Areas of Focus

Relationship Issues

Relationships can be a minefield for many. At the early stages, there’s plenty to be unsure and insecure about; at later stages there’s plenty to be disgruntled and dissatisfied about.

The truth is, the modern couple is a very ambitious undertaking. We want our relationship to encapsulate four relationships: lover, carer, friend, and life partner. When you think of the complications and difficulties we face in each of those relationships separately, you can imagine how they compound and multiply in combination.

I’m a big believer in brutal honesty in relationships. Relationships are complicated enough without muddying the waters with concealment or deceit. But honesty can be tricky, to say the least; so therapy is a forum in which we can all talk it out while keeping things civil and constructive. The most common issues include: sex and attraction; love and nurturing; quality time together; and of course the practicalities of life (money, children, division of labour, etc.). Couples who are in distress need to come in to attempt a resolution, or at the very least a harmonious separation. Couples who are about to marry can use the time to preempt issues, a little like you might get a house fully inspected before moving in.

Anger management

Anger management is one of my specialties. For a quick look at my views on anger management, see my interviews and articles on the subject in Blogs, or indeed peruse my book on the subject, The Anger Fallacy.

Anger is the most commonly experienced and interpersonally toxic of the negative emotions. My aim will ultimately be to help you reduce and master your anger. But before that, my first concern will be to simply hear you out. What are your grievances? What’s frustrating you? What are your triggers, what are your patterns? Once we can answer these questions with a fair degree of clarity, half our job is done.

The next stage in the process will be to negotiate with you how much or how little of your angry MO you wish to keep. Is there an upside? Is there some of it you like, or do you wish to write it off entirely. And without your anger, can we resolve the disputes and conflicts you’re embroiled in efficiently and intelligently? My objective is for you to be maximally powerful and assertive, but minimally bitter and upset in the process.

Finally, we get to the task of managing that unwanted anger. To do this, I won’t be getting you to count backwards from ten, flee the scene, or breathe any which way to relax yourself. Instead, I’ll be getting you to think about things in a more objective and constructive way. Anger runs a kind of ‘litigation’ program: I, the victim, have suffered great harm; it’s someone else’s fault entirely; they have behaved wrongly or unfairly. I’ll show you how, outside of a courtroom, this way of thinking is almost always detrimental and misguided. There’s a better way of framing things, if you’d care to learn it!



We all have moments where we feel sad, empty, or hopeless, or where the world seems devoid of interest or pleasure. These feelings constitute depression when they predominate your life for weeks or months on end, seemingly for no good reason, and to the point where they impact your sleep, diet, concentration, energy levels, social connection— or even your will to live.

The depressed individual, as I see it, is lost, and needs a companion who knows the way out.

I attack depression from multiple angles. At the simplest level, I try to get you active. Sleep and exercise; the basics of daily living; chores, pleasurable activities, and social activities. Especially the latter. Why have you strayed from your group, your loved ones?

At a slightly deeper level, I seek to understand how you see the world. Chances are you’re down on yourself, cynical about others, and pessimistic about your own prospects. And chances are your thinking is distorted, exaggerated, or in some way unhelpful. My job is to convince you out of such thinking, or at least to get you better at tuning such thoughts out when they arise.

Often, my depressed clients have lost direction. This is the deepest level at which we can attack depression. Perhaps you need to rethink your life. Do you feel you are living the life you really want? Are you fully engaged? What’s missing? I certainly won’t have all the answers, but I can at least be the voice in your head urging you to reflect honestly on these themes…


 Anxiety Disorders

These include phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and general excessive worry.

Anxiety is an alarm system; alarms can be oversensitive. Our job here is to tune down your threat detection, and to get you to be a better judge of what’s worth worrying about and what’s not. There certainly are things worth worrying about out there, and in that case, my job is to teach you to worry better, to worry more efficiently, and to be, when the time is right, braver in confronting such threats.

The great cost of fear is missed opportunity. A fearful life is a sheltered life, stripped of venture and adventure. No matter what your age or temperament, we can all learn to overcome our fears and be bolder and braver in our lives. I pledge to be patient with you, but anxiety work does involve getting out of your comfort zone, and I may need on occasion, with your permission, to give you a gentle shove in the right direction!


Drug and Alcohol Disorders

The first thing to do when it comes to drugs is to make your mind up about whether you really want to give them up. I will never tell you what to do. And even if I do, you’d still have to follow my advice willingly. So, let’s start by talking about it all openly and honestly. If the drugs are working for you, then so be it—whatever works…; if they’re not, then let’s drill down a little deeper.

Drugs can be many things to many people. Drugs can be one person’s cheat code for an empty life, and another’s Dutch courage to patch over social unease. Uppers and party drugs can be a shortcut to fun and excitement. Sedatives, benzos, and alcohol to some degree, can be ways to switch off or forget. The point is, if drugs are an issue and you’re struggling to give them up, then it’s no use me dishing out another well-meaning lecture on the subject. We need to talk first about what they’re doing for you—what function they’re serving in your life. Then, and only then, can we put our heads together to find a way to make them redundant. I like the ‘repeal and replace’ method for drugs, though not necessarily in that order. If you drink to unwind, let’s get you less stressed, better slept, and see what happens. If you take drugs to connect socially, let’s find you new friends, or else new ways to connect with the old ones. If drugs are your highway to fun, let’s work out a way to make your life more exciting. Let’s crowd the drugs out. Then if they linger like a bad habit, I’ll teach you all the tricks of the trade to break the cycle.