Psychotherapy and counselling
Gus Cairns is a counsellor and psychotherapist with 12 years experience of working with a variety of clients. See below for more information.
To arrange a consultation
telephone 020 7503 0262
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What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy provides a supportive and confidential relationship, a safe space in which you can explore many aspects of your life. As you talk and share your feelings with a psychotherapist, new perspectives and understanding will emerge. Old fear acquired in childhood may be unlearned, and new ways of relating to others may be attempted in the safe and 'experimental' environment. Overall, the aim of psychotherapy is to increase your awareness of the choices, personal power, skills and gifts that you may never have dared to develop.
Counselling, psychotherapy – what’s the difference?
Essentially they are the same activity and the difference is of degree, rather than kind. Counselling is more often conducted for a limited number of sessions and while looking at the client’s background, its primary function is to identify and help the client solve immediate problems. Psychotherapy is a longer-term and usually open-ended commitment, meaning that the client decides when it is time to finish. It will look in greater depth at the client’s history and patterns, and the relationship between client and therapist becomes a much more intrinsic part of what enables the therapy to work.
Diploma in Humanistic Counselling and Supervision (1993); Certificate in Body Psychotherapy (1999)
Volunteer Counsellor at PACE, 1992-1987 and again from 2004; member of PACE private register since 1993; member of Association of Chiron Therapists and practitioner at Chiron Clinic since 1999; member of Pink Therapy Directory of Therapists since 2003.
In private practice since 1993; couple and crisis counselling; ex-group facilitator at London Lighthouse; facilitator and deviser of gay men’s residential workshops for ECC
Specialisms and interests
AIDS and HIV; loss and bereavement; sexual identity and sexual dysfunction; sexual abuse and trauma; PTSD; cross-cultural issues; couple counselling; adolescents (have experience of working with teenagers 13+); family dynamics; body image; psychosomatic illness; career planning and ambition.
Gus initially trained as a person centred counsellor. His own confrontation with HIV and AIDS got him interested in holistic and body centred ways of working, which led to the Chiron Institute.
Body psychotherapy originally derives from the ideas of Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich had many unconventional, not to say crazy, ideas, but his intuitive vision of the identity of mind and body has been broadly vindicated by subsequent discoveries in neurology and psychology.
The core assumption of body psychotherapy is that it makes no sense to talk of mind and body as separate things: they are one.
The mind is a physical object made from neurones, neurotransmitters and electricity. Our thinking, emotions and ability to imagine and relate may be radically changed from day to day by the physical ‘climate’ in which our mind operates.
Equally, the body is not only a physical object but is our personal narrative made flesh. It is a physical expression of the personality within and its healthy functioning may be hindered and frozen by old defences and behaviours which once helped us but which must be changed if we are to move on in life.
Gus is also informed by Jungian archetypal psychotherapy; native American spirituality and shamanism; object relations theory; and Gestalt psychology.
How I work
Despite my theoretical approach, I am not a ‘healer’ or complementary therapist, and in most ways try to facilitate very much the same sort of ‘talking cure’ as counsellors and psychotherapists of all schools.
I may supplement conventional one-to-one dialogue with techniques such as guided imagery, physical exercises and role-plays, biodynamic massage and so on. Equally none of these techniques are essential and I am always guided by the client as to what will best facilitate their development.
After an initial consultation (which may be spread over more than one session at no increased cost) I usually set up an initial contract to meet for 12 sessions. Towards the end of this we will review to see if we want to move to a longer-term, open-ended contract or towards closure.
For more information see my Therapy Information and Contract document.
Initial consultation £50 (this may take one or more sessions). Ongoing sessions £40 if I see you at my home or £45 at Chiron and Muswell Healing Arts (to cover room rental). I do not operate a sliding scale but am able to offer some half-price daytime places for low waged by negotiation.
Location and access
My main consulting room is at Manor House, London N4. I also provide sessions at the clinics run by Chiron at Queen’s Park NW6 and Ealing W5, and at Muswell Healing Arts in N10. The first two addresses have relatively easy disabled access (two low steps).
My other work
II was until recently Editor in Chief of the UK’s HIV and Sexual Health Magazine, Positive Nation. I am probably one of the UK’s top lay experts on HIV and Aids and also contribute to NAM Publications in the shape of Aids Treatment Update and Aidsmap.com. I wrote much of the second edition of NAM’s Directory of Complementary Therapies, the research for which included the document publsihed on this website as Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements. I write the HIV stories for uk.gay.com. I have on a few occasions contributed to the national press on gay and HIV issues. I also act as a publicist, consultant and fundraiser for certain voluntary organisations and organise Training and Groupwork in health awareness and psychology for the private and public sectors.