Dr. Nigel Smaller Dprof BSc. Dip (Couns) UKCP
What you might want to know about me…
Firstly, I am qualified and accredited with several thousand client hours of experience. This is important but only the foundation of what you need to know before you choose a coach or therapist. Below is an attempt to explain a bit more about me and my approach. I hope it helps but if you want to know more I’d be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you might have.
With an interest in both gestalt therapy and existential philosophy and a corporate background, my approach has a practical, philosophical feel whilst being grounded in experience too. Balancing listening and empathy with challenge and creative but authentic expression is part of the art of being a coach/therapist and is what I would seek from a similar professional myself.
Prior to this career, I had over 20 years in technical, commercial and consulting roles and have experienced ’real-world’ pressures: competition, office politics, aggressive targets, presentation anxiety and the other varied challenges of that arena.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am an accredited member of the UKCP. For those who are not aware – and most members of the public have no need to be – the UKCP requires a postgraduate level of training lasting about 4-5 years and is the most respected and rigorous psychotherapy professional body in the UK. I maintain a continuous journey of supplementary training workshops to support and aid my work and personal development.
Whilst training is an ongoing aspect of this profession, some notable milestones include training in hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), gestalt counselling, organisational coaching, CBT and existential psychotherapy. I now integrate my skills and knowledge into a pluralistic approach with gestalt and existential thinking at the heart of my work. For more information see my Psychotherapy/Counselling page.
In addition to this, I am the technical editor of the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy (www.EJQRP.org) and hold the following qualifications:
- Doctorate (DProf) in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling (from the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
- Diploma in Gestalt Counselling (from The Gestalt Centre)
- Diploma in Organisational Gestalt (from Metanoia)
- NLP Practitioner Certificate
- Certificate in Integrative Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy
- Certificate in Counselling Skills (Foundation)
- In addition I am trained in EMDR and BLAST – two forms of eye movement therapy for the rapid reduction of traumatic symptoms.
My first degree was in Mathematics and Computer Science from Brunel University.
Human life is paradoxical and very challenging at times. No matter what your circumstances, no one escapes this simple premise and certainly not me. As a middle aged man who has survived his own share of confusion and uncertainty in this ever-changing and unpredictable world, I am by far perfect despite years of personal development. Rather, I am my own project, continuously working to align with nature and it’s complex contradictions. For example, the above list of qualifications and career details obscure the struggle through bereavement and a Brixton comprehensive during the 1980s riots. My school was bottom of Lambeth’s league tables in all categories (apart from truancy – apparently we were good at that!). My achievements and qualifications also obscure the personal tragedies, the losses, the health challenges, the anxieties and the perpetual striving to transcend being thrown into a situation and context, certain aspects of which I might not have chosen, had I a choice. These hurdles are a part of human existence. We struggle through life not just because life routinely presents us with difficulties but because we believe it shouldn’t be and imagine we can control the chaos, uncertainty and pain of existence through will power and acquisitions (of accolades, friends, objects, money, beauty, etc). Therapists are humans too and just as all humans breathe air to survive all coaches/therapists must face the anxieties of their existence each day also. Maybe it’s that I own my struggle that I can be of some service to others – not because I have reached some Utopian, elevated position in life where these things don’t bother me. If enlightenment exists, perhaps it begins by becoming friends with this paradoxical view of human nature.
Further to this, my formal qualifications fail to give credit to the amazing people I have had the pleasure to meet and who have shaped how I am in the world more than any qualification or workshop. This includes countless brave individuals who have contacted me, taken risks along a journey of self discovery and transformed their lives and mine in ways hitherto unimaginable. You know who you are and I thank you.