About Gillian Allan PhD

                                          About Gillian

How I work

Maybe there is a point in the life of a seed
when, cold and long buried in darkness,
it feels the weight of the earth as unbearable
and sees no choice but to give in and give up.

Maybe that point comes just before
it discovers it has what it needs
to begin to move in the direction it wants to go.

We’re living in a time when people are feeling increasingly disconnected and lonely despite the growth in communication technologies. Feeling like you are not enough, feeling stuck with difficult emotions or experiencing difficulties in relationships all create barriers to connection.

I believe we all the deserve the time and attention we need to grow, flourish and live a meaningful life.

I use gestalt therapy as my approach to counselling because of its focus on people’s potential for growth, healing and flourishing. I’m particularly interested in research which shows developing self-acceptance and curiosity towards our habits or emotional patterns helps us to move through difficulties and develop new ones (Cozolino 2014: Siegel 2007). This certainly reflects my own experience of dealing with difficulties and finding new strengths and capacities I didn’t know I had.

Sometimes when we are in difficult places it can be very hard to imagine that any change is possible, let alone flourishing. It’s important to start wherever you are and go at your own pace to find relief from suffering.

I find counselling in person (in my Edinurgh based practice) and online to be equally beneficial. Both ways of working open up channels for developing a connection and exploring different elements of your life. I was initially sceptical about counselling online via webcam, however I have found there is great potential for us to get to know ourselves better, including developing our capacities to be present, connect with others and feel more deeply. I’m a certified online therapist via an ACTO approved route.

Professional background

I’ve always been interested in relationships, emotions and body work. Before I trained in Gestalt, I undertook PhD research on friendship and I trained as a Feldenkrais movement practitioner.

I've also worked in Edinburgh with people with a learning disability for over 15 years in different capacities (as a researcher, support worker and most recently in community development). This work takes a person-centred approach to developing people’s and communities’ capacities for growth and change. There are many overlaps in the principles of community development with the approach to individual development in gestalt therapy. One of the things I most enjoy about this work is researching and developing empathy trainings for professionals who work with someone with a learning disability.

I'm a Member of GPTI (Gestalt Psychotherapy Training Institute) and fully insured.

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