Qualifications and Clinical Experience
I am a qualified, warranted Counselling Psychologist and I am a registered member of the Malta Chamber of Psychologists, the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). I abide by their code of ethics in all aspects of my practice.
After a first degree in psychology from the University of Malta, I worked for several years in a shelter for homeless women. The women had issues which varied from severe mental health problems to domestic violence and teenage pregnancy.
In 2005, I moved to London to further my training at Regent's College School of Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology with a Practitioner's Doctorate in Counselling Psychology. Apart from its excellent academic component it also involved 150 hours of personal therapy and 450 hours of supervised clinical work. As such I also know what it feels like to sit in the client's chair and to take the risk of exposing my vulnerability.
Since completing my doctorate in 2010, I have done further training in CBT with Christine Padesky and I regularly attend seminars and workshops to further develop my clinical skills.
My clinical placements covered a wide range of issues. I volunteered at Brent Bereavement Services for three years and offered brief-counselling to mourning adults. I also worked with female survivors of domestic violence through the charity Woman's Trust.
In my private practice, I work extensively with couples who are struggling with their marriages and relationships, due to infidelity, insecurity, jealousy, falling out of love, or the daily stresses of life. I also work with individuals around issues like anxiety, low self-esteem, or feeling lost in life amongst other areas.
I volunteered at Terrence Higgins Trust between 2007 and 2014. I have extensive experience working with issues around sexuality, identity, sexual health and HIV/STDs. I am well-read about the medical aspects of HIV in terms of infection, diagnosis, CD4 counts/viral loads and medications, and can understand your concerns around these aspects. However, I also know what a huge effect HIV can have on other aspects of life such as your mental health, self-confidence and intimate relationships and these are things we can look at together.
Some men find it hard to come to terms with their sexuality or struggle to come out to friends and family. Others, even though they lead an openly gay lifestyle, still find to their surprise that they have internalised a lot of homophobic messages which they unconsciously apply to themselves to constantly put themselves down. Coming to realise this is the first step towards learning to truly accept and love yourself as you are.
Other common themes are the lack of a significant other and the accompanying loneliness this brings. At times this leads to seeking comfort in anonymous sex, which might also include high-risk sexual behaviours. Addiction to sex, pornography and networking sites comes up often as does the use of recreational drugs which sometimes starts to spiral out of control.