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Wilder Gutterson

Counselling & Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples

Counselling

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Individuals

I help clients work through issues and events that are keeping them stuck, and to become more accepting of themselves along the way.  Mostly we will engage in weekly talk therapy; but you might draw, write, or do exercises that explore different parts of you, your family, or specific life events. You will find me a compassionate listener, and I readily offer my own reflections and insights as well. 

 

Couples and relationships

Life events such as becoming new parents, job changes, or retirement can threaten even the best relationships. It may be an affair or repetitive arguing. Every couple's situation is different and I will bring my skills and experience to help you move to the next phase of your relationship. I use a combination of talk therapy and home -based exercises. You will learn skills to manage conflict and reconnect, or separate, if that's what you want.

How long?

Some clients gain key insights and move on after only a few sessions. Others want more time to heal old wounds or resolve long-standing grievances. Whatever your situation I'll help both of you feel heard and understood. You will learn new ways to communicate, and learn more about yourself too along the way. 

Workplace coaching

Sometimes you need help with problems at work. I hold an MA in organisational consulting so we can also explore your workplace issues and career challenges.

To book an appointment email me at: wilder@wildergtherapy.com or call: 07986 467 414 

Counselling
How it works

Working with me

The first step
Just by agreeing to seek help, you have already taken the first step towards a solution. 

What we do

Just talking and being understood can be transformational. We may explore family history, and do exercises to help you work through trauma, depression or anxiety. Couples may have communication exercises they can practice at home.

 

Solution focused
Individuals set the time and pace for their own growth and change. 

Couples often reconnect and move forward, while others may decide to move apart in a non-blameful, less angry frame of mind.

Tailored
Whether you are in a relationship or not, together we will develop an approach that suits your specific needs and goals.

Listed below are some techniques couples can try (click on each one to find out more).

  • Safe Word
    When couple arguments get overheated, thinking goes out the window. Each partner tries to score points and prove the other wrong. Old hurts may appear, latent grievances remembered, and the words ‘often’ or ‘never’ regularly appear at this stage of rows and shouting matches. At this stage, continuing to speak, shout, or slam doors is completely counterproductive. Emotions are raw, the reptilian brain is activated, flight/flight chemicals are coursing through your veins, so resolution is unachievable. Continuing just rehashes the conflict loop, yet couples often can’t stop themselves. The solution may be a safe word. Choose your safe word beforehand, not in the middle of an argument. The safe word should be something that isn’t offensive and won’t add fuel to the fire. So, in other words no name calling, cursing, or something that’ll make things worse. It could be a random word like “apple” – a word associated with a more pleasant association, like the name of the restaurant you went on your first date together, or something unexpected and absurd like “” “Lithuania” “Chewbacca” – what’s your word. It should be a word that doesn’t escalate the argument. Agree on the action the safe word signifies. It could mean a 5-minute cool-off period for both partners to take a breather, get a glass of water, regain composure, and reconnect with their rational brain. It’s a chance to check out your tone, posture, feelings, point of the argument, and evaluate how to make a shift. Be careful not to overuse the word. Monitor its effectiveness, and revisit to make any adjustments. If it doesn’t work as a way to interrupt your fights, then don’t use this technique.
  • The Two Chairs Exercise
    Goal The purpose of this exercise is to practice a respectful way of speaking and listening to your partner. The goal is NOT to solve problems, but to listen and try and hear the others’ point of view. You don’t have to agree, but you need to be respectfully and actively listen. You should have something on your mind you want to express. Structure You can pre-arrange a ‘chairs’ session, or ask for it spontaneously. Do not do the chairs in the midst of a row or when things are heated. You can set a time limit of 5 minutes for each partner, to begin. You can take turns, or only have a 1-person session Set two chairs facing each other. Rules to agree: We will only use “I” statements We will speak slowly and in short chunks so we can carefully and sincerely understand each other. If there is shouting, explaining, arguing or talk-back, we will take a break and begin later. To begin, the listener may say three things: “Tell me more” or “is there more?” “How do you feel?” “What do you need from me?” More advanced: You can increase the time. The next phase is to have the listener repeat back what they have heard. If it’s not right, the speaker should clarify and ask the listener to try again. Remember, the listener doesn’t have to AGREE, but has to show they have HEARD what has been said. In time, the chairs can be used for compliments, expressions of gratitude, etc.
  • The 5 Languages of Love
    Loving WORDS Kind ACTIONS Quality TIME Thoughtful PRESENTS Physical AFFECTION Each of us understands what it means to be loved in slightly different ways. For some, it’s a hug and touch, others may like to be remembered on birthdays and special occasions, and others like their partner to spend time talking. All are important, but which is your primary love language? What expression makes you feel most loved? Daily love will be impossible if we don’t learn our PARTNER’S primary (even 2nd and 3rd!) ways of understanding and receiving! Think about what YOUR primary love language is, and share that with your partner. Is that what they would have guessed? What about your partner, does what you think match what they say?
  • Rules for Rows
    Use direct rather than indirect language – in other words use “I” statements. Do not hint, mock, imitate, or use sarcasm. Try and stay more with feelings, rather than facts. Own your own feelings. People tend to rationalise rather than express their emotions, but suppressed emotions can lead to more trouble. Respond respectfully to the other person’s feelings. Use statements rather than questions. The classic “do you love me?” really means “I need to feel loved”. You are not actually responsible for anyone’s feelings except your own. Keep to the issues at hand – do not drag up previous disagreements. Let your arguments stand on their own merits. Avoid bringing in other people’s opinions to back you up, e.g. don’t say: “everyone thinks…” when you mean “I think…” Express your needs openly to your partner. So do not know, manipulate, threaten, or intimidate. Do not name call or label – e.g. “lazy” “paranoid” “alcoholic” Remember that whoever “wins” the argument is irrelevant-- because the relationship always loses. Confront the issue rather than each other. Be aware of how you feel before and after a row and share these feelings. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a positive post mortem to clear the air. Make sure you are not simply trying to have the last word though, or the row could drag on… and on…
  • Alternate Methods
    Arguing is a form of communication. It can delineate difference, demonstrate passion, prevent enmeshment, or even result in increased intimacy to soothe and make up. But too often fighting turns ugly, and constructive communication stops. The upside of arguing is that it can reveal underlying issues, bring problems to the surface, and provide a forum for urgent thoughts and feelings to be expressed. But if arguing becomes frequent and overheated, it can lead to hardened viewpoints, and the method of arguing will need to change if a couple hopes to repair and reconnect. If you are stuck in a rut of malicious arguing, then here are some other methods to tell your partner how you are feeling: 1.What do you want? Competing agenda is a common thread among fighting couples. Do you both want the relationship to work, or is fighting a way of saying that things are irreconcilable? Can you be honest about what you feel without attacking the other? 2.Write it down. Instead of verbal sparring, write down what you want to say in a SHORT few sentences. Your partner can write down their response but in not less than 30 minutes. This gives everyone a chance to cool down, collect their thoughts and continue the discussion with better brain power. 3.Draw a Picture Even if you are a ‘stick figure’ artist, making a picture of what is happening for you can be a creative metaphor to communicate with your partner. Draw images, words, scribbles, whatever describes you or your situation. You can also use clay, toys and props, cut outs from magazines – your creative choice. Describe the drawing to your partner. 4.Recognise difference. Realise that the way you work through conflict is not the same way your partner does it. Often one partner will seek quick or immediate feedback and resolution. They may follow their partner around the flat seeking connection, answers and reactions. And the other partner is only able to work through their thoughts and solutions with silence, time, and calm, so the charged atmospehere of a heated exchange makes them retreat further. This becomes a never-ending 'infinity loop' of conflict, blame and recrimination. Don’t push your partner to find resolution on YOUR timescale or in your method. 5.What is the REAL issue here? Is it really the rubbish, the housework or who forgot what that’s the issue, or is there an unexpressed feeling that you are not loved?
FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Safe Word
    When couple arguments get overheated, thinking goes out the window. Each partner tries to score points and prove the other wrong. Old hurts may appear, latent grievances remembered, and the words ‘often’ or ‘never’ regularly appear at this stage of rows and shouting matches. At this stage, continuing to speak, shout, or slam doors is completely counterproductive. Emotions are raw, the reptilian brain is activated, flight/flight chemicals are coursing through your veins, so resolution is unachievable. Continuing just rehashes the conflict loop, yet couples often can’t stop themselves. The solution may be a safe word. Choose your safe word beforehand, not in the middle of an argument. The safe word should be something that isn’t offensive and won’t add fuel to the fire. So, in other words no name calling, cursing, or something that’ll make things worse. It could be a random word like “apple” – a word associated with a more pleasant association, like the name of the restaurant you went on your first date together, or something unexpected and absurd like “” “Lithuania” “Chewbacca” – what’s your word. It should be a word that doesn’t escalate the argument. Agree on the action the safe word signifies. It could mean a 5-minute cool-off period for both partners to take a breather, get a glass of water, regain composure, and reconnect with their rational brain. It’s a chance to check out your tone, posture, feelings, point of the argument, and evaluate how to make a shift. Be careful not to overuse the word. Monitor its effectiveness, and revisit to make any adjustments. If it doesn’t work as a way to interrupt your fights, then don’t use this technique.
  • The Two Chairs Exercise
    Goal The purpose of this exercise is to practice a respectful way of speaking and listening to your partner. The goal is NOT to solve problems, but to listen and try and hear the others’ point of view. You don’t have to agree, but you need to be respectfully and actively listen. You should have something on your mind you want to express. Structure You can pre-arrange a ‘chairs’ session, or ask for it spontaneously. Do not do the chairs in the midst of a row or when things are heated. You can set a time limit of 5 minutes for each partner, to begin. You can take turns, or only have a 1-person session Set two chairs facing each other. Rules to agree: We will only use “I” statements We will speak slowly and in short chunks so we can carefully and sincerely understand each other. If there is shouting, explaining, arguing or talk-back, we will take a break and begin later. To begin, the listener may say three things: “Tell me more” or “is there more?” “How do you feel?” “What do you need from me?” More advanced: You can increase the time. The next phase is to have the listener repeat back what they have heard. If it’s not right, the speaker should clarify and ask the listener to try again. Remember, the listener doesn’t have to AGREE, but has to show they have HEARD what has been said. In time, the chairs can be used for compliments, expressions of gratitude, etc.
  • The 5 Languages of Love
    Loving WORDS Kind ACTIONS Quality TIME Thoughtful PRESENTS Physical AFFECTION Each of us understands what it means to be loved in slightly different ways. For some, it’s a hug and touch, others may like to be remembered on birthdays and special occasions, and others like their partner to spend time talking. All are important, but which is your primary love language? What expression makes you feel most loved? Daily love will be impossible if we don’t learn our PARTNER’S primary (even 2nd and 3rd!) ways of understanding and receiving! Think about what YOUR primary love language is, and share that with your partner. Is that what they would have guessed? What about your partner, does what you think match what they say?
  • Rules for Rows
    Use direct rather than indirect language – in other words use “I” statements. Do not hint, mock, imitate, or use sarcasm. Try and stay more with feelings, rather than facts. Own your own feelings. People tend to rationalise rather than express their emotions, but suppressed emotions can lead to more trouble. Respond respectfully to the other person’s feelings. Use statements rather than questions. The classic “do you love me?” really means “I need to feel loved”. You are not actually responsible for anyone’s feelings except your own. Keep to the issues at hand – do not drag up previous disagreements. Let your arguments stand on their own merits. Avoid bringing in other people’s opinions to back you up, e.g. don’t say: “everyone thinks…” when you mean “I think…” Express your needs openly to your partner. So do not know, manipulate, threaten, or intimidate. Do not name call or label – e.g. “lazy” “paranoid” “alcoholic” Remember that whoever “wins” the argument is irrelevant-- because the relationship always loses. Confront the issue rather than each other. Be aware of how you feel before and after a row and share these feelings. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a positive post mortem to clear the air. Make sure you are not simply trying to have the last word though, or the row could drag on… and on…
  • Alternate Methods
    Arguing is a form of communication. It can delineate difference, demonstrate passion, prevent enmeshment, or even result in increased intimacy to soothe and make up. But too often fighting turns ugly, and constructive communication stops. The upside of arguing is that it can reveal underlying issues, bring problems to the surface, and provide a forum for urgent thoughts and feelings to be expressed. But if arguing becomes frequent and overheated, it can lead to hardened viewpoints, and the method of arguing will need to change if a couple hopes to repair and reconnect. If you are stuck in a rut of malicious arguing, then here are some other methods to tell your partner how you are feeling: 1.What do you want? Competing agenda is a common thread among fighting couples. Do you both want the relationship to work, or is fighting a way of saying that things are irreconcilable? Can you be honest about what you feel without attacking the other? 2.Write it down. Instead of verbal sparring, write down what you want to say in a SHORT few sentences. Your partner can write down their response but in not less than 30 minutes. This gives everyone a chance to cool down, collect their thoughts and continue the discussion with better brain power. 3.Draw a Picture Even if you are a ‘stick figure’ artist, making a picture of what is happening for you can be a creative metaphor to communicate with your partner. Draw images, words, scribbles, whatever describes you or your situation. You can also use clay, toys and props, cut outs from magazines – your creative choice. Describe the drawing to your partner. 4.Recognise difference. Realise that the way you work through conflict is not the same way your partner does it. Often one partner will seek quick or immediate feedback and resolution. They may follow their partner around the flat seeking connection, answers and reactions. And the other partner is only able to work through their thoughts and solutions with silence, time, and calm, so the charged atmospehere of a heated exchange makes them retreat further. This becomes a never-ending 'infinity loop' of conflict, blame and recrimination. Don’t push your partner to find resolution on YOUR timescale or in your method. 5.What is the REAL issue here? Is it really the rubbish, the housework or who forgot what that’s the issue, or is there an unexpressed feeling that you are not loved?
Schedule a session

Schedule a Session

Please get in touch to see how I might help.
I usually recommend an introductory session to begin.

Fees are £80 for individuals, or £100 for couples.

Wilder Gutterson

Wilder@WilderGTherapy.com

07986 467 414
(On-line or 
rooms in Kentish Town & Highgate)

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About Me

              About me

I am a fully qualified counsellor and also hold an MA from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in Leadership and Organisational Psychology, so I work with individuals, couples and corporate groups. I also delivered Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT) to workless parents through a government sponsored programme.

I began my career as a professional actor and theatre director in New York, so understand the artist's perspective. This contributes to how I help clients reframe incidents in their past using Gestalt and IFS methodologies. Before qualifying as a therapist I worked as a trainer and executive coach, delivering courses, seminars, an private tutoring to dozens of executives, Trustees and staff on strategy, problem solving and management.

I am a former Trustee of: The Albert Kennedy Trust, Theatre-Rites, and The Royal College of Art SU. I am a dual UK/US national.

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