I am a trauma-informed psychodynamic therapist, drawing from Jungian, attachment and somatic (body-based) models of psychotherapy. Registered with the BACP, I work online, via Zoom, with individuals and couples throughout the UK.

My practice is LGBTQ+ affirmative and inclusive of clients and relationships across the spectrum of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity.

Whether your reasons for seeking counselling feel vague or specific, I welcome you to find out more about my practice, and to be in touch with any questions you might have, or to arrange an initial consultation.

Thank you for visiting.   

Approach

A psychodynamic and somatic approach recognises that we each possess a rich and complex unconscious life, a life that is deeply interwoven with the body as well as the mind. Without our awareness, this inner world powerfully shapes our sense of self, how we relate to others, and our overall felt sense of life and what is possible for us. By shining a light into these hidden places and beginning to integrate what we find, we can be freed up to live with greater choice, empowerment and authenticity in our lives and relationships.

One branch of psychodynamic theory, a Jungian approach offers a depth-oriented and non-pathologising stance. It centres a respect for the uniqueness of each individual, alongside the healing value of the unconscious, and in particular how this can be discovered through dreams. Attachment theory offers an additional psychodynamic lens, bringing specific attention to the ways in which our core blueprints for relationship, created in our early years, shape our present styles of relating – to ourselves, the world around us and others.

Underpinning these approaches is an awareness of trauma in its many dimensions. Th, whether related to single or repeated events, or the trauma that results from ongoing, cumulative stress and difficulties in relationships, particularly those with caregivers early in life. 

My practice is LGBTQ+ affirmative, and inclusive of clients across the spectrum of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity. My approach is culturally sensitive, and I bring an awareness of the societal and structural – as well as individual – factors involved in emotional, mental health and relationship difficulties.  

 

Individual therapy

Regular sessions provide a reflective, confidential space for self-exploration and support, in which to look together at any areas of concern to you. As we begin to make sense of troubling, confusing or conflicting feelings and experiences, it can become possible to discover greater ease, choice and fulfillment in the present.  

Therapy involves a joint inquiry into the underlying beliefs and automatic ways of being and seeing that we carry. Together we work collaboratively and at your pace to explore the roots of present issues and to move towards greater clarity in relation to areas of difficulty.

The exploration of familiar dynamics in relationships, dreams and mindful exploration of the felt-sense in the body all provide valuable doorways into understanding the inner world, and beginning to relate to it in a more helpful, compassionate way, that supports your growth and healing.

These sessions are yours, a space for you to be as you are. It’s my intention to create an environment that is safe, accepting and open in which you can speak freely about how things are for you and feel seen, heard and responded to. While I share knowledge or perspectives that I hope may be helpful, my aim is to help connect you with your own inner knowing, and it is what you choose to bring that will guide the focus of our work.

As well as being a way of alleviating the pain and struggle in our lives, therapy also aims to help us live more fully, in a greater sense of aliveness, authenticity and connection. I view the therapeutic relationship itself as central to the transformative process that therapy can be. Over time, the building of a reliable, trusting therapeutic relationship becomes the container in which a deeper healing can occur.

Couples therapy

Couples seek out therapy for a wide range of reasons. To get unstuck from limiting or destructive patterns and dynamics. To build greater intimacy and trust. To navigate challenging life circumstances and decisions. And generally to learn how to better love one another.

It is normal to face difficulty and struggle in intimate relationships. The myth that relationships should be easy and navigated without outside support adds layers of unnecessary pain, and you don’t need to reach crisis point to seek guidance.

In fact, it is often the places we struggle most in our partnerships that offer the greatest potential for growth and transformation. With work, tending to your relationship can transform it from a place of wounding to a source of healing and repair, intimacy and nourishment.

My Approach

I use a reflective and active approach that focuses on the ‘how’ of relational dynamics. While particular issues get worked through in this process, my approach supports you to drop beneath the surface layer of specifics, to build towards deeper levels of mutual understanding. Beyond gaining insight and navigating challenges, I teach couples to better attune to one another, and develop skills to communicate more authentically and effectively. 

My way of working brings attention to the unconscious dynamics and attachment patterns that underlie places of stuckness and difficulty, to understand the unmet needs and feelings that lie beneath the surface ‘story’. Woven into this is a somatic, trauma-informed approach, supporting you both in regulating and re-orienting back to safety when feeling triggered, within yourselves and in your partnership.

Who I work with

I work affirmatively with relationships across the spectrum of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity, including LGBTQ+ couples and those practising forms of consensual non-monogamy. I work with couples at all stages of relationship, whether this means deepening into commitment, skilfully navigating a change in relationship style, or uncoupling.

About me

I completed my core training at the University of Brighton and hold a Post-graduate Diploma, with distinction, in Psychodynamic Psychotherapeutic Counselling, a BACP accredited course of training.

Other notable trainings include Hakomi (mindful somatic psychotherapy); working with trauma; gender, sexuality & relationship diversity (GSRD); and LGBTQ+ affirmative practice.

I am also an accredited specialist Sexual Violence Therapist, trained with the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC).

I am fully insured, and a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and abide by their ethical framework.

Since 2016, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside clients from a diversity of backgrounds seeking support in relation to a wide range of issues. Prior to working in private-practice full-time, I served as a therapist in specialist sexual violence, community counselling, LGBTQ+ mental health, and university settings.

        Before becoming a therapist, I completed an MPhil in Gender Studies and spent many years in the social justice sector, where I worked in support and community engagement roles with groups and individuals of marginalised identities, advocating for equality in health and social care. An anti-oppression, social justice lens continues to be a core thread that I carry throughout my work.

        My first degree in Theology and Religious Studies set the tone for a lifelong exploration of spirituality in its many forms, especially as it relates to emotional wellbeing. This curiosity about the deeper questions of life is an important current throughout my work, particularly resonating with Jungian psychology and the integration of Eastern wisdom traditions with Western psychotherapy approaches.

Sessions

I offer weekly sessions online, via Zoom. Sessions for both individual and couple sessions are 50 minutes, held at the same agreed time each week.

When we meet, we can decide together whether you would like to work in a fixed number of sessions, or with an open-ended contract.

Fees

Fees, inluding the initial consultation are:

Individuals: £70-90

Couples: £120-150

What to expect

Once you have been in touch, I will let you know about the spaces I have available and, if any of these are suitable, we can then arrange an initial consultation.

I will provide a copy of my therapeutic agreement for you to review in advance of our first session, which outlines the terms of the therapeutic contract, including around confidentiality and my policy on cancellations.

The initial consultation is an opportuntiy for us to meet, discuss your intentions for therapy and get a sense of what working together in a therapeutic relationship might be like. It’s also an opportunity for me to understand what you are looking for through therapy and if this is something I am able to support you with.

There is no expectation that you begin therapy with me after the initial session, and you are very welcome to take time to reflect and consider whether you would like to work together.

Contact

I recognise that there is a lot to consider when beginning therapy and welcome any questions you may have prior to arranging an initial consultation.

Please be in touch via email at contact@sophiebarnestherapy.co.uk and I will endeavour to respond within 48 working hours. My practice days are Monday to Thursday.