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How I work

Laura Shtaingos

Insight, compassion and gentle challenge


I believe we can all benefit from the support of a compassionate listener as we journey through life. As a counsellor, I work in an integrative way, using concepts from cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt), humanistic, and psychodynamic ways of thinking.


I am committed to running an anti-oppressive practice and do my best to be welcoming of all people, however they identify and whatever their history, and I welcome exploration of my blind spots. I do regular additional training in areas such as perinatal mental health, trauma, mindfulness and compassion. My qualifications are listed at the bottom of this page.


My view is that there are always reasons for how we are feeling, though they may not always be obvious. I believe that with support and understanding, all of us have within us the capacity to make changes in our lives and feel better. 

In Therapy with Me


I offer weekly counselling for individuals in Sevenoaks or online. The first session is 60 minutes long which gives us time to get to know each other. I will explain how therapy works and ask you some questions about your history and what brings you to therapy.  Subsequent sessions are generally once a week for 50 minutes. 

Starting therapy

When I first meet a new client, we take some time to get to know each other and I will listen to how you are feeling and your story of how you got to where you are today. Many of my clients benefit greatly from the relief of sharing their story. I will be listening here for signs of trauma too and will suggest specific treatments if I believe they might help. You can also read here about how I work with Postnatal Depression.


In the first few weeks of therapy, many of my clients gain a lot of insight into their struggles and the regular time for reflection helps them identify immediate changes which enable them to feel calmer and more able to cope. For some clients, what they have learned at this stage is enough and they will leave, always knowing they can come back if they need.


Longer term

For other clients, there is a desire to learn and change more. As therapy progresses, themes often emerge and this insight can bring new understanding of what has happened in the past and what might be blocking you in the present. As a client this may involve grieving for losses in our past or accepting certain decisions we may have made. 

At this stage many of my clients start to experiment with new ways of acting in their life and relationships. We might work more practically experimenting with various ways of responding to situations, and I will gently challenge you to become aware of your patterns. As a client it can be a frustrating stage, being aware of what you want to change but struggling against a lifetime (and often generations!) of habits. Sometimes when we change, it can also be difficult for those close to us to accept. Over time these changes tend to settle, and clients can move on to other areas they would like to work on, and so the process begins again.

Ending therapy

Many of my clients tell me at the end of therapy that what they expected from me was someone who was going to tell them where they're going wrong in their life and what they need to do to fix things... but what they got from therapy was very different. They got someone who gave them space to feel, and empowered them to find their own unique way forwards. 

The unique fit between therapist and client is one of the most important parts of therapy, and the only way to know if things will work is to try it out. 

My qualifications and registrations

Pile Of Books

Full Professional Insurance

Oxygen (part of Marsh Ltd)

I have a Professional Liability Insurance Policy with Oxygen Insurance covering me for counselling activities.

Diploma in Integrative Counselling

Inter Psyche Institute

1 year Certificate and 2 year Diploma (2017-2020), accredited by British Association of Counsellor and Psychotherapists

Professional Membership and Accreditation

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

I am registered with BACP which ensures I practice to a high ethical standard. Further, I am a BACP Accredited counsellor which means that my practice has met their higher standards of competence and ethics.

Enhanced DBS check certificate

Disclosure and Barring Service

The highest level of criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service, showing my suitability to work with vulnerable people.

Ongoing training

Various courses

I am an avid learner and enjoy all sorts of further reading and training. My current interests are in postnatal support, trauma, the mind-body connection, and compassion therapy.

Some of the recent courses I have completed:

  • The Foundation for Infant Loss Training Course (2021)

  • Traumatic Birth Recovery 3-step Rewind (2021)

  • Your Birthright - Postnatal mental health: How to support
    families after birth (2022)

  • Your Birthright - Birth Debrief: Why debrief can do harm and
    how to actually help (2022)

  • Lyndsey Hookway - Holistic Sleep Support (2023)

Other experience and qualifications

Charity Co-Founder and Director

Baby Umbrella

I co-founded local charity Baby Umbrella in 2020 to support breastfeeding and early parenting in West Kent, and currently work there part time as Operations, Finance and Marketing Lead.

Previous work experience

Business development and finance

Prior to training as a counsellor, I worked in Business Development, Consulting and Finance for 9 years.

NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor

NCT/ University of Worcester

2 year part time qualification (2015-2016)

Economics and Management BA (Hons)

University of Oxford

3 year full time qualification (2000-2003)

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