Reza Ahmad Counsellor & Psychotherapist in Bristol and Online

How therapy can help

Therapy (counselling and psychotherapy) provides a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space for you to explore any personal issues. We will explore whatever you choose to bring at a pace that is determined by you. This process is unique in each person's case and different kinds of support may be needed at different times. You may need support:

  • to navigate your way through difficult feelings, sensations, thoughts and behaviours
  • to understand their origins and have compassion for oneself
  • to explore and understand how your past experiences influence how you relate with the present
  • to release painful sensations, feelings, out-of-date assumptions and beliefs
  • to help extreme behaviours and impulses come back into balance
  • to discover and integrate new ways of seeing, being, behaving and relating

    Therapy can also support you to get in touch with your unique gifts and talents, to work through any inner blocks to offering and expressing those, so that you can live a richer, more meaningful and satisfying life.

    I have experience of working with a wide range of themes such as:

  • anger
  • bereavement and loss
  • family
  • illness
  • abuse (emotional, physical, sexual)
  • life transitions
  • work-related issues
  • loneliness
  • finding direction and purpose
  • identity

    I specialise in the following areas:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • trauma
  • low self-esteem
  • relationships including working with couples

    Counselling tends to be shorter-term work that may focus on one or two specific issues. Psychotherapy moves towards longer-term work. This allows time to explore and resolve issues related to your deep psychic structure which developed early in life as an adaptation to adversity. An introductory meeting gives us the time to discuss whether you may need shorter or longer-term work if that feels important.

  • A deeper look at how I work using Internal Family Systems (IFS)

    I originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist and have since trained as an Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapist which is now my main therapeutic approach. IFS works with the understanding that every person's internal subjective world or psyche consists of many parts, aspects or sub-personalities. For example, when we say something like “on the one hand I really want to do it, on the other, I'm afraid” we may be referring to two such parts and the experience of in one moment occupying one part with its particular feelings, thoughts and perspective, and in another moment occupying another part with its (contrary) feelings, thoughts and perspective. It is normal and healthy to have many such parts which form an internal system. Each of us also has a core Self which is not a part – it is synonymous with pure awareness or consciousness, which is the capacity to be present with all of our experience, including all our parts. The energy of Self is associated with qualities such as compassion, clarity, confidence, calm, creativity, connectedness, wisdom and love. Every individual's core Self is always here: it can never be damaged, sullied or lost, even when there has been profound trauma. However, it is in effect hidden when parts dominate our internal experience - like clouds passing in front of the sun.

    One-to-one. Clouds over the sun

    When anyone experiences something that is overwhelming or traumatic (too much to process) a part may take on extreme feelings, sensations, emotions and beliefs. This part then becomes burdened. Other parts in the internal system then take on various roles in order to protect the person from being overwhelmed by the painful burdens that part carries. These protective parts in effect exile the burdened part by making sure it stays buried out of awareness. For example, a person may have a part that is addicted to alcohol because drinking dulls the pain of an exile. The protective intention of such parts is not always obvious, especially when their activity is extreme and results in further suffering. That suffering is often what motivates people to seek therapy. The journey of therapy is one in which I support you to develop a relationship between your core Self and your parts, especially those that are stuck in extreme roles and those that carry burdens. When more Self-energy is available you are able to meet all parts with curiosity, openness, compassion and wisdom. This leads to change and healing by helping protective parts relax and shift out of the extreme roles they have been stuck in and helping exiles to release the painful burdens they are carrying. All parts are then freed to return to their natural state making their unique qualities and capacities available to you. Ultimately you become more Self-led as parts learn to trust in Self-energy as a guiding force and step back from dominating a person's inner life and determining one's behaviour.

    One-to-one. Tree in the sun

    It is not necessary for you to understand or believe in all the theory of IFS to work with me. The theory provides a rough map of the psyche but it is not the territory itself. My role as a therapist is to support you to explore your inner world and to find out about it from your own direct experience. That is more important than any psychological map.

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