My name is Maria Alda Gomez Otero, and most people call me Alda. I was born and raised in northern Spain, and 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).
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 dedicated the first part of my working life to the study and exploration of foreign languages and lands, and then a huge emptiness and disillusion about the world shook me to the core, as if I couldn't feel anything anymore.
Being a natural optimistic, this took me by surprise. I lacked meaning and direction. I was constantly in my head and I had a lot of negative self-talk. One day, I discovered tai chi and qigong, mindful moving meditation exercises originating in China, which helped me become more grounded and calm, more present in my life. I also sought the help of skilled psychotherapists who helped me become more confident and kind to myself. Over the years, my life got better than I ever expected.
Having discovered these two complementary therapies to improve my wellbeing, I trained intensely in both (psychotherapy and tai chi/qigong) in order to offer them to others who may need direction, meaning, and self-acceptance.
I believe most of us in our lives gravitate between fear and love. When you become a slave of fear, you suffer; when you can find love, you thrive. Therapy can help you start accepting yourself fully, experiencing self-love. When you love yourself, it is easier to love everything around you. I am constantly amazed at the love that exists in the world if we know how to look with the right lenses. My wish is that I can help more and more people to find the right lenses in their lives so that they can see it with the lenses of love and acceptance. My ultimate wish is that my work will help transform my client's lives and, in turn, their lives will help transform many other lives, and, as a butterfly effect, we can all make a difference in the world. It sounds like a beautiful plan, don't you think?
2014 - Present - Private Practice - Counsellor & Psychotherapist (Online, Teignmouth and Exeter)
2015 - 2017 Palace Gate Counselling Services - Counsellor (Exeter)
2012 - 2014 Private Practice - Counsellor & Psychotherapist (Incl. Spanish speaking clients.)
2012 - 2014 Spirasi - Psychotherapist for survivors of torture (Incl. French speaking African clients.)
2011 - 2012 Living Life Counselling Services - Psychotherapist
2010 - 2011 Open Heart House - Counsellor for HIV+ clients
Are you ready to start making changes?
Anxiety, depression, unresolved grief, trauma, sexual abuse, loss, divorce, lack of self-esteem, identity, living abroad, isolation, social phobia, panic attacks, career questioning
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Counselling & Psychotherapy
2012 Master's Degree in Psychotherapy (Dublin Business School - Dublin, Ireland)
2010 Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy (Dublin Business School - Dublin, Ireland)
2019 Accredited Certified EFT Practitioner (Glastonbury, UK)
2010 Qualified Tai chi & Qigong Instructor (Manchester, UK)
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Trauma & Anxiety
Working with Complex Trauma and Dissociation with Janina Fisher.
Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma with Janina Fisher.
Rewind Technique with David Muss.
Dealing with Distress: Working with Self-harm and Suicide with Carolyn Spring.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (Level 1 and 2) with Rowena Beaumont.
PTSD & Attachment Theory with Felicity de Zulueta.
Certificate in Sandtray Therapy with Lindsey Talbott.
Personal experience of Family Constellations, Dance Movement Therapy, Movement Medicine & Biodanza.
Working Well With LGBT+ Clients with Max Cohen.
Diversity with Colin Lago and Divine Charura.
Constantly training and working on myself, it is impossible to name all the courses I have done over the years.
Are you a counsellor/ counselling student?
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Accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP) (Accred)
Accredited Certified EFT Practitioner with Emotional Freedom Techniques International (EFTi).
A Therapeutic Exploration of Brexit, WAC Now, Spring Issue 03, 2019, Westcountry Association for Counselling
The need for training in multicultural counselling, WAC Now, Spring 2015, Westcountry Association for Counselling
Interpreters Working in Psychotherapy with Asylum Seekers: Vicarious Trauma and Vicarious Posttraumatic Growth, A Gathering of Psychotherapists.... 21 years on, 2013, Ireland, https://iahip.org/main_content/uploads/2014/09/IAHIP-Conference-2013_2014.pdf
Vicarious trauma and posttraumatic growth : a study of how interpreters working in psychotherapy are impacted by their work, Master's Theses, Dublin Business School, 2012, Ireland, https://esource.dbs.ie/handle/10788/480