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On the couch: the broken taboo of therapy

By No author

Happiness, or rather the lack of it, has been getting a lot of attention recently. Every week yet another article is printed on the rise of depression: for a nation that was once characterized by its stiff-upper lip, it seems the emotional flood-gates have finally opened. Personally, I would say it is not a moment too soon. As much as we have mocked the American culture of compulsive-therapy, it has to be said that the British approach of “dealing with it on your own” doesn’t exactly seem to have worked out.  And I speak from experience as a person who resisted “the couch”, convinced like so many others, that I could deal with my fears and anxieties alone, only to realise once I’d suddenly hit rock bottom that this wasn’t really the case. Because the truth is that those little niggling feelings, the fears you convince yourself are silly that you can keep a cap on, have a tendency to only get bigger when kept to oneself.

People resist sharing due to a belief that to do so would be a sign of weakness; this is certainly what stopped me from doing so. It would seem, however, that this image of “strength” that we have all been trying so hard to put across is simply not sustainable in the long run. The reality is that we are pack animals: we are not meant to do it by ourselves: we need others as others need us.


But I have family and friends- why on earth would I need to pay to have someone to listen to me?

There is no denying that the support and understanding of friends and family is a fantastic help, but it is ok to admit that sometimes it just isn’t enough. There is a lot to be said for having an unbiased and emotionally detached listener. To begin with, it is easier to reveal personal information to a person when you are not worried about their judgment and reaction. It is also fair to say, that as well meaning as your relatives may be, the likelihood of them being able to provide you with advice of the same depth as a professional therapist is relatively slim.

Making that step into seeking help feels momentous, it is terrifying to do something that seems tantamount to admitting failure.  It certainly took me a while to take that leap, and yet I can vouch for the sense of relief one gets when it is finally taken. I found that the issues that I had been struggling to keep a handle on and that seemed increasingly big as I tried to deal with them by myself, became surmountable when shared.

The reality is that not confronting our problems from fear of it holding us back is often the very thing that is stopping us from moving forward. So if I am to share one thing with you it would be this: Do not wait until you hit rock bottom, tackle the problem as soon as you can, no matter how small you convince yourself that it is, because the sooner you do, the sooner you can move on with your life.


Thinking of it?

Obviously, therapy is something very personal. In order for it to work, patient and therapist need to have a good and trusting relationship and it is not uncommon for people to try out sessions with different practitioners before finding the one who works best. To help you we have compiled a list of some of the most respected French therapists working in London today. 


Hervé Durant

Hervé Durant is an integrative (humanistic and psychodynamic), fully qualified and accredited counsellor and psychotherapist with a practice based in the heart of Covent garden.
As well as counseling, he has also been offering supervision for other therapists, training and consultancy services in English and in French for the past 20 years.

He is committed to regularly attending conferences and training sessions in order to insure that he has the most in-depth and up to date knowledge of various issues such as sexuality and anger. This is also essential in renewing his BACP/UKRCP accreditations.

His specialties are self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and relationships with others and with oneself.

 “Sometimes life can become too much, everything seems too difficult and challenging, and we feel unable to move forward. This is when we realize that we can no longer continue to live our lives in the same way: the model we had been using needs changing. This may appear terrifying, but it can be done in a more empathetic and gentle way than one might think…” Hervé Durant

For more information, you can contact him on 0793 907 3602  or


Barbara Minard: Counsellor  and Clinical Hypnotherapist

your future. Free yourself from the past. Fulfil your potential. Get the support you need. Improve your health. Achieve your goals.

You do not have to go through difficult times alone, you do not have to endlessly repeat unhealthy patterns; you can change your life. Therapy can be brief and targeted with a pragmatic approach or longer to explore the way you function and experience your environment.

Therapy enables you to explore, clarify your issues and find solutions whilst increasing your self-awareness and build better coping mechanisms. It is helpful in times of grief, depression, relationship problems and circumstances leading to stress or isolation, whether in your professional or private life.

 Hypnosis is nowadays widely used to achieve goals and relieve anxiety. As well as deeply relaxing, hypnosis by a psychotherapist can help you free yourself in an efficient and natural way from your unhealthy habits, addictions, phobias, somatic issues, and support you in setting and achieving new goals, etc.

Hypnotherapy is a professional therapeutic alliance between client and therapist where the client is in control at all times. Hypnotherapy promotes positive and beneficial enhancements within a moral and ethical framework. 

For more information, visit or call 07787 168288.


Karyn Fletcher

Are you considering changing direction, improving how you see your life right now or transform what you do or how you are? The services of a coach or psychotherapist can bring the needed support to help you build your inner resources, enhance your range of tools and choices.

With 30 years of experience Karyn can help you explore and discover the road to finding solutions for your well-being.

For a free consultation you can call her on 07721 312 377.

For more information, go to Karyn Fletcher's Web Page.


Magali Buhrer

Gestalt therapy : an existential and humanistic psychotherapy, which focuses on relationships.

How do we relate to others ? How do we communicate with them ? This is something that we need to know, as we interact daily with other people and groups, as well as with ourselves and our environment.

The Gestalt approach helps to explain both the « why » and the « how » of our relationship patterns and how we interact with others, as well as helping you to experiment with different ways of doing so.

It is what emerges between the client and therapist during their sessions that is at the heart of the therapy. The therapist creates a trusting environment in which to welcome what is progressively revealed. Mouvement, drawings and role plays can then be used to help explore the emerging issues further.

Sometimes our thoughts are what have us repeating the same behavioural patterns. In order to remedy this,  Magali Buhrer often works with the body and movement as they are useful tools in understanding who we are and why we act the way we do, as well as helping us to be more creative and in tune with ourselves.

For more information, go to, or call her on 077 67 67 34 31.

Dispensaire Français


Located in Hammersmith, in the heart of London, the Dispensaire Francais (French surgery) offers to French and Francophone people in difficulty (those who are not yet on an NHS list, who have trouble communicating in English and/or have no private medical insurance) consultations with General Practitioners and specialists in Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, ENT, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Psychology and Psychiatry. Consultations are given by French speaking consultants from London hospitals, as well as by French doctors living in London.



Consultations are by appointment only.

For more information please visit their website

Or call them on 020 8222 8822



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