Alastair Hinch MA (Hons) MSC MA MBACP (reg) Experienced and BACP-registered counsellor offering counselling and psychotherapy in St Albans. Offering practical and emotional support in a confidential space, to explore and seek new ways of dealing with difficult or distressing life experiences.
My background and training
I began my training at WPF Therapy - an established, psychodynamically-oriented training school, before going on to study a Masters in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling at the New School of Psychotherapy & Counselling (in partnership with Middlesex University). I trained there for about 6 years, and have been working with clients since 2007. My subsequent training has focused on the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) model, learning from several ACBS Peer-Reviewed trainers. I worked for 3 years in bereavement counselling, and for 7 years in several NHS Primary Care positions in GP practices across Southwark, where I conducted assessments and provided short term counselling (6 to 12 weeks). I have worked with a wide variety of clients on issues relating to anxiety, depression, anger, abuse, bereavement, stress, physical disabilities, relationship difficulties, sexuality, financial worries, and cultural and religious differences.
My first degree was in philosophy, where I was able to pursue my deep interest in questions of how we, as human beings, find or construct a sense of meaning or purpose. Before training as a psychotherapist I worked in the fields of information technology, web development and desktop publishing. I have also taught English as a foreign language, and worked in a voluntary capacity providing support for homeless and socially vulnerable people. I have travelled extensively and spent some time living and working abroad in countries as diverse as Indonesia and Romania.
How I work
I aim to offer the client a warm and understanding environment in which they can feel free to discuss concerns and issues about their life. My approach follows the 'humanistic' or 'integrative' model in that I draw on a number of different theoretical perspectives according to what resonates or feels most helpful for the client. The work is a collaboration to help the client develop self-awareness and to make sense of their life and experiences.
My 'existential' training is reflected in my belief that a lot of the difficulties in our life stem from an anxious awareness of our own contradictions and vulnerabilities as human beings, and the responsibility we have to make choices and make something meaningful out of the time we have. We end up putting pressure on ourselves to change, or to cope better, whilst at the same time digging in or withdrawing in an attempt to feel safer. Counselling can help create some breathing space in this situation by establishing a time and a place where alternatives can be considered, and the complex feelings that arise be contained long enough to be properly understood.