Hello, my name is Chris Madden and I’m an experienced Counselling Psychotherapist. I will offer you a confidential, safe and non-judgemental space to explore a present difficulty. Please scroll down to learn about the benefits of counselling/therapy, find a little bit about me and how I work. Wherever you are in the world (or if you’re local to Leeds and feeling unsure about a face-to-face appointment) we can still work together…
Therapy during Covid19
We are living in unprecedented times…which feels a bit of an understatement! Like many people, I’ve been self-isolating through lockdown so my face-to-face practice in Leeds has been closed and I’ve been working online and by phone. However, I’m re-opening for face-to-face sessions from Wednesday 22 July and you are very welcome to contact me if you’d like to enquire about how this will work (contact details above and on the ‘Contact’ page).
I’m still working via Skype, Zoom and Phone so if you are feeling that talking to someone might help, please do get in touch. If you are considering therapy, counselling or a bit of support for the first time you are very welcome to give me a call or email to arrange a short phone or video call, so you can make sure this is a valuable way to work.
How can Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy help you?
Counselling, Psychotherapy and Therapy are interchangeable words used to describe experienced professional talking support that helps you navigate and make sense of your thoughts or when a life situation is becoming overwhelming. I tend to use the term ’therapy’ to describe what I do.
I recently read a quote which I think really sums up how beneficial therapy can be;
‘Something incredible happens when you open up to another human who you click with and who is trained to listen and support.’
So how will I work with you? I will accept you for who you are and try to see the world through your eyes. I will listen to you and be as genuine as I can, offering the time and space you need to find the answers you are looking for. I will not judge you, critique you, tell you what to do or who you should be. I will always meet you with unconditional positive regard, helping you to explore and navigate towards new insights and perspectives which can bring about a better way of relating to yourself, others or situations which you may find challenging.
No amount of words can ever truly describe who we are and, even though we share many experiences with others, our experience is uniquely our own. The way I work is flexible; I meet you as an individual, helping you to better understand yourself and find your own unique way of making the changes you wish to have in your life. We will work collaboratively to find a way that suits you, working at your pace to identify, explore and resolve the things that concern you or cause distress. Your wellness will always be my priority when we are working together.
I appreciate how difficult it can be to take the first steps towards seeking help or meeting a new therapist. Equally, I know just how important it is to feel comfortable with the person you choose as your therapist. A good way forward is an initial consultation which is an opportunity to meet, talk, ask questions and decide if I’m the right therapist for you. There is no obligation to book any further sessions unless it feels absolutely right and only you will make that decision.
I am an experienced (jargon alert!) Integrative Counselling Psychotherapist working relationally. I am a registered member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) and follow a strict code of conduct and ethics. I have extensive experience of working therapeutically across a broad range of issues including relationship problems/difficulties, anxiety, stress, trauma and depression, problematic alcohol and substance/drug behaviour.
I have significant experience of working therapeutically with clients from the music, live events and other creative industries. At my Leeds practice my clients include the legal and business professions, creative industries, students, professional sports people…essentially; people from all walks of life!
I have considerable experience of working with students in university settings and along side my private practice, I am the lead counsellor/Wellbeing Officer at a university. I am experienced in working with Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Asperger Syndrome and SEND diagnoses.
I believe an important aspect of therapy is the relationship which develops between the client and therapist- you and me- so it really doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, where you come from, what industry you work in; I am on your side, I will ‘have you back’ so we can develop a strong, therapeutic relationship in which we can work together to create the changes you’d like to make.
I am an accredited Mental Health First Aid (England) Instructor, a therapeutic service provider for the charity Music Support, a member of Help Musicians UK charity’s Health and Welfare Advisory panel and Chair of the Board of Trustees with MAP Charity, a Leeds based charity offering creative programmes for young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream education.
Prior to retraining as a therapist, I worked in the music industries for over 20 years.
Lockdown on the BBC!
Throughout Lockdown, I was a regular contributor on BBC Radio Leeds, Sheffield and York discussing how we can all manage our mental health and wellbeing during this extraordinary time. My thanks to Emily Pilbeam at Radio Leeds and producer Shell Zenner for inviting me to share therapeutic thoughts, ideas and tips to Help manage and support mental health during lockdown. You can listen to Emily’s brilliant show ‘BBC Introducing From West Yorkshire’ (Saturdays 8-10pm) via the BBC Sounds App (Radio Leeds/Sheffield/York). Here are the links to some fantastic resources and information that might help. Though there are a couple of guides and resources written with music industry professionals in mind, they are actually really great resources for EVERYONE and contain advice for adults, young people and children alike.
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO LEEDS INTERVIEW 20 JUNE 2020:
This week Emily Pilbeam and I were TCB (’Taking care of Business’- so said the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis!)- having a re-cap of everything we’ve discussed over the three months of lockdown. If you scroll down through this page you’ll find links to everything we’ve discussed including loads of brilliant organisations and resources that will help in coming days as we begin to adapt to the ‘new, new normal’
On today’s show I mentioned Stand Alone are an organisation offering support and raising awareness about adults that are estranged from their family, offering support services to prevent estranged adults becoming vulnerable. They talk openly about the experience of family estrangement to help others lead lives that are less isolated; https://www.standalone.org.uk
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 6 JUNE 2020:
The brilliant charity Music Support are offering 1,000 free memberships to Thrive, the only NHS approved and clinically effective wellbeing app offering 24/7 support focused on the prevention and detection of common mental health conditions. It helps with the early detection, prevention and management of common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as builds resilience so that users can feel empowered to improve their mental health. Pop over the the Music Support website here; https://www.musicsupport.org/thrive-app
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 30 MAY 2020:
Sign up for the Wildlife Trust’s ‘30 Days Wild’ campaign which runs throughout June- it’s FREE to join (win-win)- and is ‘Thirty Random Acts of Wildness’ (see what they did there!!). The positive benefits and effect of engaging with nature are well researched, so this is a really fun and mindful way to begin getting closer to nature. https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/57739/petition/1?locale=en-GB
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 23 MAY 2020:
Health anxiety is a very focused and specific anxiety that is affecting many people (both with and without prior experience of anxiety) during the Coronavirus outbreak. There is some brilliant support advice from Anxiety UK here; https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/coronanxiety-support-resources/
I loved this article by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in the Guardian newspaper a few weeks ago, where she discusses how she has managed her anxiety through her experience of post traumatic stress disorder https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/16/coronavirus-health-anxiety
The NHS is a source of well established support. They have some really good tips to help manage worries about Coronavirus; https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 16 MAY 2020:
This week we talked about low level stress. The following organisations have some really valuable resources which might help to reduce stress at this difficult time;
Mental Health Foundation is a leading UK charity (formed in 1949) whose aim is to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive. Prevention is at the heart of what they do and they’ve published some fantastic free resources to help and support mental health. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-manage-and-reduce-stress
They have a comprehensive set of resources to help support everyone during the Coronavirus outbreak which you can find at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus
Mind have great advice about managing stress. Take a look; https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/developing-resilience/#collapsed9895
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 09 MAY 2020:
If you need to talk you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123. They’re available 24/7 and all calls are anonymous.
If you need to talk to a professional you can talk to your GP about available mental health support, or if are considering counselling you are very welcome to contact me (Via the contact page). You can also search for other therapists via https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists or https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/
I recommend that you check that counsellors are registered members of either the BACP or UKCP. These are the two UK regulating organisations for counsellors/psychotherapists. Choosing a registered member gives you an assurance that they meet the standards of proficiency and ethical practice you would expect.
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 02 MAY 2020:
MIND- Mind provides confidential mental health information services.
RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS ADVICE LINE– Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff.
Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday)
SANELINE– Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.
The Mix –provides judgement-free information and support to young people aged 13-25 on a range of issues including mental health problems. Young people can access the The Mix’s support via phone, email, webchat, peer to peer and counselling services
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 25 APRIL 2020:
The Backstage Academy ‘#LIVEEVENTSTOGETHER CAMPAIGN’ Panel Discussing the affects of mental health on the Live events industry featuring Adam Ficek (Musician/Psychotherapist/ Drummer with Babyshambles), Eric Mtungwazi (Music Support) and Rachel Nicholson (Backstage Academy, Head of Institution) will be available to watch from Wednesday 29 April on their YouTube channel; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeXus4J5NO18AjySP5-MI-A
Music Support are an amazing charity supporting the music community. Take a look at their website for more details about how to access support: https://www.musicsupport.org/
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 18 APRIL 2020:
The impact of blue light (from devices/smart phones) and why we should cut down our use https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
SHARE YOUR DREAMS; HAVE A LOOK AT THE TWITTER ACCOUNT: @LOCKDOWNDREAMS Are a group of researchers collecting dreams during the pandemic and you can share your experiences too.
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 11 APRIL 2020:
Being creative allows a dynamic interplay between different regions of our brain, our emotions and our conscious and unconscious processing, and can take us out of our normal thinking. Creativity can be deeply therapeutic so give it a go!
The following links are creative resources, some are specifically aimed at children and young people, but adults can also join in on some of the fun too (I’m really enjoying the ‘Art is where the Home is’ pack as part of a daily home schooling routine).
First Site Gallery in Colchester have published the brilliant art activity pack ‘Art is where the home is’ featuring contributions from UK artists including Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan, Jeremy Deller, Mark Wallinger and more. It’s free to download at https://firstsite.uk/art-is-where-the-home-is/
The benefits of singing are huge. Neuroscience tells us that singing produces endorphins (hormones secreted in the brain and nervous system) which can reduce anxiety and stress. SO singing can help us to feel more connected, happier and relaxed. Even better, the benefits of singing regularly are cumulative. The amazing Mat Wright MBE might be able to help if your kids are missing the interactive aspect of school. Mat is the Artistic and Musical Director of Barnsley Youth Choir (the UK’s Number 1 ranked youth choir and 5th in the world!) and begins ‘Singing with Mat’ on Tuesday 14 April at 10am. This is a FREE 30 minute daily singing session. ANYONE is welcome. Children of all sizes and Mums and Dads too! It’s focused on having fun- no experience necessary. It’s a community singing platform. You can join in the fun at https://www.facebook.com/Sing-with-Mat-Wright-100598368290338
LINKS FOR BBC RADIO INTERVIEW 28 MARCH 2020: