What is Bowen therapy?
Bowen is a hands-on soft therapy treatment applied through clothing. It's very gentle and relaxing to receive. It works by interrupting the proprioceptive messages between your brain and your muscles, encouraging them to 'reset' into a position of greater comfort and relaxation.
It also softens the fascial tissue which runs throughout your body, encasing every structure from blood vessels to major organs. This tissue can harden with trauma such as injury or surgery, and is important for the movement of fluids around your body as well as for physical movement.
Because Bowen affects every structure in your body it can bring about improvements in system and organ function as well as muscle movement. It can also promote good sleep and is excellent for breathing problems.
Studies are underway at present to investigate the effectiveness of Bowen therapy for Long Covid.
Do you help treat terminal or chronic illness?
Yes. Bowen therapy can't cure your condition, of course, nor is it a substitute for traditional medical care where that's indicated. However Bowen's gentle nature means that it's suitable for people of any age or state of health, including those with disabilities. Many clients with chronic conditions find that Bowen relieves their pain and other symptoms.
I also provide counselling services for those experiencing difficulties coping with a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one.
If you have cancer, there is a very small chance that Bowen therapy could cause it to spread more rapidly than it otherwise would. However it's much more likely that you'll find it alleviates your symptoms and some of the less pleasant aspects of treatment, and in Australia Bowen therapy is routinely used in palliative and long term care for cancer patients.
What should I expect from my first Bowen session?
Your first Bowen session will last about an hour, although you won't spend all that time on the couch. I'll take a detailed client history covering your general health, diet, exercise regime (if any) and of course details of the condition or problem that's brought you to me. I'll explain what will happen during the treatment and you can ask any questions.
I'll then perform a basic treatment which consists of a series of moves at strategic points on the body with gaps between them. These gaps allow your body to respond and are part of the treatment. I'll make notes about what I've done and what I've noticed in your body, which are of course kept confidential.
You won't have to remove any clothing for the treatment, although it helps me a lot if you wear light clothing rather than jeans or heavy jumpers. You may feel more comfortable in leggings or trousers rather than a skirt.
During the treatment you may not feel anything particular, or you might experience tingling or floating sensations, get hot or cold, or feel some brief pain. All this is quite normal. Most clients feel some relief immediately, although it may take 24-48 hours before you feel the full benefit.
You may also like to watch this video.
What is Bowen good for?
Bowen therapy treats the whole body and as such is effective for a very wide variety of symptoms. Its 'bread and butter' is muscular pain arising from strains, overwork, poor posture or injury, but it also helps with circulation, digestion, breathing and stress. I have yet to find a condition or issue that doesn't respond to it, although it doesn't suit some clients so there are no guarantees on the results you will get.
Is counselling for me?
Only you can answer that question. Counselling is not reserved for people with serious mental illnesses such as bipolar or even depression, nor do you need a diagnosis to see a counsellor. If there's something about yourself that you're not happy with then I can help you. It might be the way you feel, the way you react to situations or people, or the way you think about your life. It may be a minor issue or it may be interfering with your ability to function normally in society.
Going for counselling is not an admission of weakness or failure, but an investment in your future happiness and wellbeing. In fact it can take more courage to address any issues you feel you have than to live with them by yourself, so you should see it as a strength rather than anything else.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on a lot of factors. For Bowen therapy, many clients feel better immediately but I always recommend a minimum of two sessions to get a full understanding of how Bowen affects your body. Every client is different. For clients who have a long term health condition or whose physical issues are related to an aspect of their lifestyle such as a job or hobby, I often advise a monthly treatment to keep them in good health and pain free. Others like to come on an ad-hoc basis as they feel they need to, and others may not need to come back at all after their first two or three treatments.
For counselling, it really is a question of how long is a piece of string. If you've been struggling for a long time you might need to come regularly for months or even years, but you should start to feel better fairly quickly, often after only a few sessions. My job is not to turn you into some pre-defined version of 'normal' or to apply a process to you, but to leave you feeling the way you want to feel. Only you will know when that's happened. For that reason I don't ask clients to sign up to a specific number of sessions, although I might suggest making a recurring appointment just for practical reasons.
What does 'client led' mean?
Different therapists use this term to mean different things, but when I use it I mean that I work with your reality, in the place that you are in. So I might have an idea of a tool or technique I want to use in your next session but when you arrive and answer the usual opening question of 'How are you?' it often becomes clear that you need something quite different today. Equally I don't care if your issue is one that anyone would struggle with, or something that some people might consider trivial. I don't give you advice (most of the time!) or tell you what the answer to your problems is, because I'm not you and what might work for me - or anyone else - isn't necessarily the right thing for you. I'll also assume that everything you tell me is correct from your perspective, however it might appear to someone else, and that you're operating with the best intentions. No matter how 'bad' what you feel or do might seem, there's a good reason for you feeling or doing it.
Do you work with couples or children?
Although the style of therapy I use is suitable for children or young people and I'm qualified to do so, I don't work with couples or with children under 16. If you and your partner wanted to see me individually that would be fine, and of course I wouldn't share what one partner said to me with the other unless they specifically asked me to do so. The same applies to seeing members of the same family, for example siblings or parents and their sons or daughters.
Do you have any specialisms?
Emotional therapeutic counselling is suitable for a wide variety of emotional issues. Some clients know that they need help with, for example self-esteem or depression, others aren't really sure what their issues are but know they aren't happy or have difficulties coping in certain situations. I don't specifically offer support with addiction management or work with those actively using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, nor do I have experience of eating disorders. However if you are interested in working with me then I'd be happy to meet you for a free, no obligation introductory session to find out more about you and what you need. If I don't feel I'm the therapist for you then I will try to refer you to someone else who may be more suitable for your particular requirements.
Do you offer any concessionary rates for low incomes or particular groups?
Unfortunately I'm not able to do this at present, although I plan to offer a small number of pro-bono places for counselling in future. My rates are competitive and I'm happy to see clients weekly, fortnightly or monthly as their budget allows.
Can you accommodate disabled clients?
The clinic is wheelchair accessible, I'm hidden disability friendly and am learning BSL. For reasons of comprehension, I don't provide counselling services for clients who have severe speech impediments or are not fluent in English.
How can I pay?
You can pay in cash or by card at the time of your session, or by BACS transfer in advance. Stay Healthy clients pay by direct debit.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you're not able to keep your appointment I ask you to let me know as soon as possible. If that's with less than 24 hours notice I will charge you in full for the session booked. I will always try to rebook your session as soon as I can, taking into account both of our availability. If you have a recurring appointment you can ask to reschedule at any time.
If I have to cancel your appointment then there is no charge and I will automatically offer you the opportunity to rebook.
If a client repeatedly cancels or fails to show up for their appointment I reserve the right to refuse to book any more sessions with them.
What Covid-19 precautions are you using in clinic?
Counselling and Bowen therapy are both considered low risk for Covid-19 by the relevant professional associations. I disinfect the couch and floor after each Bowen session and use clean towels and couch covers for each client. I wear a face covering while treating the client lying face up but the majority of the treatment is applied with you lying face down. I also use hand sanitiser throughout the treatment.
New clients are asked to confirm that they have not had, or been in contact with, anyone displaying symptoms or testing positive for Covid-19 in the 14 days prior to their appointment, and existing clients are expected to report any such contacts and reschedule their appointments accordingly. I perform a lateral flow test at least twice per week to ensure I am free of Covid-19 and would close the clinic immediately if I tested positive.
Counselling is performed socially distanced and clients may wear a face covering if they choose. If they want me to wear one as well they only need to ask. I have a gap of at least 20 minutes between each client during which time the door and/or window is left open to ventilate the room.
You can read my whole Covid-19 policy here.
I've decided I don't want to come any more. What do I need to do?
Whether you're coming for Bowen or counselling you are of course at liberty to stop coming whenever you choose. All I ask is that if you have any further appointments booked, that you let me know you want to cancel. You can tell me when you come for your last session, or by phone, email or text as you prefer. You don't have to give a reason unless you want to.
If you have been, or have indicated you want to become, a regular client and haven't booked in accordance with your usual pattern I will generally message you up to three times to check if you want an appointment. You can also tell me you don't want any more sessions in response to that.
I used to be a regular client but haven't been for ages. Can I come back?
Of course! It doesn't matter when or why you stopped coming, I'm always glad to welcome previous clients back into the clinic provided I have capacity in my diary. If you were a Bowen client I might suggest you have another new client assessment programme, depending on how long it is since you were last here, but it's entirely up to you.
What do I need to bring with me?
Nothing really. Obviously some money, but otherwise the only thing you need to bring is the client sheet I emailed you in advance if you're a new Bowen client. And even if you forget that it doesn't really matter.
I want to complain about you. What do I do?
If there's anything you're not happy with about my service I'd hope that your first step would be to talk to me about it. However if you have tried that, or don't want to, you can contact the relevant professional association (see links below) and follow their complaints procedure.
Can I recommend you to my friends?
Yes, please do! Most of my work comes from referrals and recommendations and I'm always delighted when a client recommends me to someone they know. You can pick up a card or leaflet from the clinic, or send them the link to this website or my Facebook page. Potential counselling clients can also find me listed on welldoing.com and the therapist's directories at psychologytoday.com or nationalcounsellingsociety.org.