The Harbour room refreshed!

We’ve recently finished updating the Harbour room. The sink and the tired tub chairs have gone and new chairs, pictures, and paint have given the room a clean and contemporary look but retained its confidential and comfortable character.Example of Emy Lou Holmes work

The new pictures – all of Bristol or its surrounds – are by local artist Emy Lou Holmes.Emily lives and works in Bristol. She creates illustrations of local towns and cities and retro-inspired images. The pictures reflect her interest in 60s & 70s aesthetics and she collects vintage fabrics and wallpapers to collage into her work.
We like the ‘local-ness’ of the pictures and the fact that they are somehow contemporary despite the retro inspiration.

New rooms above the old

The new rooms in our sister practice in the top half of the house are now complete and, just like  the rooms downstairs, are already providing a credible, professional and attractive place for our practitioners and their clients to engage.

There are three new talking rooms and another room set aside for therapists to use as a common room.

The new skylight, specially commissioned to provide a colourful and varied light, sheds a warm glow over the top landing.

Soundproofing has been a big investment but is working well; even the new fire doors have a special sound proofing bar that descends below the door and into the threshold as the door shuts. Silent sweep clocks and a double door finish off our attempts to make the rooms as conducive as we can…


The Bridge Room

The Sitting Room

The Ash Tree Room

Our newest neighbours

Julie Gresty used her photography skills to capture this charming picture of a male blue tit feeding a female in the garden as she (hopefully) incubates a clutch of eggs. Blue tits apparently lay a large number of eggs, possibly as many as eleven or twelve so we’re looking forward to seeing the young birds soon.

Our sister practice upstairs

From the roof to Millenium Square

From the roof of the new rooms looking towards Millenium Square

In August 2018 Bristol’s planning department gave permission to use the top two floors in our building for counselling and psycho-therapeutic work. No. 3 Redcliffe Parade East is physically divided into two self-contained units and we have the downstairs two floors. The two upstairs floors will be a separate suite of 3 new counselling rooms and a waiting room and will bring a much needed resource to Redcliffe, the city centre, and southern Bristol.

The planning process has delayed commissioning the new rooms which has had a knock-on effect, but they should be operational in the New Year, providing counselling rooms and a space for small groups (CPD  etc).  We look forward to it.

Speaking in tongues…

Languages picWith Pablo Reina soon to be joining the Practice we now have five languages other than English that are available for those people who feel more comfortable conversing in their native language.

Working in the native tongue is obviously an advantage because a second language (pretty much no matter how fluent) represents an obstruction that has to be overcome and when it comes to communicating, especially in a therapeutic setting, the easier, the more fluent and therefore more direct the process is, the better the understanding. And it’s not just the language that facilitates the exchange; native language sits within a shared cultural background which includes much more than a common and familiar knowledge of a country and background. Gesture and all the other subtle non-verbal aspects of communication flourish between native speakers so the process is simply that much more fluent.

So who speaks what at the Practice?

Bulgarian: Milena Nikolova, mainly working with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and of course counselling.

Czech: Pavla Radostova, mainly working in an integrative way which means that she offers a range of styles and techniques.

French: Jessica Wallace, a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Transpersonal approach

German (and Spanish): Claudia Schmidt, a Chartered Counselling Psychologist working with individuals and couples

Polish: Renata Königsman, using an Integrative approach but mainly using Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Spanish: Pablo Reina: counselling with a humanistic approach; about to complete a diploma in Integrative Counselling.

We welcome Kaire Davidson to the Practice

Kaire DavidsonStarting in December, Kaire  will be building a solid foundation of experience as she complements her academic work and develops her client base as a student (thereby offering reduced rates).

Kaire’s early background is in media. A long time ago she was a fashion writer and later on she started using her skills in the charity sector. She’s deeply curious about what makes us who we are, and how we evolve and grow. As well as psychotherapy, Kaire’s involved in both teaching and practising yoga (see and will, one day, work with people in different ways on a full-time basis. She loves the outdoors – walking, running, snowboarding and cycling. She believes that there is a better, fuller way of living for all of us, which is healthier, more mindful and more environmentally aware. This way of living involves fewer material wants and emphasizes more time for valuable relationships and the community.

All about mindfulness (MBCT) and depression

Professor Mark Wiliiams

Professor Mark Williams

Following a discussion at the Practice about some of the ways that depression can be addressed it was surprising how little mindfulness was mentioned. Bearing in mind that it is so very effective and bearing in mind that it can be ‘pharma-free’ and that it’s been around for so long – a few thousand years in its traditional form and about 20 years in its modern form wedded to CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) –  and that it’s effective against some relapse, it should have been at the forefront of the discussion. It’s certainly one of the most prominent treatments and has even been called ‘fashionable’ (in which case it is a very classic fashion) which rather ignores the unusually convincing and solid evidence base.

A really good introduction to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and one that can be listened to, rather than read, is provided in a series of podcasts by Prof Mark Williams of Oxford Uni’s Mindfulness Research Centre. He and Dr Danny Penman explore what depression is, what mindfulness and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is, and its effectiveness as a treatment, backed up with research and evidence.

If you have access to an mp3 player the series is really worth a listen and, of course, you don’t have to be depressed to benefit from being mindful; listen to this series and you’ll see what we mean.

The New Psychology of Depression:

Two new therapists at the Harbourside Practice

Milena NikolovaTwo new therapists are soon to be working from the Harbourside Practice.

Milena Nicolova is a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and counsellor with 10 years NHS experience, setting up in Bristol to complement her practice in Taunton.

Jessica VacarroJessica Vacarro is a counsellor, originally from the US, but now a longtime UK resident, using a humanistic, person-centred counselling approach and with a special interest in the effects of colonialism especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Harbourside Practice is Five…

The Harbourside PracticeThe Harbourside Practice recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and the only real change during those years has been towards talking therapies and away from the manual therapies.

The practice started off as a general complementary health clinic with the usual fairly eclectic spread of therapies including acupuncture and buqi, homeopathy and aromatherapy. Massage and talking therapies were no more prominent than the others but, over time, the shift to talking therapies led to the big hydraulic couch having to go to free up another room for more talking, making space for three more chairs in the room.

The trend continued and now, out of all the hours spent at the Practice, probably a good 95% are ‘talking’ hours of one kind or another. Counsellors, psychotherapists, mentors, hypnotherapists, coaches, NLPers and CBTers account for the majority of time. It’s true that the building lends itself to quiet reflection and a peaceful therapeutic exchange but this is just as true for manual therapies so the reason for this will remain obscure for the time being. But if that’s how the Practice has developed organically over time then that’s fine.

If it’s matured over its five years into a talking shop, then so be it; it seems to know where it wants to go. And for all that it seems to work for Caroline and Louise who practise holistic massage and Bowen therapy, both of whom have been working from the Practice for what must now be over four years.