Trauma Focused Therapist
Stuart comes from a creative background, having worked for many years as a professional musician and then later as a sound engineer and producer in recording studios and concert venues. Other than music, Stuart’s big passion is people! He was drawn to counselling after two very positive experiences as a client in therapy during some very challenging episodes in his life.
Following this he trained as a counsellor, gaining an MA qualification from Manchester University, and has been working therapeutically with all sorts of different people and issues ever since.
Stuart identifies as an integrative therapist, and strongly believes in a flexible and creative approach to working with people, where the therapeutic style and approach is fitted to each person and their unique way of experiencing the world. He has worked in two charitable organisations prior to Survivors Manchester as a counsellor with a whole range of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, sexual abuse, OCD, self-harm and suicidal ideation, anger management, self-esteem, sexuality and identity issues.
Working as a trauma-focused therapist is a natural progression from Stuart’s other creative activities (he is still an active musician, sound engineer and producer). He believes that every encounter with a client is a golden opportunity to create a meaningful, authentic connection, and this relationship becomes the vehicle for change and a playground for exploring the many different and often paradoxical aspects of ourselves. He believes that allowing those unspeakable experiences and thoughts to be voiced and explored in a safe, supportive environment is central to successful therapy, and this where their effect and impact can be reduced or transformed into something more helpful.
Why did you decide to work for Survivors Manchester?
Survivors Manchester is an amazing charity doing very important work and supporting an under-represented group struggling with some very challenging issues. It is an area I am very passion about working in and I wanted to bring my energy and counselling skills to working with this group of people. The welcoming and supportive ethos of Survivors is a great fit with my personal values and very close to my heart. The effects and fallout from childhood sexual abuse, and adult rape and sexual assault are devastating and far-reaching.
It takes immense courage for survivors to speak out and rise above the legacy of the abuse, and being able to walk alongside some of these brave people on their journey for a while and be involved in some way in their recovery feels very important to me.
What would you like to see Survivors Manchester do in Manchester?
I would love to see the organisation continue to grow in the way that it has done over the last year, and eventually provide a service nationally all over the country. There is a real demand for the service that Survivors delivers and it is great to see that acknowledged and supported by IAPT and those that fund the service. I’m also really pleased that the it’s supporting Greater Manchester Police in the development of the Accord Programme through ‘Change Project‘, a seperate organistion aimed at those who have been abused and are at risk of offending. I believe this is a really important part of the overall picture of reducing offending and making society a safer place for everybody. I hope this area of the organisation continues to grow alongside supporting as many survivors of abuse as possible.
Finally I hope Survivors Manchester will keep speaking out about male sexual abuse and rape and help to encourage others to do the same, and break down the stigma around this subject.
Do you have a message for Greater Manchester residents?
I have lived in Manchester for almost 15 years and I can say without question there is a lot of love in this city! So my message for Greater Manchester residents is…: You are great! Keep being you, support those that need it, challenge the things you don’t want to accept loudly and passionately, and carry on being the wonderful, diverse and energetic community that makes this city a great place to live!
Mancunians are not known for keeping quiet, and it would be good to see our voices collectively being used as much as possible to raise awareness of the impact and existence of all forms of sexual abuse and violence. Never be scared to have those difficult conversations, as that is what breaks down stigma and ignorance and encourages awareness.
What’s your favourite thing about Manchester?
Undoubtedly the people! Wonderfully diverse, full of beans and sometimes more than a little bit eccentric, but the spirit of this city is second to none. I sometimes go swimming at the Manchester Aquatic Centre, and there is a huge graphic on the wall down there that says: “This is Manchester… we do things differently round here”! That sums it up for me.
I also love the music scene in Manchester, and have lost count of the number of superb gigs I have been to here. And The Sugar Junction in The Northern Quarter do the best Eggs Royale and Oreo Milkshake you can get your hands on!