Cory Stewart

Cory is an Integrative Counsellor based in Bristol – this means that he draws upon different therapeutic approaches, depending on the needs and goals of the client. He works predominantly from a person-centred base, placing great emphasis on building a trusting and warm relationship. He also incorporates elements of cognitive behavioural therapy into his practice.

Cory believes that you have the capacity to reach your full potential, but it doesn’t always feel that way. He offers one-to-one counselling for clients who are going through difficult circumstances & feel ready to make a change in their life. 

Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to become a therapist?

I’m Cory – I am an integrative therapist and I run my practice from Central Bristol, as well as offering online therapy. I have been practicing since 2015. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn towards getting to know ‘the real person’ – underneath the mask we show to the world. This involved staying up way too late as a teenager, speaking with friends on messenger apps about their issues and things going on in their lives. As I grew older, I considered various other career but working as a therapist has always been the route that felt right to me. In fact, my first visit to Bristol was the day that I moved here to begin my Psychology degree at UWE – I guess that tendency to ‘trust my feeling’ is right in line with what I preach as a therapist. Since then, I have completed a Counselling Skills Certificate at UWE, Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling at City of Bristol College and recently, a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy at Bath Spa University.

Why do you think it is important for men particularly to engage with this kind of therapeutic work?

I campaigned for male mental health during my journey towards becoming a counsellor. Men have sadly lagged behind when it comes to our relationships with our mental health. Since I started, the conversation has grown and grown. The trouble is that awareness alone only goes a small part of the way. There needs to be a healthy way to challenge these barriers. These barriers are learnt – taught, observed and absorbed – through the relationships around us as babies, as boys, and as men. As a counsellor, I love that I’m able to hold a space where men feel willing to bring their vulnerabilities, confusion, shame – where men can let go of the front and start to learn who they really are. The therapy relationship is fundamental to the entire process. In order to begin to work through these things, we need to feel safe enough to bring them to the table.

Are there any myths/misconceptions about therapy that you think might deter men from seeking help?

Yes, definitely. While we now have increased awareness of male mental health, we also have an increase in conversations that reinforce the idea that the ‘masculine’ way is stoic and self-contained. This would suggest that talking about feelings is a weakness, which risks sending us right back to square one! This also supposes that therapy is only about talking, which really isn’t the case – it’s also about the ‘doing’. There is also the prospect of not really knowing what to expect in therapy. When we are so used to keeping things inside, we might not have any real experience of what it’s like to open up to somebody – which can reinforce the fear of telling someone what we are going through.

Do you have any special areas of expertise, what sort of issues can you help participants to engage with?

I am very interested in our identities and how they are formed – this can include race, gender, sexuality and the rules that we internalise about these aspects of ourselves. These rules can manifest in anxieties, loss of confidence and depression. I have a person-centred ethos to therapy, which means that my focus is on you, the person, rather than a specific issue. I view the presenting issue as an expression of a deeper, or unmet need. I also believe that you are the expert on your own experience, and we will work towards recognising that. As an integrative therapist, I may call upon different therapeutic approaches, though these are used in a person-centred way.

Why is being part of Seed Sessions important to you?

Therapy needs to be accessible to those who need it. And music? Music has been a huge part of my mental health support network, whether that is listening, playing or writing. What could be more fitting than a programme that combines the two! It’s an honour to be part of such an honest and important initiative.