Irena at Embracing Our Choices
Psychotherapy, Counselling and Life Coaching
I value the relationships I form with each client and believe that goes a long way in allowing me to help you improve your life. I can help you make better life choices or accept the aspects of your life that you cannot change. Such difficulties often underlie feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.
Having started extensive training in 2002, I started seeing clients in 2005 and have been fully qualified in the UK to practice psychotherapy since 2009 and have been certified as a Life Coach in the US since 2016.
I have opened up extra slots, when I don't normally work, to help with issues arising from the COVID-19 situation. Email me on I to find out how I can help you today or alternatively book directly using the Book Online facility.
If you cannot find a slot that suits you, please do email me and we can see if we can find something that works for both of us.
Background, Approach and Services
I’ve been practicing psychotherapy seeing clients since 2005, constantly developing and advancing my skills and techniques. I offer several services and specialized techniques dependent on your circumstances. Or you may feel that Life Coaching is more appropriate for you.
Get in touch by emailing Irena@EmbracingOurChoices.com to learn more about the ways in which I can help you.
My professional training is existential/philosophical. I have a UK Master's degree in Existential Psychotherapy & Counselling. I have a US Life Coach (ICF accredited) certification that is recognised internationally. I have more than 15 years’ experience working with young people and adults in the UK National Health Service, as well as in my private practice. I also work as a certificated life coach privately. I have completed additional training in family bereavement and in couples/relationship therapy (where I am particularly interested in helping two people communicate better).
Whilst I have many years of experience working with a broad range of life problems and dilemmas, I have found myself developing in-depth expertise in helping adults navigate unexpected and profound life changes, covering...
expatriates changing home country and lifestyle
professionals dealing with career change or redundancy
couples experiencing separation and divorce
those losing a loved one
those struggling with their health
... and simply those whose life has lost meaning for no obvious reason.
Throughout my work with you, I will actively observe and work within the Code of Ethics and Practice of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the Life Coach Institute of Orange County Code of Ethics as appropriate.
I am an accredited and registered member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). My registration number is 2011161872.
I am not affiliated to any organisation or any specific religious faith. My approach is inclusive of all diversity, spirituality and all religious beliefs and non-beliefs.
First, I will help you clarify what is making your life difficult to such an extent that you started looking for psychotherapy. I understand that many people look for psychotherapy reluctantly and as a last resort. Some people feel ashamed to admit that they need help. They worry that they will experience social stigma. They also worry that coming to psychotherapy means that there is something wrong with them, maybe even that 'they are mad'. I believe that it does not have to be this way. I try to help you see that your problems, whatever they may be, are part of the human condition experienced by all of us. Life is difficult and we all need help at times. There is nothing wrong with looking for it. To protect your sensitivities, I ensure that all our work together will be done respectfully, in complete privacy and totally confidentially.
Secondly, I will help you establish what you would like to achieve during psychotherapy. Often we will be returning to what gives meaning to your life and how this can better inform the life choices you make every day. Sample discussion topics are...
What do YOU think gives your life meaning in the context of your physical, familial, social, spiritual, intellectual and financial environment
How to approach life difficulties past or present
How to change your attitude when problems seem set in stone
Dealing with difficult people in your life
How to make good life choices, big and small, and then to learn to run with them and their (at times) unexpected consequences
How to plan and get started with your 'life project', whatever age or life stage.
Thirdly, at the end of a session, I may suggest techniques to help you between sessions. I believe that a lot of psychotherapy 'happens' after the session. I may suggest keeping a brief daily journal; practising internal dialogues; deep breathing exercises; or simply treating yourself with kindness and compassion. None of these techniques are compulsory, but can be dipped into at times of stress or anxiety during the week. For couples, I may suggest 'communication exercises' in gentle, straight talking or using the left-hand column (things unsaid) technique.
I am often asked the difference between psychotherapy and life coaching. Psychotherapy focuses on emotional distress, working with states of mind such as anxiety, depression and stress. A primary objective is to help alleviate these feelings with a view to facilitating life changes that may lessen them altogether. Life Coaching, on the other hand, works with clients who consider themselves to be functioning well in their day to day life, but need help in formulating long term objectives, whether in their career or personal/family life, and strategies in reaching these objectives. I am pleased to have the training and experience to work as both separately.
I have clients around the world which has been made possible with the use of video technology such as Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp. I also work with clients via the text medium such as email, SMS and WhatsApp. (These sessions are subject to the laws and regulations of the country or state where you are situated for the session.)
1-1 Individual Psychotherapy/Counselling sessions (£70 per 50 minute session)
1-1 Life Coaching sessions (£80 per 50 minute session)
Couples Counselling sessions (£100 per 90 minute session)
Weekly or, if appropriate, two weekly sessions
Six Week Marital Difficulties (including Separation and Divorce) Model
My Six Week Marital Difficulties Model may be of interest in order either to rebuild your relationship or to exit it gracefully. Whilst intended for couples, it can also be used in One to One Counselling to help you resolve difficulties in trying to find a successful relationship or to exit a failing relationship (including negotiating a settlement and access arrangements).
The six week model is structured as the following sessions:
Introduction and Goal Setting/Finding Our Common Goal
Pinpointing Different Communication Styles and Learning How to Speak the Same Negotiating Language
How to Let Go of Past Grievances
How to Leave Conflict on the Sideline
Review of Our Common Goals
How to Accept Unresolved Issues Amicably
Why six weeks? The end of the sixth week provides a cut off point and the week by week programme sets out clearly the subject to be tackled in each session. This can be helpful particularly if your current perception of Couples Counselling is that it can be woolly and unfocussed. Of course the six week time limit and the specified session subjects can be altered to suit your particular circumstances. You may find that the very process of the two of you agreeing on the six week programme can provide insights into how your other negotiations might be carried out successfully.
I am offering a 10% discount if you pay in advance for the six sessions as a block booking.
Group Workshops available on application, e.g. stress management; dealing with anxiety; better communication with our loved ones
Life Coaching packages also available, payable in advance
£225 for set of 3 sessions (£75 per 50 minute session)
£350 for set of 5 sessions (£70 per 50 minute session)
£650 for set of 10 sessions (£65 per 50 minute session)
Please contact me directly on to arrange these
Peer Supervision Groups available for Psychotherapists and Counsellors
Maximum of 4 psychotherapists and/or counsellors per session
Meet monthly on line using Zoom
No charge for the session save for a £10 per person per session administration fee
Please contact me directly on for availability
All contact, discussions and sessions are in confidence
Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp Psychotherapy and Life Coaching video sessions are especially relevant at this time of self isolation
Email/SMS/WhatsApp Psychotherapy and Life Coaching text sessions are also available at discounted rates
Flexible arrangements (including spot coaching) are possible
Sliding Scale of Hourly Rates with discounts for the unemployed, the retired and students
Introductory Session available at short notice for 30 minutes at 50% discount
Czech language also fluently spoken and written