About Leyla

I began my counselling career over 20 years ago whilst working for HM Prison Service where I provided post incident support to members of staff who where directly involved in traumatic work related events.

Since then I have gone on to gain a BSc degree in Integrative Counselling from Roehampton University and I have also completed training in several evidence based NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) and WHO (World Health Organisation) approved psychotherapeutic interventions including Counselling for Depression (CFD), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).

I have been working as a Psychotherapist in private practice since 2009 and I previously worked for 10 years within the NHS as a Psychological Therapist in primary care.

Over the past 20 years my theoretical approach has evolved due to extensive training and work experience in various settings therefore I have developed an integrative approach which I am able to tailor to suit the individual needs of the client.

As well as extensive and varied experience particularly in the areas of depression, anxiety disorders, low self esteem, anger, bereavement, relationship difficulties, adult children of narcissistic parents, boarding school syndrome, childhood trauma and attachment issues.

Whilst I draw my approach from a variety of models including Psychodynamic, humanistic, existential, and MBCT, my work is also influenced by evolving and ground breaking neurobiological informed approaches such as EMDR, Sensorimotor psychotherapy and ego state therapy which offers something different from conventional talking therapies.

This way of working can often prove life changing for clients, particularly those who have had several rounds of therapy that have not led to any long term improvements. EMDR in particular is best known for treating PTSD, however, it can help with a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, OCD, CPTSD and stressful life events such as bereavement, severe illness, traumatic births, divorce and separation.

Providing you with a safe, confidential space

I am extremely passionate about my work as a psychotherapist and I strongly believe that we all have the capacity to overcome life’s difficulties, develop a strong sense of self and live meaningful and satisfying lives.

My style of working is very much underpinned by honesty and compassion and it is my job to provide you with a safe, confidential space for you to talk openly about your difficulties.

Sessions are collaborative, interactive, engaging, focussed and geared towards supporting your personal development and overall wellbeing for the long term.

Short & long term approaches to suit you

I am able to work short term should you wish to focus on a particular issue that might be bothering you and related to the here and now. This may require just a few sessions and will support you in gaining insight into your current difficulties as well as identifying your current resources and strengths to construct solutions that will support you achieve your desired outcomes.

For deeper rooted issues a longer term approach may be required and this may take several weeks or even months.

This is because sometimes it is important to look at past experiences to see how they may be linked with current difficulties rather than 'pathologising' human behaviour particularly the behaviours of survivors of trauma.

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In my therapeutic practice, the deep impact of traumatic experiences on individuals lives is something I encounter regularly. Research has shown that around 61% of adults have faced traumatic events during their lifetime with 1 out of 6 adults enduring four or more events during childhood (women being disproportionately affected). Therefore it is important to explore clients life experiences to gain an understanding as to why they may feel and behave the way that they do. In addition to this some clients may also present with somatic symptoms or illness that are medically unexplained.

This is because all of our life experiences not only influence how we feel about ourselves and others or experience the world around us, but they can have a profound effect on our minds, brains and bodies particularly our nervous systems. In other words 'the body tells the real story'.

Events during our developmental years such as repetitive or prolonged abuse, emotional neglect, school bullying, illness, parental divorce, abandonment or parental mental illness has been shown to have long lasting effects into adulthood. Similarly prolonged stress such as living with domestic abuse or going through a traumatic event in adulthood can also have lasting effects.

This can range from PTSD, complex PTSD, interpersonal difficulties, recurring depression, heightened anxiety, chronic physical health conditions, maladaptive ways of thinking or behaving, chronic low self esteem, feeling empty or disconnected, emotional dysregulation and addictions.

Nourishing your capacity for wholeness & healing

I am able to work with clients who may have problems stemming from traumatic experiences whether in childhood or adulthood and help them to comfortably and safely process memories associated to those experiences.

Together we will work on developing new and more adaptive ways to deal with the emotions, beliefs, body responses and thoughts that accompany them to reduce emotional distress and nourish their capacity for wholeness, self acceptance and healing.

If you are looking for support please contact me for further details.

My qualifications and skills attained include:

  • BSc (Hons) Integrative Counselling (Roehampton University)
  • Counselling for Depression (Metanoia/NHS)
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Teacher and Practitioner (Mindfulness Now Oxford/NHS)
  • EMDR Training (EMDR Europe Association)
  • Cert in Working with Trauma and Trauma Treatment (Bessel van der Kolk, M.D, author of the book ‘the body keeps the Score)
  • Training in the power of the body in treating Trauma (Pat Ogden and Bessel Van der Kolk)
  • Accredited Family Group Conference Facilitator (Daybreak FGC Charity)
  • NHS Assessing Suicide Risk in individuals with Depression
  • NHS Training in Time Limited Counselling
  • NHS Training In Childhood Trauma
  • NHS Training in Working with The Body
  • NHS Training in Understanding Neuroscience
  • Introduction to Internal Family Systems (IFS Institute)
  • Relational Couples Counselling Training (360 Counselling)
  • Working with Groups (The Link Centre)
  • Bereavement Care training (CRUSE)
  • Counselling Skills/Post incident Care (HMP Brixton/YOI Feltham)
  • Training in Brief Solution Focussed Therapy
  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Weight management and nutrition adults and children (YMCA/MEND programme)
  • Level 3 REP’s Registered YMCA Fitness instructor/ GP Exercise Referral Consultant

Cycle Breakers Support Group

I have always had a desire to support others in improving their mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. Over the years I have been involved in several group based community health and wellbeing initiatives as well as facilitating group therapy within the NHS. From my own personal and professional experience I believe that group based treatments or support can provide valuable social support for individuals who may be facing isolation as a result of trauma or mental health challenges. Research demonstrates the link between social relationships and the many positive aspects of health and wellness. Poor support has been linked to depression and loneliness and has been shown to alter brain function and increase the risk of substance abuse and cardiovascular disease.  

This led me to start The Cycle Breakers support group. The Cycle Breakers Support Group is for individuals who are in recovery from complex childhood trauma, (CPTSD). Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACE'S) or relational trauma during our formative years can lead to a higher risk of developing health and behavioural challenges in adulthood including mental illness and chronic disease. Therefore my mission is to end the cycle of complex trauma by providing the safety, the life skills, the relational education and the reparative experiences that individuals need so that they can develop new habits and experience optimum health in all aspects of life.   

Breaking cycles of family trauma is essential for healing and for the well-being of future generations. To understand just how important cycle breaking can be, it's helpful to take a look at the effects of trans-generational trauma. These patterns repeat themselves from generation to generation until one generation catches on and decides to break the cycle.

Breaking cycles takes hard work, but it can be life-giving for the individual doing it, as well as for the future generations to come in that person's lineage. 

The group is free and we meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 7pm to 8pm. All attendees are screened for suitability and must either be in therapy or have had previous therapy.

Please contact us for more details.

Get in touch

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how counselling works, or to book an initial consultation. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of coming to counselling, whether it could be helpful for you and whether we are the right therapists to help.

You can also call us on 07949822154 if you would prefer to leave a message or speak to us first.

All enquires are usually answered within 24 hours, and all contact is strictly confidential and uses secure phone and email services.

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©Leyla Swan Counselling

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