My name is Matt Hancocks and I am a practising counselling psychologist and psychotherapist based in Cumbria.(Previously Harrogate & Ripon Area).
You have arrived here, I suspect, because you feel that you have somehow lost your way in life. This can be for many complex and different reasons, but you don't have to be on your own with it. The world is becoming an increasingly complex, dynamic and demanding place to be, so sometimes taking some time out could benefit you enormously. An hour a week could help you:
... to explore your thoughts and feelings
... to get back on a front foot again
....create space to reflect on your life
....have some time and support to come to terms with things in your life that have and still affect you, the quality of your life and your relationships
.....make sense of the past, live more in the present and create hope for the future.
Talking to a counsellor and psychotherapist like myself can be the first step towards moving your life forwards.
I am committed to providing counselling and psychotherapy in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment. I work outdoors from March to October, supplemented by video between sessions and in the darker months.
Although a passionate advocate for increased mental health service capability and increased access to psychotherapy in the region, many clients find NHS provision involves long waits or doesn't suit their needs. To this end I do have a flexible fee system which is based on a client's incomes, in order to make this type of service available to as many as possible.
I work with individuals on an open-ended basis or for an agreed time period, with the aim of enabling you to enhance your life and to live it more fully. I've had some clients come to work with me on specific issues for 6 to 8 weeks, whilst other have stayed working with me on complex issues for a few years. What ever brings you to therapy, it can be a really beneficial experience whether is is for a short or long time.
I offer an exploratory session at a reduced price, as I believe it is important that we both feel we can work together and it allows you to get a sense of me and me of you. As a counsellor and psychotherapist operating in Harrogate, I do know many other harrogate based counsellors and psychotherapist and therefore can refer you on if between us we don't feel we can work together, or availability and timing does not suit.
I specialise in issues around sexuality and trauma, as well as the psychology of men. I do however see women as well.
I am experienced in helping clients who have experienced difficulties with :
Often I am asked what can people expect from therapy. The answer is of course unique to each person. However, I do believe it creates a space for people to understand their past, experience being in the present more, and have a sense of hope for their future.
Please feel free to email me if you have any specific questions. Also have a look at my blog and see my latest thoughts -
Men, Therapy & Language
One of the challenges confronting men coming to therapy (if they come at all!), is knowing what to expect and what the experience will be like. I’ve just come back from a conference on Male Psychology, where some really amazing work with Canadian Military Veterans was show-cased. These are guys who have seen some of the horrors of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and have been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The work was presented by Professor Marv Westwood, who has been working with the Canadian Military as well as the Australian Military on something called the Veterans Transition Programme – working with Veterans transitioning back to civilian life. The work, video footage and case studies were very moving, but more importantly were the results – truly amazing. The impact this work had, 1-to-1s, group work, etc. is inspiring.
My main take-away though was the importance of language, especially for men displaying typically traditional forms of masculinity. Using language, expressions, labels etc. that are male friendly, not shaming, and ones that don’t undermine “typical masculine norms”, e.g. it’s not “crying” but “releasing”, that it is a “fight” or “battle” with the depression, etc. This seemed to be very important to these men. It is this point that I think is important to men in therapy as well!
My sense of therapy with men is to help them make sense of the past, live in the present and have hope for the future, in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them and are gendered appropriately.
Below is some of the emerging theory, thought leadership, and perspectives on male therapy (if some of the academic material interests you).
A number of researchers (Kinselica, Engler-Carlson, and Fisher, 2008; Kiselica, Engler-Carlson, and Horne, 2008; Kinselica, & Englar-Carlson, 2010) have defined what they believe is a more positive psychology, positive masculinity model of psychotherapy with men and boys. This is based on their study, consistent with a positive psychology perspective, of what they consider to be male strengths. They suggest that promoting the positive aspects of traditional masculinity can enhance our understanding of, and clinical work with, boys and men. (Kinselica, & Englar-Carlson, 2010). They list 10 key strengths in their framework. These are:
Male relational styles – the way men and boys develop friendships and intimacy with each other through shared activities e.g. sport, gaming, projects etc. (Buhrmester, 1996; McNelles & Connolly, 1999; Clinchy & Zimmerman, 1985; Surrey, 1985; Kiselica, 2001, 2003a, 2003b, 2006.).
Male ways of caring – how men are raised to protect their loved ones and friends (Kiselica, et al 2008a; Kinselica, & Englar-Carlson, 2010), and their high levels of “action empathy” (Levant, 1995).
Generative fatherhood – the way fathers respond to the developmental needs of boys in a positive, emotional, educational, interlectual, social and affirmative way (Dollahite & Hawkins, 1998; Kiselica, 2008).
Male self-reliance – the way men & boys are socialised to use their own resources to solve their problems (Levant, 1995), yet considers the input of others (e.g. coaching, mentoring) as well as their needs (Kiselica, et al 2008b).
The worker/provider tradition of men – the way men find meaning and purpose in work and their role as providers (Skovholt, 1990; Bernard, 1981; Christianson & Palkovitz, 2001; Loscocco, 2007) and its centrality to male identity and self-esteem (Axelrod, 201; Heppner & Heppner, 2001).
Male courage, daring and risk-taking – the courage men and boys “muster while taking worthwhile risks – such as facing peril to protect others, completing dangerous but necessary jobs, or pushing themselves to their limits during athletic competitions” (Kinselica, Englar-Carlson, 2010).
The group orientation of boys and men – the way males band together to achieve a common purpose and participate and value groups, “which can provide them with important sources of identify and community (Kiselica, 2008b).
The humanitarian service of fraternal organisations – this includes involvement in male service organisations which seems more US centric, and has no direct parallels, however the rotary club, round-table, sport clubs etc. may fit this perspective within a UK context.
Men’s use of humour – “Many men use humour as a vehicle to attain intimacy” (Kinselica, &Englar-Carlson, 2010), have fun, reduce tension, stress and manage conflicts (Kiselica, 2001, 2010)
Male heroism – an age old exemplar of one of the positive qualities of traditional masculinity (Kiselica, 2003b).
Kiselica, et al (2008b), state that these 10 overlapping male strengths are meant to representative rather than an exhaustive list.
Our challenge as male therapists is to maximise therapy for men, if these help, let’s use them.