), ze, zie or ey. The list continues to grow.

However, despite the wide variety of self-identified gender options which appear to be available, there is a group of people for whom the binary concept of gender remains very important, namely trans men and trans women.  A trans man is someone who was born female but feels that his gender identity is male. Similarly, a trans woman was assigned male at birth but feels her gender identity is female. These people often suffer deep unhappiness (or dysphoria) as they struggle to accept the gender role they were assigned at birth; they frequently feel they cannot continue to live that way.

There are two terms which need to be understood when talking about gender dysphoria and those whom it affects. The first is cisgendered, (pronounced sisgendered). Cis is from Latin and means ‘to be on the same side’. This is applied to people whose gender assigned at birth matches their biological sex. Being ‘cis’ has nothing to do with sexuality and so it is quite feasible to be a cisgendered lesbian for example. Trans, on the other hand, means ‘to cross’ or ‘on the other side of’ and applies to people for whom their gender, assigned at birth and based on biological sexual features, does not correspond to how they feel. Many trans women and men experience deep psychological distress or dysphoria when they feel forced by the norms of society to conform to a gender role which they feel is wrong for them.

For many trans-identifying people therefore, the concept of the ‘old fashioned’ gender binary is important as they very specifically wish to change from male to female or vice versa; many are not interested in a ‘half-way house’ of a vaguer gender definition. It is important to them to be recognised as the woman or man they feel themselves to be. Some, of course, can and do find a place between the two extremes within which to settle and live a contented life.

There is a long-standing belief that being trans is a mental health disease. This is not the case. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Edition 5, published by the American Psychological Association, is used internationally as the document of record for identifying mental health issues. The Manual no longer identifies a gender identity disorder but instead defines it as gender dysphoria. The previous use of ‘disorder’ was seen as pathologising the condition (representing it as a disease). The term gender dysphoria takes away the assumption that it is a disease, in an attempt to destigmatise the diagnosis. Gender Dysphoria is defined as: “an anxiety, uncertainty or persistently uncomfortable feelings experienced by an individual about their assigned gender which is in conflict with their internal gender identity.”

Many people with this condition do indeed have mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, but these can occur as a result of how society treats trans-identifying people rather than from the condition itself. Trying to conform to the gender role assigned to them at birth leads many to marry and have families, for instance, as a means of proving to themselves and others that they can ‘fit in’. High rates of self-harm and suicide are a direct result of the inability to successfully integrate into a society which does not accept. Waiting lists for medical and psychological support just add to the ills trans people deal with on a daily basis.

Paradoxically, significant numbers of young men, who feel they should have been women, turn to ‘macho’ careers in the military, the police, or heavy industry, for instance, in the hope of dispelling their ‘wrong’ feelings. “I wanted to knock some sense into myself,” is a not uncommon phrase from those who give up the struggle and eventually seek to transition.

It is also a common misconception that all trans people have ‘sex change surgery’. This is not the case and many find that they can live contentedly in their acquired gender role, whatever that may be, without the need for medication or surgical interventions. For example, in 2015/16 statistics from Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic showed that only 60% of trans women receiving treatment went on to have genital reconstructive surgery.

Gender diversity is an emotive topic which receives significant exposure in the press and in social media. It is a subject many find difficult to grasp. There are some who feel that being trans is not a ‘proper’ illness; others think that offering surgical intervention is wrong and is a form of self-mutilation; and some see it as a waste of NHS resources. This heated debate is further fueled by the rise in numbers of young children who are coming forward, often with the support of their parents, to seek help dealing with their gender identity.

The focus of health care engagement is alleviating the distress. The goal of treatment for trans people is to improve their quality of life by facilitating their transition to a physical state that more closely represents their sense of themselves; that may or may not include hormone treatments or surgery.

Trans, non-binary and gender-variant people are individuals who have a different sense of self when compared to the majority of society who are cisgendered. Mockery, discrimination or abuse of these people is just as much an infringement of their human rights as it would be for any other minority group. In less than a lifetime public understanding of, and attitudes towards, those suffering gender dysphoria have improved markedly; it is to be hoped that the progress continues.

The recently published Second Memorandum of Understanding against Conversion Therapy acknowledges that no one gender identification is preferable to another. As therapists we must be aware of this when working with clients and ensure that we do not inadvertently (or deliberately) direct a client to pursue one gender identification in preference to another. This would be seen to convert the clients’ perspective and to work in a reparative manner which is now acknowledged to be unethical and harmful. Caution and appropriate training are needed to work in this field (and also that of sexual and relationship diversity), to be able to provide a client with the support, and in some cases perhaps education, about gender and sexual diversity and the many variations that exist in society today.

The Second Memorandum of Understanding against Conversion Therapy can be found on professional websites and is relevant to the medical, psychological, counselling and therapeutic professions within the UK who are signatories. Information can also be found on many sites that are allies to and supporters of gender and sexual diversity. This document extends the existing professional stance against conversion therapy for sexual diversity to now be inclusive of gender diversity. The details of the memorandum can be found here.

Taking issue with the Head of Policy

So we’ve had another reminder this week that our culture divides mental and physical health, to the detriment of those suffering with the former. George Freeman, head of policy for the government, stated in a Radio 5 Live interview that disability benefits should go to ‘really disabled people’ rather than people ‘taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety’. Freeman has apologised, (of course he has – his comments have been met with a flood of complaints and Teresa May in non too pleased with him), but the words have been said and they reveal much about Freeman’s attitude to mental health.

As a Psychotherapist you’d expect me to take issue with Mr Freeman’s words and I certainly do and will. This incident has elicited many responses already and the advocacy it has generated for people experiencing anxiety has been heartening. For me, the aspect of this situation that I find most striking is the total ignorance of the opinion Mr Freeman expressed, by which I mean the complete lack of understanding he has of what it is like to experience acute anxiety or an anxiety related condition. And I don’t mean the lack of empathic understanding – I mean the lack of knowledge. Having witnessed the impact that anxiety has on my clients over the years, I find it ridiculous that we keep talking about mental health as if it is different to physical health. Physiologically, the sensations of anxiety are created by our fight or flight system, located our amygdala. This almond shaped part of our brain releases adrenalin and cortisol as a response to threat, to prepare us to fight the threat or run away from it. Those hormones are real and measurable in the body. They are not ‘all in the mind’ as in ‘made up’. They are ‘all in the mind’ as in ‘produced by the brain’. The physical impact in someone with acute anxiety is visceral; heart pounding, nauseating, gut wrenching, head spinning, terror based, life limiting, debilitating anxiety.

Dr John E. Sarno writes extensively on the psychosomatic basis of physical pain. In The Divided Mind he explains how the brain limits the oxygen supply to parts of the body, creating pain, as a form of distraction from unconscious emotional distress. Here we have a medical doctor explaining physical pain as a mind generated problem, turning Freeman’s premise totally on its head. People claiming disability allowances for a back condition, those ‘really disabled people’ that Freeman refers to, may well have a ‘mental’ condition and people with acute anxiety have demonstrable physical symptoms. It really is time for a more sophisticated understanding of the mind body connection to be more generally understood, particularly for people like Mr Freeman who are in that most dangerous position of having the power to impose an opinion based on no knowledge.

Julie Sale is LCC’s Director and aᅠ UKCP ᅠRegistered Psychotherapist,ᅠCOSRTᅠ Accredited Psychosexual/Relationship Psychotherapist, Supervisor, EFT Trainer, Master NLP Practitioner and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

If you’re worried about anxiety and the impact it may be having on your life please take a look at our website or get in touch

World Mental Health Day-First Aid for Anxious Minds

When I was a student psychotherapist I had an epiphany moment when I thought I had found a cure for anxiety. I must stress that I am not generally prone to grandiosity and, of course, it wasn’t long before I discovered than my insights had all been seen before. The epiphany was borne of a moment of striking personal insight that could only have been seen as revelatory to a person used to living with an anxious mind.

I was walking down Whitechapel Road in the East End of London with my mind churning about something I was worried about. Eventually, I realised that I needed to calm down. I instinctively took a deep sigh breath and I looked up. And there, right in front of me was The East London Mosque. How had I not seen it? It is a very large, visually striking building and I had almost walked right past it. I hadn’t seen it because my visual attention had been locked into my thoughts. My eyes had been focused on my anxiety, not on what was actually in front of my face.

Here was my epiphany.

In that moment I understood one way to quieten an anxious mind, a step towards developing peace of mind, a way to connect with the wider mind of spirituality. You take a deep breath and you turn your attention outside of yourself…to the external world…..to the present moment.

Now, this might be blindingly obvious to many of you, but, to me, someone who had spent, to this point, most of her life lost either in a book or in my own thoughts, it was an absolute revelation.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is psychological first aid. For me, the ability to shift my attention from inside of my mind to the outside world is my ‘go to’ medicine in my mental health first aid cabinet. I call it my ‘Stop, Look’ procedure when teaching it to clients. If you find that your mind is locked in anxious thoughts, make the choice to stop, take a long breath, breathing in for a count of 3 and out for a count of 5, then turn your attention to your external environment. Name everything you can see, hear, smell, touch, in the simplest term; ‘I can see a desk, I can hear the traffic, I can smell my perfume, I can feel the key board under my fingers’. Alternatively, if the outside world is causing you distress, for example if you are on a busy tube train or with people you don’t like very much, turn your attention to your inside world. Attentional flexibility is essential first aid for anxious minds. Give it a go in honour of World Mental Health Day.

 

LCC Director Julie Sale asks ‘How Important is Sex in Relationships?’

How Important is Sex in Relationships?

The rich diversity of sexual practices, sexual identities and relationship constructs in human experience makes writing on the subject of sex and relationships inherently fraught with difficulty. Are we talking here about the importance of sex in heterosexual, bi or same sex relationships, in couples or multiples, and, if we had the relationship model clear, what exactly do we mean by sex?

When I think about my work as a sex and relationship therapist I can say that, yes, sex appears to be important in relationships. From couples who are reeling with the impact of an affair, to those who have not had sex in years, to those who argue constantly about the frequency and quality of sex, the presence or absence of sex within a relationship seems to be a significant issue. But what is it about sex that makes it so important?

There is the ‘biological imperative’ argument that sexual energy is fuelled by a fundamental drive to reproduce. For those clients I work with who are struggling with infertility, the raw anguish of not achieving this biological necessity is all too painfully evident … but it’s the children they are desperate for, not the sex. In fact the sex inevitably becomes a bland, means to an end rather than being a goal in and of itself. And we all know people who are staunchly opposed to having children, for whom the importance of sex seems to be unaffected by the absence of a reproductive objective.

Is it the physical pleasure of sex that makes it important then, the transporting power and tension relief of an orgasm? Sex is undeniably physically gratifying for many, though not universally, and if it was just about pleasure or release wouldn’t masturbation be enough?

My observation is that the perceived importance of sex in relationships is as much about human relational needs as it is about biology and pleasure… and like everything human, it’s all in the meaning making.

For some people physical touch is their love language. Being touched intimately by their partner means that they are loved and lovable. For these people, no amount of words or gestures in other love languages can compensate for an absence of sex. For others, the reflected sense of themselves that they get from being desired sexually can affect their sexual behaviour. Having affairs or pursuing sex from reluctant partners can be an effort to confirm an idea of themselves as attractive and desirable. Sex plays a part in the proximity dilemma that people in intimate relationships face – how close they become to one another without losing their individual sense of self. Choosing whether or not to have sex with our partners regulates the space between us. Similarly, the quality of a couple’s sex life can be the barometer for the quality of their relationship and vice versa.

I’ve seen couples repair their sex lives by reconstructing their relationship, resolving past resentments, improving communication, developing an understanding of their partner’s world, overcoming the anxiety of their childhood attachment patterns … all quite typical therapy material. Perhaps less predictably, I’ve seen couples repair their relationship problems by re-writing their sexual codes, acknowledging asexuality, embracing polyamory, exploring less main stream sexual practices, to name but a few solutions that I have witnessed.

So, back to our question of how important is sex in relationships. Although this is a deceptively simple question, the essential complexity of human experience means that each individual person will have a different answer within the unique dynamic of their specific relationship. All roads, it seems, bring us back to the glory and agony of human diversity, in which, as a therapist, I delight.

For help with sexual and relationship issues contact us now on hello@localcounsellingcentre.co.uk 

 

Introducing Marja Crowther … LCC Barnet’s Sex and Relationship Specialist

I am Marja Crowther, sexual and relationship therapist, general counsellor and supervisor based in Barnet. I believe life is about balance: work/fun, family/friends, closeness/space, routine/new experiences and calmness/activity. As humans we need to find our own ultimate balance and I see therapy as something to help in the process.

I am also passionate about trying new things and encourage clients to push their boundaries by trying out new behaviours whether in communicating more or better with their partners, by being more assertive or by better fulfilling their potential. Change is easier with support.

If you would like to access our service in Barnet please contact us on barnet@localcounsellingcentre.co.uk in complete confidence.