It’s official – therapy can change your personality traits

Your personality is not fixed you are in the process of becoming who you are

As a psychotherapist I learnt and have told my clients that their personality is not fixed and that they are in a process of becoming who they are in every moment.

On the BBC Radio 4 program “All in the Mind” Professor Brent W. Roberts of the University of Illinois Department of Psychology spoke about his research paper “A Systematic Review of Personality Train Change Through Intervention”.

From the Abstract

Interventions were associated with marked changes in personality train measures over an average time of 24 weeks.

Emotional stability was the primary trait domain showing changes as a result of therapy, followed by extraversion.

The type of therapy employed was not strongly associated with the amount of change in personality traits.

Patients presenting with anxiety disorders changed the most, and patients being treated for substance use changed the least.

Attachment to who we believe we are is not helpful

The results of this study agree with my beliefs that we are all in a process of becoming who we are, and actually attachment to who we believe we are, can be detrimental to just accepting ourselves.

The type of therapy is not important it is the relationship that matters

The specific type or approach of the counselling or psychotherapy is not important in helping the client, the therapeutic relationship is most important.


Mindfulness Group Therapy MGT is as good as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT

Group Therapy
Group Therapy

Article in PsychCentral

An article by Traci Pedersen in PsychCentral reports that researchers at the Centre for Primary Health Care Research (CPF) in Malmo, Sweden in collaboration with Lund University have found Mindfulness Group Therapy MGT just as effective as individual CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for a wide range of psychiatric symptoms including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, aggression and paranoid ideation.

How were psychiatric symptoms measured?

Researchers looked at a wide range of psychiatric symptoms (measured by several types of questionnaires) and studied how these symptoms responded to treatment, either with mindfulness in group therapy or individual CBT.

They found that the average score for all 15 different subscales/indexes in the various questionnaires decreased significantly in both scales. The various scales measured, among others, symptoms of depression, general anxiety, stress and somatization, obsessive-compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, aggression, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism.

They found no difference in treatment outcomes between the two groups.

How many patients and which area. The study was an eight-week randomised controlled trial involving 215 patients from 16 different healthcare centres across Scania in southern Sweden. Psychiatric symptoms were measured by several types of questionnaire. The new findings are published in the journal European Psychiatry.

“Our new research shows that mindfulness group therapy has the equivalent effect as individual CBT for a wide range of psychiatric symptoms that are common among this patient group,” says Professor Jan Sundquist, who led the research group in the study which has been published in European Psychiatry.

Contemplative Counselling and Psychotherapy

Treating the cause or the symptoms

I like what Karen Kissel Wegela says in her piece in the Lion’s Roar about basic sanity and neurosis; You’re Basically Good – The Benefits of Contemplative Psychotherapy. I was taught that given the right conditions we as human beings move towards health.  There is so much talk about sickness and treating the symptoms that the causes seem to be forgotten about.

Using Brilliant Sanity

In her presentation of what she calls “contemplative counselling and psychotherapy” there is a focus on the inherent sanity which she also refers to as Brilliant Sanity. The contemplative therapist uses their capacity to hold clarity, compassion, mindfulness and awareness. Karen says Thich Nhat Hanh says that we are “inter-are” when in relationship and explains that there is an exchange between the present experience of the therapist and the client. Our “ego” tries to hold onto a separate abiding sense of self, this is doomed to failure as we are always changing.  Brilliant Sanity does not always stay with the therapist, this is where the challenge is for the therapist to be vulnerable and let the client hold the brilliant sanity sometimes.

Easing the pain through loving kindness

Of course the past has an importance in the therapy work but the emphasis once again is on enquiry – why is the past that happened in the past manifesting in the present? Karen talks about the Buddhist teaching of that there is pain in life, but we add unnecessary suffering by trying to hold onto our sense of who we are. What eases the pain is loving kindness which can be towards ourselves and others. Repressing emotions only gives rise to them bursting out inappropriately. The therapeutic relationship needs to be robust and have enough trust within it to allow the repressed emotions to be processed. Karen also champions the value of the therapist having a mindfulness based meditation practice. The practice develops the ability for the therapist to be more friendly with their own issues, and once again the shared experience of this with the client promotes the clients’ ability to hold their issues with non-judgemental mindfulness, awareness, curiosity and compassion.

Mindfulness Therapy better than anti-depressants.

sunset-129503_1920Clinical trials of psychotherapy using mindfulness with anti-depressants have shown that therapy using mindfulness on its own produces better results.

Larry Davidson Ph.D Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University refers in Mad in America an on-line magazine for Science,Psychiatry and Community to results published in The Journal Psychotherapy and Psychometrics: The Two-Sided Face of Anti-depressants: The Impacts of Their Use on Real-Life Affective Change during Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Researchers from Maastricht University and University of Groningen found that the participants in a randomized control trial for MBCT who showed the greatest improvement were those who had not taken antidepressants.

“Since the generation of positive emotions is crucial in the initiation of a positive spiral towards recovery, long-term outcomes of this contingent inhibiting effect of antidepressants on psychotherapy outcome in terms of positive affect will have to be investigated in more detail in experimental set-ups”

the researchers conclude.

The researchers explain that antidepressants are known to reduce the neural processing of both rewarding and aversive stimuli, causing “emotional blunting,” and that this may prevent the generation of positive emotions that are essential for therapy.

“If our findings are replicated it would implicate that the sequential addition of psychotherapy to antidepressants could be less efficient than discontinuing antidepressants before/during receiving psychotherapy especially for improving long-term outcomes.”

Mindfulness – alternative life style choice or a powerful therapy

Dawn Foster of the Guardian in her piece “Is mindfulness making us ill?” of 23rd January discusses the explosion of interest in mindfulness courses as a technique of choice popular to employers. Mindfulness courses range from smart phone apps to three day mindfulness as part of a training programme. Dawn refers to a number of cases where side-effects have profoundly effected peoples lives leaving them disturbed, open, and vulnerable.

She states that there are dangers in way that mindfulness is marketed as an alternative lifestyle choice rather than a powerful form of therapy. The Karuna Institute a UKCP member led by Maura Sills provides an accredited psychotherapy training using mindfulness. Mindfulness has been taught and used in therapeutic relationship within Core Process Psychotherapy for thirty years.

Individual Psychotherapy

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Individual psychotherapy

Individual integrative psychotherapy is on a one-to-one bases. Have some counselling sessions and have had the chance to take stock of your life. You will noticed that you are not making the most of your life. This is focused work, beginning with an agreed contract of six sessions. It will help you look at what you do with your life that holds you back.

Looking at relationships

I bring experience over years of working with clients. I will help you look again at how you live your life. Bring attention to your habits or behaviours. Some are useful and others are out of date and no longer help you live a fulfilled life. Our work together is about looking at how you live your life. In particular at relationships offering reflection. Giving you a chance of not repeating what has not been useful or has held you back.

The joint investigation

The way therapy works as a joint process of investigation. I bring a genuine interest into how you live your life. I help you develop relationships and move towards a sense of ease in your life. I do not profess that I provide a template for living a healthy, loving fulfilled life. I have a fierce desire to reflect what you are back to yourself. Then you can make the decisions about changes you would like to make. Bringing awareness to how we are and how we interact in significant relationships. Choice brings change.

Psychotherapy contract

Psychotherapy begins with a six weekly sessions. Progress will considered from both sides at the end of this period. Key points are identified and engagement in the work assessed.
Please call to make a first appointment to meet me and for me to meet you.

Practice Contact Details

Make an appointment with Rosswell Gadsden by calling or emailing for further details.

Mob : 07498 218609

Email: [email protected]

In this time of crisis I am offering 4 free online places via Zoom to frontline NHS staff. I have signed up to take part via please email me with the above email, call or text me.

NHS Benefits

UKCP Member No. 00313610
Enhanced DBS Certificate No. 001680076973
Data Protection Registration No. ZA062426
Aviva Provider Number : 600105251
AXA PPP healthcare reference number : RG03195
WPA Provider Number : SP081136
WPA Protocol Provider Number : 920744459
BUPA Provider Number : 30047027

Psychotherapy Practice

Please call , email or text to book an appointment

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Suite 12, The Director General’s House
15 Rockstone Place
SO15 2EP

Telephone : 07498 218609

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The Psychotherapist

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Rosswell Gadsden Supervisor Counsellor and Psychotherapist-min
Rosswell Gadsden  Mindfulness based Psychotherapist

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Core Process Psychotherapist

Your psychotherapist offers an approach to working through issues using mindfulness based psychotherapy.

Humanistic and Integrative backgound

Training began at Karuna Institute in 1993. I was first accredited as a psychotherapist by the UKCP in 2003. Through the Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College HIPC. I have practiced as a Core Process Psychotherapist since 2003. Karuna taught and has championed the use of mindfulness. Karuna uses mindfulness in the relationship to develop a therapeutic alliance. Maura Sills is a Director of The Karuna Institute. She has taught, and supported the use of mindfulness in psychotherapy. She has taught for over 25 years in the United Kingdom.

Core process psychotherapy training

I began training as a Core Process Psychotherapist at the Karuna Institute. I completed the foundation year then moving onto the Professional Diploma. After accruing enough client hours working as a psychotherapist, I accredited. I accredited through the Karuna Institute with the UKCP. I then studied for and completed a Master of Arts in Core Process Psychotherapy in 2002.

I have been a UKCP approved Supervisor since September 2018. A Psychotherapist and Counsellor in Southampton since 2003. I work with couples using the ‘Key to Couples Work’ with Jennie Miller which offers a TA approach.

l studied and worked as an Systems Engineer. I become interested in Spirituality, Buddhism, Personal Development, Social and Ecological Responsibility. I trained as a Counsellor. Then as a Psychotherapist and finally as a Secondary School Teacher. My abode is in Shirley Southampton, Hampshire with my wife and our two children. I see clients as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist in Private Practice.

Mindfulness supervision training

I completed a Certificate in Mindfulness Supervision with OPAL (Organisation People and Learning). Individual and small group Supervision is offered at the The Director General’s House, 15 Rockstone Place, Southampton SO15 2EP.  I have membership of the Hampshire Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy HACP.

Psychotherapy Practice at The Romney Centre

Currently, I rent rooms at the The Director General’s House, 15 Rockstone Place,  Southampton SO15 2EP which is on the Avenue. Individual clients appointments are 50 minutes and weekly. Couples sessions are 90 minutes, and are two weekly.

Please call to make an appointment or email me for availability.