Helen Cordery

Attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist, London
  • Relationship Challenges
  • Transitions
  • Attachment
Flexible Pricing available

My Approach

As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, I am interested in how our past impacts on our present, perhaps leading us to get stuck in ways of relating towards ourselves and others that may not be beneficial. We might feel stuck, wanting to break free of such patterns, but unable to. Despite our bes...

As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, I am interested in how our past impacts on our present, perhaps leading us to get stuck in ways of relating towards ourselves and others that may not be beneficial. We might feel stuck, wanting to break free of such patterns, but unable to. Despite our best efforts, we can get caught time and again in the same unhelpful ways of relating.

My understanding and knowledge of attachment theory adds greatly to this way of working. We are born highly vulnerable, and are completely reliant on others for nurture (both physical and emotional), safety and support to deal with whatever life throws at us. Ideally, this enables us to flourish, but not always. As infants, we are innately able to pick up what our carers need from us, and adapt accordingly. Perhaps we learn to suppress our emotions (a more avoidant attachment style), or up the ante to be seen (more of a preoccupied attachment style). Over time, these patterns of relating can become fairly fixed, affecting the way we relate to others as adults.

Attachment theory is not about blaming others for the way we are now. It is a way to help make sense of how our earliest experiences might be affecting us. Sadly, however, many people have experienced challenging, distressing or perhaps abusive care at the hands of parents/carers, which often has a powerful impact on our ability to trust others.

As attachment theory believes that emotional distress is born out of the way others relate to us, similarly it also holds that relationships provide a place where healing can take place. As such, the relationship between therapist and client is key to the therapeutic work. Thinking about what it feels like to be in the counselling room together, how each affects the other, can be a fruitful and important part of the therapy.

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About Helen

I have always been interested in how I feel in relationship with others (from momentary encounters, through to long-term relationships with close friends and family). I would wonder why I could feel a particular way with one person, and completely differently with another. It was this intere...

I have always been interested in how I feel in relationship with others (from momentary encounters, through to long-term relationships with close friends and family). I would wonder why I could feel a particular way with one person, and completely differently with another. It was this interest about how different relationships feel, as well as the realisation of the healing power of attuned and effective counselling support, that led me to start my journey to become a psychotherapist.

When I learned about attachment theory, I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment – it spoke volumes to me about human development across the lifecycle, and felt right in terms of explaining my history. After trying different training institutes, I decided to train at The Bowlby Centre, where I could combine my interest in psychoanalytic thinking and attachment.

Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, I worked for over 20 years as a HCPC-registered dietitian. I worked in a variety of specialities, but during the last 10-12 years specialised in working with people with eating disorders. Whilst I no longer work as a dietitian, I remain interested in issues around eating disorders, the body, and the interface between mind and body. My time advising and working with a wide range of different people in varying states of health or ill-health was very meaningful. It enabled me to learn how to be with people in physical and/or emotional distress, thus serving as a very powerful foundation to my work as a psychotherapist.

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Education

  • Attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapy training (The Bowlby Centre, 2006-2012)
  • UKCP registered since 2014
  • Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) – a time-limited psychoanalytic psychotherapy for depression and/or anxiety (in progress)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Psychotherapy Studies (University of Kent at Canterbury, 2002)
  • Modular Certificate in the Fundamentals of Psychotherapy and Counselling (School of Psychotherapy & Counselling at Regent’s College, 2000)
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills (1996)

Experience

  • Attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice (since 2009)
  • Seminar leader, Foundation Course for Psychotherapy and Counselling, WPF Therapy (since 2014)
  • Seminar leader, ‘Attachment Gone Wrong’ for postgraduate psychotherapists (Wimbledon Guild Counselling, since 2015)
  • Seminar leader, 4-year clinical training course (The Bowlby Centre, since 2016)
  • Honorary psychotherapist (Women & Health, London, 2008-2009)
  • 20+ years HCPC-registered dietitian (1992-2015), including 10+ years specialising in working with eating disorders

Co-author of two books about treating eating disorders:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders: A Comprehensive Treatment Guide, by Waller et al, (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Beating Your Eating Disorder, by Waller et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

23 Clerkenwell Close
EC1R 0AA London
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