Counselling and Psychotherapy in Cambridge

About Me

I am a qualified and experienced psychotherapist, supervisor, training therapist and supervisor, trained in Attachment-Based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CAPP) which is recognised within the Division of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
I m a UKCP Registered Senior Psychotherapist, and abide by their Ethical Framework and their Complaints Procedure, which I can share with you if you require. My work is conducted on the ethical standards of the UKCP and you will find me listed on their website.

I am also in regular supervision and undertake a commitment to regular professional training and personal development.

Theoretical Model
Relational/Attachment-based approach.

I believe that all human beings are unique and inherently capable of change.
I seek to work in ways appropriate to the needs of each particular person at each moment, rather than following a rigid methodology.
I have been working in the field of counselling and psychotherapy for the past 17 years. I offer experience in the fields of attachment and loss, and I have particular expertise in working with trauma, abuse, and relationship breakdown.
My practice ranges from short term focused work to long term psychotherapy.

My Qualifications:
Attachment-Based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Adlerian Individual Psychology
Relate Couple and Marital Therapy
Cognitive Analytic Therapy
Somatic Trauma Therapy

Solution Focused Therapy

I am a senior accredited Counsellor / Psychotherapist and UKCP Registered Psychotherapist.


Coupling is where all human life starts. When the members of a partnership can see one another as whole human beings, as a mixture of good and bad and when they can accept the inevitable differences and separations that are the counterpart of intimacy and passion, things are likely to go well. Unfortunately, things are not as smooth as this. Each member of a couple brings to their relationship a complex set of working models and their unique experiences of relating.

One of the first questions I ask at the couple therapy is “What attracted you to your partner?”

Couples are attracted to one another if there is some kind of “fit” between their inner world and that of the other. Couples choose one another unconsciously because of this “fit”. The more intimate they are able to be with one another, the more their own inner world will be exposed.

According to the attachment theory, an internal working model of relationships is constructed from early attachment experiences and this model, which is primarily unconscious, is carried forward and re-enacted in our adult relationships. The results of our research shows that there is a profound influence of early attachment relationships on the development of later attachment relationships. How partners attempt to resolve the differences between them is shaped by each one’s earlier experiences in their relating.
The formula is Attachment to parents = Attachment to a partner.

In adult couple relationships each partner functions as an attachment figure for the other. Because of this, the partnership arena is the arena where past emotions are played out. If the person's closeness has been difficult with their caregivers, they may not be able to trust and get close to their partner or may cling to their partner at the expense of their own autonomy and individuality.

In secure attachments, couples are likely to form intimate relationships in which both partners act as safe haven and secure base for the other. In the ideal form, or if we say, in a secure attachment, each partner can tolerate the anxieties of being dependent on the other and of also being depended on by the other. The partners have the ability to move flexibly between dependent and depended-upon positions. There is an open expression of the need for comfort and contact, as well as an open reception of that contact.

In insecure attachment(which covers most couples)patterns, such as avoidance, fear, and dismissal; preoccupation and clinginess can be seen. There is an avoidance of close contact with others. Because of the history of rejection or unresponsive attachment figures, they have learned not to turn to others as a source of security. In the insecure couple attachment, there is a lack of flexibility, mutuality, and there is a rigidity in the relationship with each partner playing a certain role, with little movement between them. For example, one partner may always play 'the adult', and the other 'the child'. They lack the capacity to understand each other’s experiences, and therefore natures. They also lack self-awareness and these experiences impact on the self and on the other.

These are the major themes we need to look at in a relationship:

  • Maintaining a boundary around the couple-one that is sufficiently permeable for children and others to have access to their parents and yet close-woven enough for the couple to protect their privacy and distinctiveness as a unit.
  • The power relationship between the dyad - the resulting contractual relationship and the extent to which the negotiations around it are based on mutual respect or driven by dominance and submission.
  • Roles - how they are parcelled out between the couple and how rigidly they are adhered to.
  • Communication between the members of the couple - how open or restricted it is.

    From this perspective, the well-functioning couple as protected by a semi-permeable boundary, able to share power and roles but in a flexible and interchangeable way, having a clearly adhered to overt and implicit contract, with broad and open channels of communication - especially of feelings - and with the capacity for mutual enjoyment.

    These are the points to bear in mind for the couple therapy to have a successful outcome :
  • Establishing a secure therapeutic base.
  • Focusing on the couple's relationship as the patient in order to develop its secure base function for each partner.
  • To understand the internal worlds of each couple and being able to make links with past and present.
  • Encouraging play and exploration within the session so that what is feared as unsafe becomes less frightening.
  • Recovering and reliving trauma to facilitate a joint mourning process by addressing unresolved aspects of past experience, as unresolved trauma and losses get in the way of creating healthy relationships.
  • Providing opportunities for accessing and reprocessing feelings. This last point is very important, the experience of breaking a negative interactional cycle thorough accessing and processing feelings and fears is likely to be profound, as it breaks the negative vicious cycle and encourages new patterns of healthier relating.

    Gulcan Sutton Purser

    Counselling Cambridge Psychotherapy Cambridge Relationship Counselling Cambridge

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