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About my Psychotherapy Practice

I am an accredited Integrative Psychotherapist (UKCP registered) in private practice. My orientation is existential, humanistic and relational-centred. While my practice is in York (UK), I also see people online via Zoom.

On this page, I offer some basic information about psychotherapy and about my own practice.  Please note that my psychotherapy practice is currently full and I am no longer accepting any new clients or supervisees. 

What is psychotherapy?

Stressed?   Feeling down?    Relationship problems?    Going through a life crisis?  Are you using food or alcohol/drugs in self-damaging ways?

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘Yes’, then psychotherapy could help…

Psychotherapy is primarily a ‘talking therapy’ which aims to help people deal with emotional problems and life stresses. The goal of therapy is to help us understand our thoughts, feelings or behaviours better and to develop skills towards living our lives in more satisfying ways. Therapy involves therapist and client going exploring together and it can become a voyage of (self-)discovery.

In addition to helping us become more aware of our emotional issues and our patterns of relating to others, therapy helps to nurture a way of being which includes self-care and self-compassion. Sharing troubles with a compassionate, respectful, professionally trained person – who listens in complete confidence – can help ease those troubles. I trust the therapeutic process and ways in which the therapeutic relationship can be harnessed for healing and self-discovery. 

I believe that a person’s early life experience influences the person we become and we have a tendency to repeat learned ways of relating to others.  When we grow into adulthood, we may find that old, familiar ways of coping offer security but we can also get ‘stuck’ in old coping methods that don’t serve us so well.  Therapy – via the therapeutic relationship - can help us find ways to recognise problematic life patterns and to discover new meaning in life: evolving instead of revolving. Greater self-awareness of our emotional world and life patterns opens up alternative choices and possibilities. 

Research consistently emphasises the importance of adapting therapy to the individual.  More than this, for me, psychotherapy is a relational endeavour. The client-therapist relationship acts as a kind of a microcosm of the client's world outside.  In this special therapeutic relationship, the therapist tries to find a way to be in relationship with clients, in patience, curiosity, compassion, caring and challenge. Then we go exploring in search of a different path. My relational-existential practice, is less about applying therapy techniques and more about working with the client to explore new ways of being. 

The therapy process

As you’ve clicked to view this section, it’s likely you’re wondering what having therapy would be like.  I’ll try to explain…  Therapy sessions usually last for around an hour once a week or fortnight and can be in person or online (depending on the therapist and practice context).  

In a first session, usually you would start by facing your therapist, and just starting to talk with their prompts. The therapist will try to help you express what is troubling or challenging you currently. They will try to listen deeply and aim to be respectful, open and non-judgmental. You take the lead and explore issues of concern.  The therapist might ask you to describe your experience: to tell your ‘story’; what is it like to be you?  That process of simply describing, and then being witnessed by someone who is listening closely and with compassion, can itself be powerful and that alone may prove transformational. 

Usually there is some process of contracting which occurs (verbally or in writing) towards the beginning of the therapeutic work, where you clarify where you're wishing to go in terms of your aims, tasks and goals while the therapist tries to be clear about what they offer. This contracting will usually be done in the context of developing a therapeutic alliance. Over time the relationship, mutual trust and bond will hopefully grow.

If you decide to proceed with the therapy then you would continue to look at the difficulties you face and consider what you might like to change and how the therapist might best support you.  Together with your therapist, you will try to make sense of your experience and find creative new approaches to problematic situations and relationships. You would then work together to discover new, more satisfying, ways of being in life for you. The key take-hoe message is that with understanding, support and sensitive challenge people are often able to change their lives and relationships in meaningful ways. 

Therapists differ in terms of their approach. Some are more directive and offer both psychoeducation and advice (for instance, some CBT therapists). Others follow your lead and the two of you would simply go exploring (as seen with more humanistic or psychoanalytic practitioners).  Some therapists (and I am one) work relationally and aim to meet you in your world – joining you on a journey towards finding your own preferred life path.  

Your therapist's approach should be tailored to your needs as an individual. Ideally, they will have the appropriate qualifications and experience and will also adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice laid down by a recognised professional body such as the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy (UKCP). Anything you tell your therapist should be in the strictest confidence. The exceptions to this are if your therapist believes that disclosure is essential to prevent harm to you or others, or if a minor (or vulnerable adult) is in need of safe-guarding from abuse, or if subpoenaed by court order. With GDPR you have the right to see any notes that your therapist writes about you and they would probably want to ensure your full consent if any formal reports needed to be written.

My orientation and professional background

I am an integrative therapist which means that I draw on a range of therapeutic perspectives. My therapeutic orientation is existential, humanistic and relational-centred, and, mostly I draw on ideas from the phenomenology, gestalt, transactional analysis and intersubjectivity theory . As a relational-centred therapist, I believe that it is the relationship between client and therapist which is the key to growth and healing. 

I originally qualified as an occupational therapist in 1977 (no longer registered) and I worked in the mental health field in different hospitals and psychotherapeutic units, where I learned a variety of psychological approaches.  Over my therapy career, I have worked with a wide range of people who have different emotional /  mental health issues, and with both children and with adults.  I have particular expertise in the field of anxiety/stress, trauma, eating disorders, self-harm, and substance abuse. 

My academic career has spanned over 40 years and has involved me teaching therapy and psychology-related topics on numerous undergraduate and post-graduate university courses throughout Europe and in the USA. I draw on this experience in my academic consultancy work.

In addition to my psychotherapy qualification and occupational therapy training, I have an honours degree in Psychology and a PhD. I am a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society and have a post-graduate Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy Supervision. 

From this brief introduction, you will see that I have a foot in both clinical and academic worlds. Its important to me that my research and writing is anchored in practice while my practice is informed by research. I trust both the therapeutic process and the ways in which the therapeutic relationship can be harnessed for healing and self-discovery - the topic of all my teaching, books and other writings.


My fees are negotiated with individuals (and/or institutions) depending on the nature of work required.  

Linda Finlay - Psychotherapist

Data Privacy Policy

I take data protection and confidentiality seriously. If you contact me by email, I will hold onto your data only while processing your communication. I will not copy, share or use your personal information without your consent.  Once you have signed a contract to begin therapy, then please note that personal data and brief notes related to our psychotherapy work are collected. These notes are stored safely and securely. You can have an electronic copy at any point upon request. Our email communications will be deleted after we are no longer working together. 

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