About me and my approach to therapy

My name is Leo. I am a qualified person centred counsellor based on the edge of the Peak District near Macclesfield.

Lions Paw is taken from the story of Androcles and the Lion Aesop’s tales.

My interpretation of the story is when Androcles realised that the Lion was in pain and could sense the source of the pain being the thorn, he chose to overcome his fears and help the Lion. The Lion, feeling instant relief from his pain, realised what Androcles had done, and through his gratitude a great bond was formed.

Some of us carry that thorn in our paw, unable to take it out ourselves, some are not able to identify where that pain is coming from. This pain is emotional pain. It can present itself in different ways from anger, anxiety or depression, issues with food or body image and can lead to unhealthy coping strategies such as the use of drugs, alcohol or self harm.

We put up barriers to protect ourselves from emotional pain. We push people away, we damage relationships and we neglect ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way. To heal we must accept our vulnerability and allow ourselves to feel. But this must be done in a safe way. The counselling process can help to share the burden of emotional pain, allow you to become more aware of the root cause and help you to tackle it enabling you to live a more fulfilled life.

Asking for help is not a weakness,
being vulnerable is a strength.

For some, the thought of therapy brings up feelings of being “weak” or “less of a person” or perhaps “there are people worse off than me”. Have you have been told to “man up” or “just get on with it”. This comes from a lack of awareness, comments like this will only bring us down, feed into the guilt we already feel for not being “ok”. It can lead to us go further inside ourselves and have a distorted view of our experience.

As a counsellor it is my role to create an environment where we can build a healthy therapeutic relationship. I believe a flexible working approach to therapy can facilitate this. Providing you the space to understand your issues in an environment that you find accessible; an environment that allows growth of self-awareness and an understanding to free yourself from the burden of emotional pain. Whether we meet face to face in a comfortable quiet space, talk on the phone, meet remotely online or out for a walk in nature, I want you to feel comfortable enough to be able to share some of that burden.

My approach comes from a person centred base, from Carl Rogers’s belief that we are all born with the innate ability to “self actualise”, to be the best version of ourselves, to live through our own frame of reference rather than one that has been imposed on us by others, from parents, teachers or society as a whole.

However, as counsellors we borrow from a number of approaches, and we will use a range of skills in our “tool box”, we will use what we feel is appropriate to the individual in the moment. I feel passionate about working with acceptance, we can not necessarily change everything about our lives but we can come to accept our experience, learn from it and grow. I like to work with mindfulness techniques to gain a stronger control of our mind. Noticing thoughts that don’t serve us well and to let them pass without judgment, rather than engaging with them and entering an unhealthy cycle.

I also work with relational therapy in mind. Looking at how we act and react within relationships, “transactions”/ interactions we are part of on a day to day.

Whether you have trauma in your past, have become a new parent and are struggling to adjust to the responsibility, stress at work, trying to understand your place in society, questioning your identity....you have the right to emotional support and giving yourself permission to say “it is ok not to be ok”.

My experience has been with both young people and adults from varying backgrounds, some harder to reach and engage, some that feel excluded from the world all together. I work with issues around anxiety and depression, traumatic and adverse experiences, work stress, issues with relationships, substance misuse, identity issues and sexuality. I am an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and feel accepted which allows me to build positive therapeutic relationships with clients from the community.

I feel that therapy should not be a privilege; it should be accessible to those who need it. I strive to accommodate clients based on need rather than financial situation.

The first thing to do is to get in touch. We can chat, there is no pressure and we will see if what I can offer fits with what you need. Allow yourself the chance to heal, a chance to grow, to move forward. I look forward to speaking to you.