Eleanor Bigden logo

Finding freedom and purpose

Helping people free themselves from struggles and gain the tools to thrive is what I’m passionate about. I have 20 years’ experience as a therapist, helping people gain strength, skill and insight in the midst of challenges. My specialist training and personal style is focused on encouraging, practical and creative teamwork.
I’ve found that bringing together Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, EMDR, coaching and Experiential, Mindfulness based approaches really brings out the best in people. It helps swift progress, with immediate and long-term benefits.
I believe in pursuing effective results and supporting your whole wellbeing. I can help you develop this healthy balance for yourself.

Difficulties I can help you with


Over the years, I have focused my attention on empowering people to live with greater vitality, wisdom and freedom.
I have also built up specialist skills in the following areas:

Overcoming struggles
  • overcoming depression, procrastination and low drive

  • handling stress, anxiety, anger and mood swings healthily

  • overcoming panic, worry and difficulty sleeping

  • freedom from unhelpful habits, addictions, OCD, perfectionism

  • transforming self identity, body image, weight and sexual issues

  • healing the pain of grief, guilt, trauma and betrayal

  • resolving inner conflict and conflict with others

  • —finding realistic solutions to complex issues

Helping people thrive
  • turning aims, ideas, hopes and goals into successful reality

  • building confidence, authenticity and self esteem

  • building strength and resilience in the midst of challenges

  • adapting to life changes and turning points with flexibility and self care

  • navigating complex situations with expanded awareness and skill

  • building deeper connection, presence, trust and intimacy

  • enhancing effective communication, empathy and respectful assertiveness

  • —connecting to a deeper sense of harmony, happiness and peace

My approach is to work as a creative and collaborative team with all my clients. Listening to feedback, I’m delighted that people find working with me to be very encouraging, practical, and down to earth. I like helping people really DO what matters – not just talk about it!

CBT approaches & why they work well

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an umbrella term for several approaches that have a very strong basis in up-to-the-minute research, such as:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT for short)

  • Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT)

  • Mindfulness Based CBT (MBCBT)

  • Behavioural Activation (BA)

  • Schema Therapy

  • Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)                                            (to name just a few I have trained in!)


All models under the CBT umbrella have developed out of evidence about what really works to help people positively change, adapt and move forward.

The different approaches all have different strategies, techniques and key points of focus to offer you. Where they all unite is that they are all designed to help you develop the necessary tools and core skills to constructively respond to the challenges you’re facing, and to achieve greater wellbeing throughout your life. They are all specifically aimed at helping you in three key areas:

  • develop helpful thinking towards yourself, others and your life

  • respond constructively to difficult feelings and emotions 

  • take empowered action to approach things differently in daily life

Mainstream CBT, Mindfulness Based CBT and contemporary approaches such as ACT, CFT and FAP all work because they significantly increases your awareness of both unhelpful and helpful patterns of thinking and responding, to help you step out of autopilot and default reactions. They help you make more insightful choices that generate better outcomes for yourself and others.

Outcome studies consistently show that these models highly effective because they are constructive and practical: they help you learn skills and strategies to handle difficult emotions, situations, and relationships in a way that is responsive to real life.

ACT, CFT, FAP, MBCBT, Schema Therapy and specific CBT models to help diagnosed difficulties such as depression, OCD, GAD, health anxiety, social anxiety and insomnia are all designed to be applied strategically and flexibly. This means you can adapt CBT tools to really suit the different contexts, challenges and changes in your life.

And, good news, you know the kind of deep childhood patterns that some people say CBT doesn't address? Well, not true! Schema Therapy and CFT work really well together by help people compassionately address shame, self criticism and survival beliefs that might have been around for as long as you can remember.

Take advantage of a free telephone consultation

Feel free to book an initial 30-minute session to talk through your options in confidence, and ask any questions you like.

> Read more and book a call

As long as you live, keep learning how to live” 

— Seneca

I was skeptical before I started, but working with Eleanor has been a massive U turn to my success. Sounds like overstatement– but that’s what‘s happened.

> Read more from my clients


Examples of CBT, ACT & CFT working

Are thoughts or feelings leading to problems in your confidence, mood, or decision making?

All of us are subject to a regular barrage – and long history – of wildly unrealistic but commonly accepted misinformation about what we should be doing, thinking and feeling! A scientific understanding of body-brain evolution, and how our stress-hormone system works can quickly change that. I've worked with thousands of people who've got into vicious cycles by trying to eradicate and suppress certain thoughts and feelings, simply not having been taught how to work with, through, and around them in a more discerning way.


I really like how all mainstream and contemporary CBT approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focussed Therapy encourage therapists to be transparent about all their methods and share relevant research with their clients. It's brilliant to see the lightbulb effect of a crash course in relational neuroscience for example! Instead of unworkable ideals, I can help you learn methods to look at situations from balanced and expanded perspectives, and to regulate your emotions, moods and stress levels in ways that look after your whole wellbeing.


I use CBT, ACT and CFT to help people cultivate a new attitude towards their body-mind-brain, a new way to "think about thinking", and a new way to respond to their feeling-states. Many people tell me this is a huge relief. I teach people how to develop a stronger, more grounded stance, from which to respond more flexibly and spontaneously to life’s complexity. I can teach you how to spot when your thoughts are beginning to operate through tunnel vision or biased filters, and how to rapidly put on the brakes and shift gear into a clearer, calmer, wiser thinking state. 

Learning to train your ability to focus on what’s actually happening in the present moment, is very helpful in stepping out of repetitive worry, over planning, or over-analysis. You can super-charge literally thousands of hours of thinking time by learning creative strategies, to prevent your mind and brain struggling more than it needs to! 

Have you got stuck in habits that are backfiring on you or affecting your opinion of yourself?

If you’ve got into a compulsive habit such as over-eating, binge drinking, smoking, overspending, drug use, or hair pulling, I can help you gently and precisely gain insight into what's keeping you stuck. CBT, ACT, CFT and Schema Therapy are all really useful models for this. My clients often discover that their habit is in part fuelled by subconscious beliefs and repetitive conditioning, and in part, a quick fix strategy to "override" or "deal with" several unmet needs; the natural need for validation, reassurance, encouragement, celebration, soothing, rest, energy, or a breathing space, for example.

Once we understand your actual needs, I will then help you steadily cultivate more healthy, stable habits for taking attuned and caring action towards yourself and your body. I can help you overcome avoidance, get out of “autopilot”, and into making more purposeful, motivated, meaningful and conscious choices. Learning how to positively keep yourself on track and to quickly re-route when you start heading off course is especially important. Tackling things in a manageable and encouraging way with a concrete plan, and tool kit for handling life’s multi-challenges, is core to success.

I’ve spent many thousands of hours helping people develop personalised strategies to handle tricky feelings, uncertain situations and specific scenarios with new resources rather than old habits. I also use CBT, ACT and CFT to capitalize on the wisdom and confidence you can gain to break out of old patterns, by shining the torch on your inner attributes and developments - so easily overlooked in the fast pace of the day playing out, and the mind’s negative bias towards things not accomplished (…yet!).

Are you getting negatively affected by someone else's attitude or behaviour?

I can use CBT, ACT, CFT and Schema Therapy strategies to help you notice your mind’s assumptions, and separate fact from interpretation. Having a scientific awareness of the natural vulnerabilities and self protection modes we humans share (a lot due to evolution) can usefully balance the minds’ tendency to assume it’s all personal!

Learning rapid self-calming techniques, so you can quickly “drop an anchor” in the face of your own waves of emotion, or someone else’s storm can have huge knock on benefits. I can help you in developing astute and centered ways of responding flexibly and spontaneously as the moment unfolds - rather than reacting in ways that you later regret.

Developing thoughtful insight into the many human needs we all have in common, and how to mediate between your own priorities and other peoples’, are powerful interpersonal skills. I can teach you how to rapidly adopt a place of wise advisor towards yourself and others in difficult dynamics. Rather than just suppressing or acting it out, my approach to CBT, ACT, CFT and Schema Therapy can help you get a happier balance between regulating intense emotion for yourself, as well as building bridges with others - even when you’re both really struggling. This could be to raise difficult issues and make requests for change, with a healthy, hearty style of honesty and assertiveness. I really like helping people increase the chances of win-win, rather than win-loose!

Would you like to enhance the quality of your relationships or communication style?

Taking the time to look at ways to best navigate the unique and multi layered dynamics of each individual relationship is often essential. Better communication and connection in our relationships needs a thoughtful consideration about the specific skills with which to nimbly respond to all those subtle shifts that take place in any human interaction, moment-to-moment. This could include helping you build greater listening skills, openness, and bravery to be genuine, and to demonstrate more active empathy, understanding and appreciation, which has a great bounce back and ripple out when other people feel more cared about and open to reciprocate more fully.

A key challenge for us all is how to develop a mature kind of faith in human nature. Faith that also makes room for the inevitability of change, uncertainty, disappointment and loss, as well as letting go into shared tenderness, joy and compassion. I can help you fine-tune your attentiveness, emotional intelligence and courage to navigate the intricate complexities of being more intimate sexually and emotionally, with others.

Find and express your authentic self. I can help you…
  • stop pretending to be who you aren't, and allow your genuine qualities to come through

  • be more assertive and reliable with your boundaries and commitments: Make your no mean no and your yes mean yes

  • be more realistic: perfectionism can be tweaked without loosing your standards

Build deeper connection with others. I can help you…
  • shift out of defence, into empathic and powerful communication

  • create relationships that feel safe and supportive to yourself and others

  • be more attentive, expressive, and demonstrative‎ to show you care

With Eleanor's techniques I found my confidence began to grow, my anxiety lifted, and I was able to relax into the person that I am. It’s had a major positive impact on my life.

> Read more from my clients

…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are like messengers that show us with marvellous clarity exactly where we’re stuck! Rather than being squeamish and backing away, we could instead perk up and take a jolly helpful look!"

— Pema Chodron

About a year ago, I was in the absolute depths of despair, but thankfully it feels a world away now through a combination of CBT, time to practice a new way of relating to my mind, and Eleanor’s uniquely warm, funny and dedicated care.”

> Read more from my clients


Life long positive impact

Cognitive Behavioural Therapies are recommended as the number one choice for “talking therapy” in national clinical guidelines because extensive research shows that CBT really does work. Not only for swifter outcomes, but also for long term psychological flexibility, to help you adapt to future challenges, and to maintain your wellbeing in the face of inevitable change.

As long as you’re willing to actively participate in your own process of self-help, research demonstrates that CBT approaches are very effective for developing your long term strengths, as follows:

  • resilience to stress

  • emotional regulation

  • recovery after trauma or loss

  • balanced self image

  • problem solving and decision making skills

  • ability to learn from experience more rapidly

  • ability to adapt to change

  • confidence and self esteem

  • assertiveness and clear communication skills

  • awareness, empathy and compassion

  • sense of purpose and meaning to your life

  • clarity and commitment to your personal values

  • positive sense of identity

A key advantage is that both "diagnosis specific" CBT and contemporary integrative approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) are very practical. CBT, ACT and CFT recognise that living, relating and “being human” will always be complex for all of us. These approaches and their techniques have been developed to help you in the actual context of any life area, in a realistic way for the whole of your life journey.          

Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings…”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

By applying CBT, ACT & CFT to your life, you can expect to see long lasting change:
  • effectiveness and confidence


  • better relationships


  • improved health and wellbeing


  • increased life satisfaction

What you can gain from therapy and coaching with me

Thanks to the process of CBT and Eleanor’s guidance, I’m much more calm these days. Rather than letting things escalate to the point of stress-out, I now evaluate what is going on, coach myself with more constructive thoughts and end up making firm decisions, because I can now trust in myself.”

> Read more from my clients

An approach to suit you


I’ve developed a multi faceted approach that is very flexible. It will be tailored to your unique needs, aims and circumstances. 22+ years’ experience as a therapist means I can quickly pinpoint core issues and psychological mechanisms that are keeping you stuck. I can make a bespoke "toolkit" for you, with practical steps, techniques and strategies for change, right from the start of our teamwork.


We will create a helpfully realistic approach to best suit your current life context, preferences and learning style. I will give you any assistance you may need to get clear about your needs and goals. We will make a practical plan to help you meet them most effectively. We will adapt and refine this as we go, to keep responding to your progress and fresh insight.


We will look at how to create the kind of teamwork that will be most encouraging and supportive to you. We will ensure that you have clarity and motivation about what you can do in between sessions to help yourself move forwards.

We can work together online, by phone or in person – whichever method would fit best with the context of your life.            

You’re welcome to book as many or as few sessions as you wish. Usually people book 6 sessions at a time, as this creates a focussed and realistic momentum for positive change.


Deciding what’s best for you

If you’re not yet decided on whether to get started with therapy and Coaching, it could be helpful for you to have a consultation to clarify your needs, explore options and get more information. I can help you consider different approaches, and give you a better idea of how they could specifically work for you. You can also get a sense of whether we are likely to make a good team match.


You’re welcome book an in-depth face to face assessment, or take advantage of my offer of a free telephone consultation of up to 30 minutes. Alternatively, just call me for a quick, straightforward chat.

Take advantage of a free telephone consultation

You’re welcome to take advantage of a 30-minute telephone consultation to ask me any questions you like, talk through your options, and find out if we make a good team match.

> Read more and book a call with me