Are you feeling uncertain about who you are and what you want from life? Are you scared of sleepwalking through life – do you want to start living, not just existing? Maybe not feeling good enough is holding you back?
There are times in life when we no longer feel certain about who we are or what we want. Sometimes we feel we have everything we ever wanted, but still have a niggling sense of unease, restlessness or discontent. These feelings might be prompted by a “milestone” birthday, retirement, redundancy or some form of loss (for example, a bereavement, loss of health or relationship breakdown).
I help people who are going through periods of uncertainty to figure out who they are and what they want, so they can create a fulfilling life. I help people to stop giving themselves such a hard time and feel more comfortable in their own skin. I help people to accept themselves and feel more confident. I want to help you get to where you want to be.
About Me and How I Work
I’m Allison (she/her). I’ve been where you are: struggling with life and looking for help. I’ve struggled to feel good enough and been plagued by an inner critical voice that gave me such a hard time. Several times through my life I have questioned who I am and what I want from life. I’ve also learned to manage repeated episodes of anxiety and depression and have a toolkit of useful techniques from these experiences. Finding a good therapist changed my life and this, along with my values, is the reason I trained to be a therapist.
My Values – My “Why”
I am passionate about finding ways to truly live, not just exist. I stand for authenticity, creativity, connection and compassion. I think it’s important to slow down and find moments of calm in an increasingly hectic world. And I really want to help others to live authentically and at peace with themselves, living in line with their own values and finding meaning in their lives. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be great – and neither do you.
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive but in finding something to live for.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Who I Work With
I work one-to-one with adults (I do not work with children, families or couples). I am LGBTQ+ friendly and child-free positive (I do not see the choice not to have children as something to be “fixed”). I embrace difference and diversity and welcome clients of all (18+) ages, genders, sexualities and backgrounds.
How I Work
My first aim is to create a safe and confidential space, free from judgement, where you can really be yourself. My approach is gentle and nurturing and clients usually find me open and warm; many are surprised by how quickly they feel they can trust me. I work in a relational way – not wearing a “therapist mask”, but engaging with you as authentically as I can, human-to-human. Research has shown that the most important factor in achieving positive outcomes in therapy is the relationship you build with your therapist, so it’s important that you find the right person, one you feel comfortable with. It can be a good idea to talk to a few before making a decision. For this reason, I offer a free 30 minute chat, then a half price first session, to make sure that I am the right therapist for you.
I do not have one set approach to therapy because we are all different. I will draw from different modalities, traditions and techniques to best suit your needs. I have a passion for using creative approaches to therapy and may incorporate creative activities if you are open to working in this way. Creative work can be a great way to develop insights that don’t easily emerge from thinking or talking about things, and you do not need to be “good at” art or creativity to benefit from this kind of work.
Session Details – When, Where, How Much
Where I Work
I mainly work face-to-face in Sunderland city centre, but also offer sessions online via Zoom. I have a nice, spacious room in Hills Arts Centre, just round the corner from the main train station (or where it used to be!) Unfortunately this is on the second floor of the building and there is no lift; I wish it was more accessible, but for now I can offer online sessions if you are unable to manage the stairs. I am also open to outdoor therapy and would love to discuss this as an option with you if it’s something you would be interested in.
Prices and Availability
I work Monday to Thursday only, usually from 1.30pm to 6.30pm, though I am open to arranging morning appointments.
Sessions normally last one full hour and cost £45. A small number of concessionary places may be available and I am open to arranging session of longer or shorter length. Payment is required at least 24 hours in advance of sessions, by bank transfer, in order to secure the appointment. I offer a 10% discount for block-booking four or more sessions at a time with payment in full at the time of booking. A minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required for cancellation otherwise the fee will still be payable. I ask that you commit to at least fortnightly sessions, especially for appointments after 5pm, preferably the same time and day each week, though I can usually accommodate shift working if necessary.
Let’s Get Started!
Email and let me know when you are available to have therapy sessions. I will reply to confirm if my availability matches or to offer alternatives. Then, we will start with a free 30-minute consultation, which can be by phone or Zoom, followed by booking in your first full session if we are both happy to proceed.
I am a fully qualified and insured psychotherapeutic counsellor and a registered member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy). BACP registration shows that I have been trained to an approved standard, undertake regular training and supervision, and that I work in accordance with the BACP Ethical Guidelines.