At Banish the Crows the person will always be recognised as the sole focus and the most important element in the therapeutic process.
My commitment and passion for ‘good mental health for all’ is longstanding. Establishing Banish the Crows in 2017 is a personal highlight after a lengthy and credible career working in various organisations. My aspiration in creating Banish the Crows is to work directly for the person sitting in front of me, rather than through an organisation and their many protocols, policies, and procedures. I believe that by offering my help and skills in this way that there will be less hurdles and barriers to achieving what YOU, the client want and need.
I am a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (MBACP) and through this registration a therapist accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). I work one-on-one with clients using a personal, relationally-based, or existential approach. I also work with couples or jointly with individuals, for example two family members. Whilst I have ambition to develop Banish the Crows and the resources that it could offer, I instinctively want it to remain small and intimate, focused on achieving a credible, high-quality, personalised service.
In 2019 Lynne Harmon (MBACP) joined me at Banish the Crows as an Associate Counsellor Psychotherapist and whilst our work originates from the same place, and we promote the same, shared values for people, Lynne provides skilled expertise in psychodynamic psychotherapy and a strong track-record of working effectively with children and young people, as well as adults. She is also a registered Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist. EMDR is recognised as an effective psychotherapy treatment for people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (c-PTSD) – a condition where people experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as: difficulty controlling their emotions and feeling hostile or distrustful towards the world, due to repeated traumas in their life. Lynne and I met during our time working together at Keele University and we realised our shared vision in making high quality, client-focused psychotherapy available that is independent of public service provision.
Click here to learn more about Lynne Harmon.
Please click here for information about the reopening of Banish the Crows’ therapy space at St. James House, Longton from Wednesday 8 July 2020. This statement supersedes earlier communications published below. In the interests of client and staff health and wellbeing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in-person availability is strictly limited during the month of July and any further relaxing will be reviewed and publicised at the beginning of August 2020. We are continuing to offer telephone and video consultations for those who need or prefer this method of support, currently, and for existing and new clients who are currently unable to secure an in-person appointment.
Please click here for our (earlier) public statement to existing and prospective clients about what Banish the Crows decided to do following the UK Government announcement about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‘state of emergency’ and social lockdown on 23 March 2020.
Click here for our (earlier) public statement issued on 17 March 2020 responding to the 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. This communiqué, which contained a statement of commitment and a series of Q&A’s, set out our position, at the time, to current and prospective clients.
Taking the step to ask for help, to make sense of things – to book to see a counsellor or psychotherapist, is a somewhat ‘big deal’.
As an integrative psychotherapist I describe my grounded therapy style as existential. Existential theory operates from the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual’s confrontation with the givens of their existence and their so-called ‘being-in-the-world’. In this sense, I believe that:
The way in which I think and work means that there are strong elements of a particular type of existential therapy incorporated into my style – this is called logotherapy and is concerned with finding and making meaning in our lives where we feel there is none; where meaning may have been lost, or life’s meaning is obscured by things that have happened to us. This regardless of age or stage of life.
Lynne walked alongside me, a companion to my journey. She was witness to my testimony. She never judged me, she appeared to want to know me and understand me. And that enabled me to understand me and to begin to know myself.
My experience with Jem has offered me the time, contemplation and re-connection with myself - my true self. Jem was very welcoming and easy to talk to about my life experiences, something that I would usually find difficult. This professional guidance and understanding I feel has allowed me to start becoming the person I always was. It's been a wonderful process and something I wish to continue with myself. Jem has also invited me back any time I may need support.
I approached Banish the Crows following the diagnosis of a serious health issue. I have always been a reflective and self-aware person but the news of my health condition threw me in to confusion and I had lost trust in my own ability to see the world clearly and was experiencing a range of emotions from shock to anger and denial. After my sessions with Lynne at Banish the Crows I feel that mentally I am now in a far better place to face the future. In spite of the ongoing physical issues I can say that emotionally I am feeling very positive The sessions allowed me to regain the trust I used to have in my thoughts and actions. I came to understand how my current feelings were strongly linked to issues I had faced as a child and that trauma doesn't necessarily arrive in your life with sirens and flashing lights. The weekly sessions with Banish the Crows were not easy and for the process to work I had to put my trust in the therapist and allow them to guide me through the journey. This was made far easier by the conversations we had and that my therapist was human and shared j just enough of themselves to help me open up about and discuss my own feelings. The sessions moved forward in an organic way with no pressure to find answers and came to an end when I felt very much like I had reached a natural conclusion to the pathway and felt settled and mentally resilient. I would not hesitate to contact Banish the Crows again in the future if I felt that I needed that additional perspective on my life to bring clarity.
I experienced a very positive outcome from working with Lynne and could not recommend her highly enough.
Jem, how do I truly begin to quantify what you've done for me? For over 12 years I've been encouraged to try and seek counselling / therapy, having met with various providers in differing styles and settings and never got past a second meeting...yet with you, from that very first meeting I knew that I would return! Even after my first session I began to feel better, more reflective about myself and my circumstances. For so long I thought there was something wrong with me, always feeling like an outsider in all situations (friends, family, work) and after speaking with you I understand now that in fact there's nothing wrong with me - I'm just someone that has experienced a degree of sadness and unfortunate circumstance in life. In light of this I now possess the tools, knowledge and understanding to accept everything that's happened, and move on with my life. I now have a visceral, solid understanding that in our transient, extremely human lives it's OK to sometimes feel anxious and depressed (and in fact how natural that is) yet now rather than hiding away and shrouding my feelings I now have a permanent outlet and someone I can rely on 110% if I ever felt I needed the support again. For anyone considering therapy all's I can say is go for it! I think we all have things we can learn about ourselves and if you want someone to help you with this, Jem is a kind, open, tender, considerate, gentle soul that you can confide in and trust in total confidence. Finishing my therapy I now feel so much more balanced and content in myself. I've found myself genuinely smiling and laughing so much more - and meaning it. I feel I have newfound sense of control, excitement and zest for life and although I'm uncertain of what the future will bring, that's now what makes the journey all the more exciting for me. Don't ever stop being your quintessential self. With all of my heart, thank you! Laura.
Lynne helped us understand our issues more clearly and always had the answers we needed to progress with our relationship and move on to a healthier place together.
The therapy gave me some useful strategies to help me through a very difficult time in my life and helped me to understand more clearly why I felt so low. My therapist, Lynne, was person-centred and non- judgmental, I felt we developed a good rapport. This has enabled me to move on with my life and be kinder to myself and those I love and value.
I arrived at Banish the Crows not knowing whether the way I felt about the issues I had was even appropriate for counselling. There was an instant trust with Jeremy and I felt safe and listened to. I was skillfully guided through several sessions where my situation was explored and I was able to access resources within myself that allowed me to come to terms with events and move forward. There’s some old and cheesy lines in a song ‘I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.’ I have now.
The decision to seek therapy with Jem is one of the best I have ever made. Approaching retirement, I had become unsettled and upset and I didn't know what to do with my negative feelings. I was able to have conversations with Jem that I could not have had with anyone else. It took a while for me to be comfortable putting myself in the centre but as the weeks progressed I relaxed and understood and I grew in confidence. I rediscovered part of me that had been lost and I know now that I am okay.
I would highly recommend Jeremy to anyone who may be wondering if therapy is the best route for them. My therapy journey has been invaluable and I have always felt 'safe, valued and respected' with Jeremy, in the therapeutic relationship. I continue to benefit from the therapy on a daily basis.
My husband and I attended couples counselling, which has certainly helped us move on with our relationship. We cannot speak highly enough of Jem. He was totally approachable, understanding, empathic and shared appropriate life experiences with us to help our progression. Without his support I think it is highly unlikely that my husband and I would still be together after 30 years of marriage. I would recommend Jem to anyone, from any walk of life, who thinks that they may benefit from therapy and would say to them give it a try! Thank you Jem - for everything.
At 60, I had reached a point in my life where, due to outside influences - bereavement, children grown up, fallout with one of my children, I couldn’t see what my purpose in life was anymore. Jem, with skill, guidance and kindness helped me to realise that everyone’s problems/issues are not all my fault. I now have my sense of worth back, along with a quality of life. It has taken me 6 months and a dozen or so sessions to get there. Jem - I am very glad to have met you.
Jem offers a warm, comforting and supportive relationship that gives me the space to talk freely without fearing judgement. His reflections and contributions have helped me to see old problems from new perspectives and helped me to make some necessary and long overdue changes in my life.
From the off, I found Jem to be a delight. I looked forward to my sessions and was always excited about the next one. As we 'picked apart' me and my issues, things became clearer and it was easier for me to handle my life situations. I’ve grown since my therapy ended - I had to finish early due to financial reasons, but the therapy with Jem has helped me immensley and I’m still looking forward to my future and my 're-birthing'. You’ve been a delight Jem, thank you for your genuine empathy and quirky sense of humour - you always look fantastic and smell fantastic too!
Making the decision to access therapy was easy - taking that leap and making the appointment was a hurdle that I knew I needed to overcome. Typing the email to enquire about an appointment felt like a relief but then the anxiety set in. By the time I arrived at the car park for my initial appointment I couldn't breathe but as soon as I came face to face with Jem and sat in the cozy chair I was relieved and knew that I was in the right place and with the right counsellor. Initially, all I could do was cry, I felt completely broken and lost. The sense of not knowing who I am or where I belong was immense. The first session went really quick but inside I felt a glimmer of hope - I felt that maybe I could survive my problem and I just needed time to "empty my head"; time to think about all the missing pieces of the jigsaw ("my life"), and how to make some sense of "what's going on". Believe me, I truly have started to heal but it's been a challenge. I have made some decisions in my life that deep down I knew I needed to make - I just needed to know that if I was going to face them then someone would be there to 'catch me'. I am still in therapy and continue to feel that although progress has been made I still need to discover "me" but I am well on the road to recovery. It's been quite a journey but do you know what...I survived and I am resilient!
I cannot recommend Jeremy highly enough. When I first started counselling I was off sick from work and my GP had prescribed medication and suggested talking therapy as I was feeling distressed and overwhelmed by difficult events in my life. I was very nervous before my first session, but Jeremy managed the sessions so well that I was soon able to develop a trusting, supportive relationship with him. The therapy provided me with a confidential safe place where I was listened to and encouraged to talk about how I was feeling without feeling insignificant or judged. As the therapy continued I felt able to return to work, and Jeremy talked through how I would manage when the therapy came to an end leaving me feeling more able to deal with difficult situations. Thanks to the support from Jeremy, my self-esteem and confidence have improved allowing me to make changes to address my issues and look positively to the future. I would give a star rating of five (excellent) for the services offered at Banish the Crows.
I was experiencing some difficulties in my family relationships following a recent, close bereavement. I had never thought of counselling psychotherapy before but I was at a very low ebb. Banish the Crows was recommended to me by a friend who thought that Jeremy and I would be a good fit and through our work together he encouraged me to be less critical and more accepting of myself. I felt entirely comfortable to open-up and be honest during the process as I did not feel that Jeremy was judging me in any way. I particularly liked when he checked in on me between appointments. Those short interactions would make me smile during the most difficult of days. I am still not entirely sure what psychotherapy is but I do know that I am very pleased that I took the plunge and gave it a go. My difficulties remain but I feel in a better position to deal with them.
My experience has been very positive - working with Jeremy has given me the confidence to realise that my behaviour is normal. Life is difficult for most people and whilst I have had a lot of bad things happen I have survived and and become a better person with the help of Jeremy to guide me. Thank you.
Being strong and trying harder had always worked for me in the past and I'd done okay in life. However, that no longer worked when I was thrown into a long drawn out redeployment situation - I could no longer be strong, and trying harder led me to burnout. At the first meeting with Jeremy I wondered why I'd thought that therapy would be a good idea ? I didn't need this - other people needed this not me! Talking about the past wouldn't be helpful - I just needed to regain control and get on with it. However, Jeremy convinced me that we would work well together - he was warm, genuine and non-judgmental. So I talked, swore, cried, and laughed as well and I felt like I was being heard, believed and 'held' by him. We considered how the situation that I found myself in was a period of what he called acute thrown-ness, and how my past experiences were influencing the here and now. By believing in me, Jeremy helped me to believe in myself and that counselling wasn't just for other people. I would recommend him to anyone experiencing a period of thrown-ness in their lives, especially those who do not think they need support.
I have received treatment from Jeremy for a depression, he was always kind, considerate and trustworthy. Above all, I felt that he had a depth of understanding, in a non-judgmental way. It was a pleasure to meet him. I would recommend him to anybody that needs a safe haven to speak about and release the demons.
The environment Jeremy created helped me to openly become the most ‘me’ version of me and that changed my life in a way that nothing else had (or has). Jeremy did so much more than listen - he heard then supported me to work with my difficulties. Doing this by creating a ‘safe space’ for me, free of any sort of judgment, where I felt comfortable and therefore able to talk about past and current issues; some of which I had never felt able to talk about before. My childhood experiences were at the centre of everything before I met him and all anyone else; other therapists, talked about with me, and whilst this was important I felt so stuck and unable to move forward. Of course, those childhood experiences shaped me, who I am, but they also stopped me from being who I could be. We were able to explore these issues and see them in different and often more positive ways, helping me to move forward with my life now. Ultimately, Jeremy gave me hope - that things could be different for me, that they could change and that I too, could evolve myself.
I referred myself for counselling in 2016 following my husband being diagnosed with lung cancer; Stage 3, so this meant that he was palliative. It was a huge shock for us both - my husband couldn't handle it and became very angry. We had a difficult relationship to start with, so with this thrown into the mix i just couldn't cope. This is when Jeremy came into my life. As soon as I met him I felt I'd known him all my life. He was so polite and professional. I was able to just pour everything out. He even helped me to look at my childhood and was able to offer to me some reasons as to why things were the way they were. I was able to find myself, it was like everything had become clear - I'd found ME and at the age of 61 it was no easy task. Unfortunately my husband passed away shortly after I'd finished therapy, and thanks to Jeremy, I'm a much stronger and positive person. I could not have got through it without him. I would highly recommend Jeremy. He is a very supportive and welcoming person. I still can't believe how he helped me to sort my life out.