addiction counselling manchester

Psychotherapy & Counselling -
Charley Shults

psychotherapy manchester
11th December 2019 
About Psychotherapy

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Counsellor, Consultant, Psychotherapist

(+44) 7507562864

Addiction Counselling Manchester
Psychotherapy Manchester
Counsellor Manchester

Services provided in person at 591 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9AF or

Anywhere via Skype, telephone, FaceTime, other electronic means

I am a member of the UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) and certified by them as an Integrative Psychotherapist through the Metanoia Institute. Please see the qualifications page for a full listing of training, qualifications, and experience.

I have now developed a model of therapy that I call Attachment Centred Therapy. What this means is that the services that I provide, while varied, are all centred around attachment relationships. These relationships can be conceived of in three different core beliefs. First is how you relate to yourself, whether you relate to yourself in a loving and accepting way, or whether you relate to yourself as being bad and unworthy. Second is how you relate to others: can you be who you really are with others, or do you have to put up a false self in order to win approval. Third is your model of the world and how it works, which create the rules or beliefs that you use in order to interact with the world. Fourth is the strategies and tactics that you use in order to get your needs met. And fifth is your primary strategy for how you nurture yourself and others. These then determine how we behave in our close personal relationships and how we feel about ourselves and others.

I providing counselling, consulting, and psychotherapy services for addictions, co-dependency, relationships, family of origin, issues of trauma, abuse or neglect, developmental and personality problems, lifestyle development, personal growth and development and other life issues.

Skype, phone or email Meeting in person is what most clients prefer to do. However, some of my clients actually prefer to meet via Skype because of the convenience and cost savings.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information or to arrange an appointment.

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Areas of Specialization

  • Addictions

  • Sexual

  • Alcohol

  • Drugs

  • Relationships

  • Romance

  • Marriage and Family Counselling

  • Relationship Counselling

  • Attachment Difficulties

  • Attachment Centered Therapy

  • Trauma, Abuse and Neglect

  • Co-Dependency

  • More about the services I provide

    Psychotherapy Manchester
    Addiction Counselling Manchester
    Counsellor Manchester
    Via electronic means: Skype, phone, Facetime, email

    Chemical Dependency

    Addiction Counselling Manchester, and by phone or Skype

    I have worked in addiction treatment since 1988. I began my treatment experience working with chemical addictions, such as alcoholism, cocaine, marijuana, narcotics, prescription drugs and other drugs of addiction.

    I have extensive training and experience in treating these problems, and I served on the board of directors of the Alabama Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.

    I have in the past been certified as a Masters Level Addiction Professional, a Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional, and I was certified by the International Counseling and Reciprocity Consortium.

    These certifications are not current, as I found that I just had too many certifications to keep up with them all, especially now that I am concentrating my work and training in Attachment.

    Sexual Addiction Counselling

    Addiction Counselling Manchester, and by phone or Skype

    Next I moved into treating sexual addiction in 1992 when I entered private practice. I also treat relationship or romance addiction (sometimes referred to as "love addiction").

    I have trained extensively with Dr. Patrick Carnes, acknowledged by many to be the leading researcher and writer in the field of sex and relationship addiction. I was a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and a supervisor for counselors seeking certification.

    I also served on the Advisory Board for Certified Sex Addiction Therapists, and am a past board member of the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity (now known as the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health).

    Relationship, Couples and Marriage and Family Psychotherapy

    Psychotherapy Manchester, Counsellor Manchester

    We have long known that addiction is a family illness. Most people who develop problems with addictions come from families where addiction or co-addiction is present. In addition, the addiction has a grave impact on families where it is present.

    It quickly became apparent to me that a knowledge of family dynamics and the best skills available for couples and family work were an important part of the recovery process. Many relationships survive the addiction only to fall apart during recovery.

    I have trained with Dr. John Gottmann, the leading researcher in the U.S. in the field of marriage, relationship, and family counselling. I have worked with several systemic family therapy supervisors and participated in a systemic family therapy supervision group with Dr Don Brown in Birmingham Alabama for about 5 years. Thus my couples and family work is informed by Systemic Family Therapy.

    In addition to doing therapy with addicts and their relations in recovery, I also provide marriage and family and couples counselling to others who do not have problems with addictions.

    Co-dependency counselling

    Addiction counselling Manchester

    Many people who grow up in dysfunctional or addictive families become what we call "co-dependent". That is, they are excessively dependent on others for their own sense of self worth, or they compulsively caretake others, often getting into dysfunctional relationships that either they can't get out of, or if they do, they soon find another dysfunctional relationship to take it's place.

    Because much of my work is done with people in later stage recovery when co-dependency issues begin to emerge, this field became a natural outgrowth of the other work that I do.

    Eating Disorders & Body Dysmorphic Disorder

    Psychotherapy Manchester & Counsellor Manchester

    While I have never trained specifically to treat these disorders, which often co-occur, I have often encountered them in my practice. My approach is psychotherapeutic because I believe that these are symptoms of attachment difficulties.

    Attachment Centred Therapy

    Psychotherapy Manchester, Counsellor Manchester

    These days my work is centred on attachment. The reason for this is that I believe there is convincing evidence that almost all of the above problems stem from disruptions in attachment in childhood, and sometimes later years. For this reason I have undertaken to educate myself regarding attachment. To that end I have read hundreds of articles and books about attachment theory and research. I'm even working on a book of my own about it.

    What are attachment relationships? Essentially, they are people with whom we have a close personal relationship of a familial nature. This includes parent & child and spousal (domestic partnership) relationships. So, when you grow up with your parents, then choose a life partner), then have children yourself, these are all attachment relationships. In addition, there can be other, alternative attachment figures, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, occasionally siblings, and sometimes people who have no familial relationship, but stand in as substitute attachment figures.

    When they go well, we are happy. When they don’t go well, then it leads to unhappiness in one way or another.

    I have trained with Dr. Patricia Crittenden, who was trained by Mary Ainsworth, who was trained by John Bowlby, the originator of Attachment Theory. Dr. Crittenden has created the Dynamic Maturational Method of attachment analysis. You may visit her website to learn more about this.

    I use the Adult Attachment Interview as a way to get started in therapy. This assessment provides a dynamic and revealing way to quickly identify what went wrong and why, and also immediately begins to provide the healing necessary to fix it.

    It's all a question of balance...
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    We need to feel safe with the people we need to feel safe

    When we don’t feel safe with our caregivers - the people that we need in order to feel safe - then we are left with difficulties in knowing how to deal with others. There are 3 basic strategies, A, B, and C, that, in broad terms, determine how you relate to those closest to you.*

    B3 or not B3, that is the question.
    If you were lucky enough to have caregivers, usually parents, who helped you to feel safe, who helped you to understand your feelings and how to deal with them effectively, and how to get your needs met by interacting with others, then you are likely to be a B3. That is as good as it gets in attachment terms. Those are the folks who grow up, get married, and live happily ever after. B’s use a balance of both facts and feelings in processing information about relationships. And, they are not likely to be reading this now, because B’s are not generally going to be seeking therapy for themselves, and are much less likely to seek therapy for those close to them.

    A’s on the other hand, tend to deny their own needs and feelings and are pre-occupied with meeting the needs of others. They rely primarily on facts in processing information, to the exclusion of emotional information, particularly negative emotions. If something goes wrong in relationships, they tend to blame themselves and exonerate others. In fact, some A’s will insist that they had a perfectly normal childhood, and it is only because of their own personal inadequacies that they are seeking help.

    C’s tend to dismiss the needs and feelings of others and are pre-occupied with their own. They rely primarily on their own emotional state in processing information. If something goes wrong in relationships, they tend to blame the other and exonerate themselves. This keeps them stuck in a cycle of insecurity, because they fail to learn from experience, lacking the cause and effect connections that help them to understand how their behaviour is contributing to the problems they experience.

    How did it get this way? Research, both in the lab and in direct observation of child and caregiver relationships, support the theory that vagal tone (our default response setting to environmental influences, plus our own internally operations) is set during the first months and years of life. In fact, in Mary Ainsworth's observations of mother/infant relationships, she could predict how the infant would be classified at around age 12 months on the Strange Situations Procedure (SSP) during the first 3 months of life! This then sets the 'tone' for the rest of life's experiences. That is why it is so hard for people to change their ways even when they want to. In order to do this, we have to reprogram the unconscious mind.

    I have created 3 sayings, one for each category, that are designed to help them to reprogram, except for the B’s who don’t really need much help and rarely show up in a therapy office.

    For A’s: Logically, it makes sense to be more emotional.

    For C’s: Emotionally, it feels good to be more logical.

    For B’s: I am comfortable using both facts and feelings in making choices in relationships.


    Considering the state of affairs around the world today, it is worth reflecting on the role that attachment plays in making things how they are. You may not think immediately that how parents raise their children has much to do with the geo-political status of our planet. I think that it has a great deal to do with how we relate to one another on a personal, local, national, and international level. Let me explain.
    When a child experiences consistent and sensitive caregiving that meets the child’s emotional needs and helps them to learn to deal with their feelings in a healthy way, then we know that results in secure attachment. When those needs and feelings aren’t dealt with properly, then we know that results in insecure attachment. Secure attachment means that people can feel calm and confident in their dealings with others, and feel good about themselves. Insecure attachment means that people operate out of a sense of threat and danger, and so feel fear and anger disproportionately.

    Of course, many people who are insecure do a good job of projecting that outwards on to others, unconsciously. This is the root of xenophobia, or fear of strangers. This explains the current backlash against immigrants and ‘the other’ in our present political polarization. Thus, people who already feel fear and anger are going to be drawn to those who appeal to those very strong feelings. The fear and anger motivation is very powerful, because you only have to be wrong once when danger threatens in order for it to be game over. Thus, when we feel threatened, we take protective action in order to assuage feelings that may be disproportionate to the actual threat.

    There are two very useful books that address this tendency to see danger everywhere and disaster looming. The first is by Stephen Pinker, a very impressive Harvard University Psychologist, The Better Angels of our Nature, the title taken from a phrase of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address. Lincoln was hoping at that point to avoid the impending Civil War that engulfed the USA. In his book, Pinker uses statistical data to demonstrate that, overall, the world is getting to be a much better place than it used to be. Although it is quite a long read, I found it to be well worth it. If you have an interest in history and evolution, then this book will interest you from that perspective as well.

    The second is Factfulness by Hans Rosling, now deceased, and completed posthumously by Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund, his children. Here is a link to the Factfulness website,, where they define factfulness as “The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.” Factfulness also demonstrates, using statistical data compiled from around the world, that things are getting better in virtually every way. So, as a species, we can truly say that ‘every day, in every way, we are getting better and better.

    That’s not to say that some things are not still bad, (and some are really bad!) just that they can be bad, but also getting better. In other words, just because we believe that things are getting better, we still need to keep working to make them even better, because in many cases it is still pretty bad. On the other hand, no matter how bad things are, when we can pull back and look at the larger picture, things are getting better.

    This is in keeping with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In this Hierarchy, the bottom level of need is Physical: that is, just what it takes to keep the body alive, and beyond that, well nourished physically. The next level of need, in my Maslow’s Modified Hierarchy, is Nurtural needs. This relates to our need for emotional nourishment that is expressed in a physical way: to be held, touched, smiled at, spoken to gently and tenderly, and so on, in the way that we do when we care for someone and want them to feel our warmth and caring.

    Next comes Safety and Security. This is the level where, if you don’t get these needs met, something kills you and eats, or someone kills you and robs you, or takes you prisoner, or you get swept away in an avalanche, and so on. In other words, you may be fat and happy one minute, and dead the next. This is why our Triple F – freeze, fight, flight – response is so strong when there is an immediate threat. We need this ability of our mind to keep us safe. It reacts much more quickly than our conscious mind can do. That’s because all we need for our FFF to kick in is a trigger from our perceptions and then our unconscious mind – the life support system and the limbic system – responds either directly (think of the doctor hitting your knee with the rubber mallet to test your reflex response) or indirectly (Think of responding automatically when someone holds out their hand for a shake, or if you’ve ever slammed in the brakes without thinking to avoid an accident) by triggering the involuntary nervous system to take some action (as described above).

    The thing is, our conscious mind is also aware of these activities, we just don’t have much control over them. We can increase our control by training, but for the most part these activities take place automatically, in the moment. But we can also plan with our conscious mind in order to deal with threat. Thus, if there is a Sabre Cat haunting our territory and threatening every day to kill us and eat us, then we can form a plan to take out the Sabre Cat by working cooperatively together. Likewise, if there is an enemy army approaching, we can build a fortification (think ‘a wall’ here) to keep them out. These are useful responses, and we don’t need to do anything to get rid of these.

    The problem arises when we rely only on the emotional information we are receiving, and especially when those emotions arise from erroneous beliefs. Thus, when some demagogic leader spouts imprecations about ‘foreigners’ based on erroneous beliefs, those who are predisposed to anger and fear already are much more susceptible to those false beliefs, and thus, dangerous feelings of insecurity. I say dangerous, because those feelings that are meant to protect us, when unleavened with fact, lead us astray.

    Hence the need to make decisions based on facts and feelings. A combination of both is what leads to secure attachment. This then allows us to get to the level of Love and Belonging, where we see others as like unto ourselves.

    So, by you addressing your own attachment needs and issues now, not only are you helping yourself, you are also helping all those you love, and helping to make the world a better place as well.

    Charley Shults, counsellor Manchester

    Updated 14/01/2019