Counsellor East London - Sonia

Counsellor East London – Sonia

Sonia T. Piergiovanni Counselling

About me

I am a qualified integrative counsellor based in East London. As a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), I work within their Code of Ethics.  My core training is in Person-Centred Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

I offer short and long term counselling to adults and adolescents.

Having grown up in Italy in a bilingual environment, I provide sessions in both English and Italian.

My approach

I believe that only when you are able to own the parts of your self that you dislike or find problematic you will be able to change them. A healthy sense of self-acceptance requires freeing oneself from one’s conditioning and embracing forgiveness of self and others.

Counselling is a two way street: it involves personal development and awareness on the part of both the client and the counsellor to be effective. I work in a warm and non-judgmental manner building a positive, genuine and safe therapeutic relationship, which will allow you to disclose your thoughts and feelings.

I will create the necessary conditions for you to engage in a meaningful self-exploration of your emotions, beliefs and behaviours, encouraging you to build upon your personal strengths. I will assist you in your growth process, enabling you to cope with current and future problems.

While you are responsible for making changes in your life, together we can explore your unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood and negative thoughts and perceptions that may be causing distress.

Identifying these patterns will help you move forward toward self-knowledge and positive change to a more fulfilling life. The exploration of emotions formed through your childhood attachments can reveal much about how you live and perceive your life today.

We will focus on the understanding of your past, on being present in the ‘here and now,’ and on building the future, so that all aspects of your experience are examined, honoured and taken care of.

Initial consultation

The initial consultation is our opportunity to decide if the relationship is a fit and we both feel we will be able to work together effectively.

During our first appointment we will explore what you expect to achieve from counselling and discuss realistic time frames for reaching your goals, and agree on how you will measure your progress.

Sessions are usually at the same time, every week.

Training, qualifications & experience

  • Post-Qualification clinical training in adolescent psychotherapy. The Society of Analytical Psychology – London, UK
  • Certificate of Proficiency. BACP – London, UK
  • Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (TC-L4). ABC Awards – London, UK
  • BA (Hons) in Humanities (Medical Anthropology). University of Perugia – Italy
  • Autism and Asperger Syndrome Training (The 5P Approach). Linda Miller – London, UK
  • Domestic Violence Training. Solace Women’s Aid – London, UK
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I am attending a foundation course in Jungian and Post–Jungian concepts with the British Psychotherapy Foundation.

I undertake ongoing professional and personal development as part of my commitment to the BACP to build upon my existing skills. For example, I attend training and conferences and take part in supervision and peer supervision sessions to be able to provide optimal treatment.

I have experience working with children and young people as a SEN LSA and school counsellor.

I volunteer at the charitable organisation Positive Tools 4 Life.

I work with a variety of issues, such as:


Bereavement and Loss

Building Confidence & Self-esteem



Domestic Violence

Eating Disorders

Figuring out life directions

Life changes or transitions


Relationship difficulties


I offer a free of charge initial consultation to help you get started.Sonia T. P. Counselling

Therapy session – £45 (off peak commencing before 6pm/post 2pm Saturdays) – £50 (peak). Each session is 50 minutes.

Please note, as of September 2018, the following cancellation / missed appointment policy is in effect:

A full 24 hours notice is required for cancelling appointments. Clients who cancel with less than 24 hrs before your appointment time are billed for the full cost of their scheduled session. If you are uncertain when your next appointment is, please contact meSonia T. P. Counselling.

I am currently unable to accept payment by credit card.

Contact & Locations

Forest Therapy Centre, 75 Station Passage, South Woodford, London E18 1JL

Lily House, 11 The Shrubberies, George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1BD


Great video about ‘Parental Reflective Functioning’ and how it impacts on children’s emotional and behavioural wellbeing. is something we hear parents say a lot. Josh Harwood, Clinical Psychologist from the Centre for Parent and Child Support talks about an important area o…
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My wonderful professor Alessandra Cavalli. Before I started my ‘Transitions: Adolescence into Adulthood’ training course at the SAP, I met Alessandra at various conferences and I came to appreciate not only her intelligence and knowledge, but also her kindness and intellectual humility (a true mark of a great person). She is a big inspiration for me! ‘Childhood continuous becoming or the experience of becoming into being’ See MoreSee Less

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The job of a therapist is to do a deep-dive into a patient’s past traumas, unconscious conflicts and family history, in order to understand their current beliefs, feelings and behaviors that may block them in their current life. See MoreSee Less

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This comment from Nancy McWilliams is very much in line with what I think.

Psychotherapy in a Pandemic

Nancy McWilliams

April 5, 2020

I had hoped to be in Sicily last month, talking with Italian colleagues about psychotherapy for patients diagnosed with personality disorders. Instead, I find myself quarantined in my home in the United States, “meeting” with my own patients via telephone and internet. Although it is possible to continue being therapeutic under these circumstances, it is also demanding. Electronic connection has some positives – for example, patients have shown me their living spaces, babies, dogs, and other parts of their lives that I have only heard about previously – but it is also oddly tiring to stare at a screen most of the day. My colleagues are reporting the same exhaustion I feel in response to the special demands of teletherapy.

And under these circumstances psychotherapy itself feels different. Whatever their original reason for seeking treatment, the main topic my patients talk about is the coronavirus. Every session begins with inquiries about my health and reports of their physical status and the condition of people they care about. Whereas previously, I might have responded to questions about my own health with inquiries about the patient’s curiosity, I now feel it is a matter of elemental courtesy to tell the patient how I am. Without a sense of safety that I remain okay, they cannot move on to other topics. The coronavirus has made my work feel more conversational, more intimate, more revealing of the realistic interdependencies between me and my patients.

The hardest thing for me to deal with psychologically has been the fact that dread of the coronavirus is not neurotic anxiety, and grief about its damage is not neurotic depression. I can help patients when realistic fear and loss are complicated by their personal triggers and vulnerabilities, but I cannot reduce emotional pain that is grounded in reality. Instead, I bear witness to realistic fear and overwhelming grief. Especially for those who have felt that others cannot stand to hear what they are feeling, this provides some consolation. I try also to give my patients the best information I have about keeping themselves safe. For realistic fears, realistic self-protective measures are the best “treatment.”

Clinical experience has taught me that that one of the deepest fantasies of all human beings is the belief that somewhere there is an omnipotent, omniscient Other who can fix things. The first time I became aware of the power of this fantasy was when my two-year-old daughter had a full-scale tantrum because I would not make it stop raining. Some patients have a life-long emotional template of trying to get an imagined powerful mother to see how much they are suffering, because presumably then, she will intervene and save them. They bring that template to psychotherapy and spend session after session elaborating their pain, resisting a therapist’s efforts to help them see that their wish for an ideal parent must be relinquished and grieved so that they can enjoy the imperfect people and incomplete satisfactions of reality. In therapists, the counterpart of this fantasy, which has often propelled us into our profession, involves being an omnipotent rescuer who can bring perfect mental health to every patient. Over our careers, if we do not temper this fantasy, we will be destructively self-critical, frustrated, and unable to take pride in the help we realistically offer.

It is fundamentally terrifying that the world is not in the hands of benevolent, superior others, but is run by flawed, fragile human beings like us. In any ambitious psychotherapy, patient and clinician confront this reality both cognitively and emotionally. In a pandemic, this process moves to center stage as both parties are tempted to seek solace in fantasies of depending on a perfect parent. Psychotherapy involves facing hard truths. Like therapists on a grand scale, leaders who perceive and tell the truth inspire better responses to disasters than those who resist reality, try to maintain fantasies of themselves as omnipotent, and reassure the public with lies.

All that we can do as therapists, I think, no matter how our respective countries are dealing with COVID-19, is to be honest about how emotionally difficult things are right now. The main comfort we can offer to patients, even in a time of quarantine, is an intimate connection with someone who refrains from defensive distortions of a frightening, painful reality. This service does not come close to matching our fantasies of being omnipotent saviors, but it is still a precious thing.
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