For those who have irrational fears or behaviours
Get out of your mind and into your life
My name is Maria Alda Gomez Otero, but everyone calls me Alda. Originally from Spain, I spent most of my adult life living in other countries: France, Portugal, Ireland and since 2014 I have my permanent residence in Devon (UK). Change, transitions, languages and valuing differences have been a constant in my life. I always loved the exotic sounds of foreign languages, and meeting people who were different to the norm, maybe because I often felt a bit different myself. I have often been described as a free spirit, warm, trustworthy and caring. When I made my transition to becoming a counsellor, many of my friends nodded in agreement: "yes, that is what you were meant to be" they seemed to agree.
I hold a Master’s degree in counselling and psychotherapy obtained in one of the most prestigious centres in Ireland and I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). I offer counselling in Exeter and Teignmouth.
My background in languages makes it possible for me to work as a counsellor in English, Spanish and French.
Specialising in Anxiety & Trauma
Counselling for Anxiety in Exeter
Trauma Counselling in Exeter
Anxiety, including panic attacks, is a reaction of your nervous system. Your mind gets thousands of thoughts, and they are usually negative ones, bringing you to imaginary or recalled situations that you may be very fearful of. Your mind might get triggered by common things, such as flying, a look, smells, being outdoors or even your own thoughts, and you might start avoiding places or situations or create rituals to calm you down.
At those times, you feel as if you have lost control of yourself, and this can be a very scary feeling, which may trigger you even more. Counselling for anxiety can help you get back control of your life by becoming more present to what triggers your anxiety. You will then find ways to calm down your nervous system during those difficult times. While starting to work in your anxiety, you may notice that trauma counselling will be needed, as most anxiety is a result of unprocessed trauma. Both can be done in combination so that you can understand what is happening to you and how to manage it and resolve it.
It will take time and commitment, as you need to change your body patterns of over-activation, but it is not only possible, but also very fulfilling and rewarding. You will realise that this activation has been your best solution to survive and you will start understanding yourself better. Counselling for anxiety can help you live a calmer and more relaxed life, which will increase your spontaneity and joy.
Trauma can take many different shapes and forms. A car accident, divorce, the death of a loved one, an operation as a child, abusive or absent parents, or sexual assault are all examples of trauma.
You receive a shock in the past and your body reacts to triggers in the present as if facing the same danger now. The area of the brain that makes sense of things, giving meanings to your reality, is inactive during danger, directing all its energy to escaping dangers in order to survive. As a result, you may not remember what happened to you in the past, but you will remember feelings or sensations (shame, fear, a look, a smell). They belong to your past, but you will feel as if they are real now because your brain has not stored these memories yet. Because they may be just feelings (fear) or sensations (racing heart) without a narrative, they can be very distressing and you may think you are going mad.
Trauma counselling will help you become more aware of what is triggering you and differentiate what belongs to the present and the past. You will gain awareness of what is happening to you and take control over your reactions to your triggers.
Trauma counselling can become an exercise of self-exploration and discovery, helping you to move forward in your life.