A safe space to find yourself

About Clare Benjamin

“Clare’s service was the best thing I never knew I needed. I was brought up to roll with the punches and to never talk about the issues surrounding my mental wellbeing. Clare changed that; she showed me how to fight back through techniques of reflection and implementation. I no longer feel powerless or voiceless”.

– ‘Tray’

Holistic approach

I understand how tough it can be to consider opening up to a counsellor, and how important it is for you to be met with warmth, acceptance and empathy. 

My holistic approach means I will not see you as a set of symptoms, or problem to be solved – but look with you at difficulties you’re facing in the context of your whole life. Working in a person-centred and humanistic way – with a focus on looking at your concerns, and at what matters to you, I also integrate a psychodynamic understanding of attachment and approach to working with the unconscious, to tailor sessions to your individual needs.

As an Internal Family Systems counsellor, I can support you in working with different parts of yourself – such as a vulnerable, and a coping part, or a part that seeks avoidance, comfort or distraction. All parts of you are welcome in my therapy room – including the parts that aren’t sure about your seeking counselling. As we get to know these parts of you, you may find a stronger connection to a more whole and vital sense of your Self emerges.

A relationship of trust and respect

I work to build a relationship of trust and respect, so that sessions offer a place where you can feel a sense of belonging. With experience of working with people from a range of ethnic and class backgrounds, faiths, ages and sexualities, I respect and value difference within us and between us.

Believing that we can all learn from each other, means I am committed to providing a welcoming and safe space for you to explore what you want to.

I recognise that the counselling room is sometimes more of a brave than a safe space – one in which difficult and painful experiences, thoughts and feelings come up. I will be with you, and resource you in grounding yourself as we explore these together – at the pace that’s right for you. In your sessions, we can also discover what brings you joy, nurtures and strengthens you.

Find out more about how we will work together >

Transformative power of expressing yourself

Graffiti that says "I am the right person for me".

I have witnessed and experienced the transformative power of finding your voice, and expressing yourself in a way that feels true to you – the Self you really are.

That makes me committed to supporting people I work with in discovering the intuitive, unconscious wisdom to be found in the rich, inner life of our dreams, images, gestures, energetic experience and bodily knowing. 

It can be helpful to gain support in recognising your own unique expressive and creative resources – which include humour.  I can offer personalised outlets to support this in sessions, and for home practice – such as prompts for:

  • journaling
  • creative writing
  • drawing/making marks on paper

Tools for wellbeing can also be tried out in sessions to help you access your intuition, and to help you calm and ground yourself. Strategies and techniques such as:

  • breath-work
  • image-work
  • visualisation

Find out more about sessions here.

Qualifications and experience

Concerns that I’ve worked with include:

  • anxiety; social anxiety
  • depression
  • relationship and family issues
  • co-dependence and narcissism
  • attachment experiences
  • noticing unhelpful patterns
  • being overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings
  • trauma in childhood or adult life
  • addictive behaviours, the impact of others’ addiction
  • the impact of school/boarding school/college/uni

  • bereavement and loss
  • times of change, transition and ageing
  • sense of identity and belonging
  • faith or spirituality
  • stress and burnout
  • finding meaning and purpose
  • body image and low self esteem
  • developing tools for wellbeing
  • exploring barriers to self- expression and creativity
  • health and wellbeing

My experience of working both short-term to longer-term means that your counselling can be paced over the time-frame that suits your needs.

On qualifying with an ‘Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling’, I worked with low-cost service Affordable Talk, and supported students with their mental health and wellbeing concerns as a Specialist Mentor at Bristol University, before going into private practice. Regular supervision and continuing professional development (CPD) help ensure I can better support you.

My counselling work also draws on over twenty years experience of working to support a wide range of people in sharing their stories and making their voices heard through regional, national and international media in a way that honoured their experiences. This was gained in communication roles with humanitarian, environmental and health organisations, such as Chernobyl Children’s Project, Macmillan Cancer Support, Sustrans, Penny Brohn UK and Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity.

I’ve completed post-qualifying training and CPD in areas including: Internal Family Systems (Level 1 fifteen day training with IFS UK), ‘Working with Complex Trauma’ (6 month Skills & Supervision group with Dr Arielle Schwartz); Boarding School Syndrome; Working with Shame; Working With Creative Techniques; and ‘Compassionate Inquiry Masterclass’ (with Gabor Mate).

Clare’s Background

With one side of my family being Scottish and English, and the other Jewish, (American and Lithuanian), my background has given me some experience of cultural difference, and the strengths and challenges this can bring.  From a young age writing poetry and stories became my way of making sense of my world. My childhood gave me a love of nature, hiking, yoga, poetry, art and music. I live with my husband in Bristol – a city I feel at home and have worked in over many years, and where I’ve made treasured friendships.

Hoelan – Anglo-Saxon word for healing, meaning: to make whole.

Learning to grieve for, and honour the impact of early loss – and working with many people experiencing the losses life inevitably brings – has given me a deep commitment to the benefits of a whole person approach to wellbeing – one that includes body, mind and spirit.

It’s been my experience that the more fully I can accept myself, the more fully I can be open to a passion for life, and compassion for others – and I’ve found that staying connected to this is a life-long work in progress.

Supporting people in sharing their stories has always been the aspect of my work that has most inspired me. This has also found expression through gaining a ‘Diploma in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes’, and running Writing for Wellbeing groups in community settings.

Counselling has enabled me to bring these skills and experiences to bear in supporting people I work with. As we work together, I will be human with you in your human struggles.

Together, we can explore your way of being in the world, and find more compassionate ways of making sense of your unique life story.

Everyone has a story written under torn paper.

Contact me for an initial chat and to book a session

If you’d like a brief initial chat to see if I am the right counsellor for you, or to book a first session, please contact me on
07800 634 309
or you can fill in the contact form here >