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Who is Universal Roots good for?
This work is for anyone who is ready to go deep and change their relationship with themselves and others. This work can sometimes be challenging but it is worth it. I work with people who have a myriad of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, low mood, OCD, depersonalisation, CPTSD, fatigue, addiction, chronic stress etc. I believe that many of our symptoms are messages and alerts from the mind-body as it tries desperately to release energy and communicate its needs.

In order to alleviate and calm these symptoms, we need to learn to be still and listen to our bodies in order to truly hear them. People are usually stuck in their lives because they are unknowingly stuck in surviva
l mode, often moving between fight/flight/freeze/fawn/flop in a dysregulated and disconnected fashion. By slowing down and helping the body to come out of survival mode, which is done by creating a sense of safety and trust, the mind-body can naturally bring itself back to a balanced place of peace and homeostasis.

What approaches do you use?
I combine traditional psychodynamic and person-centred psychotherapy with nervous system and somatic work to create a more holistic, and what I believe to be, a more effective process. 
I work from the model of Stephen Porges' Polyvagal Theory, which states that feelings of safety come from within the body and are managed by the vagus nerve, the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS influences our mental and physical health, social relationships, cognitive processes and behaviour, and so it is a vital part of our lives and wellbeing.

I use my own knowledge, intuition and ability to sense a clients' energy to allow me to connect with the clients experience. This is where knowing my own self on a deep level helps me to recognise what I see and feel in others, enabling me to guide the client and hold a safe space for them with more groundedness and confidence.  

Why do you use this approach? 
I am originally trained in person-centred and psychodynamic counselling, however, when solely working this way, I realised that clients would gain a good understanding of their feelings and emotions, their life time narrative and way of relating, but they would never seem to be able to fully process and let go of their pain and trauma. It almost seemed like they would reach a certain level of understanding and then get stuck, and I found this to be the same in my own healing too. So, this is when I began to see the importance of including the body in mental and emotional health work. Through my own personal healing journey, I realised the sheer importance of somatic and nervous system work and the foundation that needs to be built internally for the mind and body to heal and grow on a much deeper level. 

What techniques do you use?
I intuitively use different techniques for different clients. I use person-centred and psychodynamic psychotherapy, visualisations, affirmations, inner parts work, inner child and shadow work, somatic focussing and meditation. I also use compassionate mindfulness, body scans, orientations, gentle breathwork, somatic touch and movement. 

What is regulation and co-regulation?
Regulation works with the nervous system building on an individual's capacity to move smoothly between nervous system states without becoming too disconnected or dysregulated. It is essentially about calming the nervous system and encouraging it to feel safe and grounded in the present moment. Much like a mother ideally holds and calms her crying child enabling the child's nervous system to co-regulate and feel safe, I will hold space for a client to feel calm and safe, allowing the mind-body to settle and come back to a place of peace and safety. Nervous systems interact with other nervous systems energetically, so a clients nervous system will naturally use my nervous system to co-regulate with and come back to a place of groundedness and safety, thus giving the client space to feel the emotions and sensations which might normally induce fear and panic. 

What is release?
Release is the letting go of emotions and old survival/stress energy. Emotions are simply energy in motion. Ideally, this energy would be felt and processed soon after a traumatic event ends, however, most people lack the nervous system capacity to process the fear that is felt. The limbic system tends to get in the way and blocks the body's natural response and process of release due to the fear of another threat. The limbic system stays on high alert, believing that the threat is still around, communicating to the body that it's not safe to relax, its not safe to slow down and heal because it must stay on high alert. All this energy gets stuck inside the body and so when we do finally relax and feel safe, this energy is able to move and release. 

Not everyone will feel a release as the body will only release as and when it feels ready. Release can feel different for different people and is totally dependent on what the individual's mind-body feels ready to release. It might feel like shaking, sweating, crying, screaming, shouting, sighing, yawning, feeling hot or cold, relaxation and release of tension.

What does it feel like after a session?
Again, this is completely dependent on the individual. Some people might not recognise much difference straight away, whereas others may feel more peaceful, a sense of clarity or completion, lighter and clearer, safer and more grounded. Conversely, depending on what has been worked through in the session, some people may feel tired, drained or exhausted and feel the need for deep rest and relaxation. Most people tend to feel more connected to themselves and have a better understanding of what they feel and need.

Anything a client feels is completely right for what they need to feel, there is no wrong thought or emotion. As we work through the layers of a clients emotions, we will meet different parts of the self which are holding on to various thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
For instance, we may work through a layer of sadness belonging to the inner child, which may then lead us to a layer of shame, leading on to a layer of disgust, which then may take the client to a protector part of themselves which feels intense anger and rage. Accessing and honouring our true primal emotions allows us to release that which has been repressed
 for so long, and open us up to energies that will propel us forward in life. We must face our true selves in order to be our true selves.

Why do I struggle to feel pleasure and joy?
This can be because the nervous system is so used to being in survival mode that coming out of survival mode can feel new and threatening. This is why the work is sometimes slow and takes time and practice. Just like learning to draw or to ride a horse, it takes time to learn a new skill and settle the body and nervous system into a new rhythm and habit. We will work together to allow you to feel more joy, pleasure and ease in your life.

Why do I feel worse after a session?
As the body creates more capacity to feel, this will enable the suppressed and stored emotions to come up. This may not feel very good, but it means it is working and the feelings/sensations will pass eventually. This work can be like dredging a river, we must get rid of all the heavy mucky stuff at the bottom to allow the water/energy to flow freely and clearly. Remember; this too shall pass. 


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