Jungian Analyst & Trauma Therapist London, SE16

Larissa (Lara) Lagutina, Dr. Clin. Psychol., Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP)


   About Lara

    I have been working with people in both individual and group settings for over 20 years, drawing on a range of approaches, such as Analytical Psychology of C.G. Jung, object relations and relational schools of psychoanalysis, Process Work, EMDR, Jungian Sandplay, Shadow Work and Somatic Experiencing.

    In my doctoral dissertation I looked at contribution of Jungian Sandplay to working with people with a wide range of somatic problems. I have always been interested in a holistic approach to working with people, which takes into account both the psyche and the body, and complex interconnections between the two. As a result, I found myself drawn to areas such as trauma and somatic disturbances. In doing this work, I strongly felt the importance of training in a range of therapeutic approaches in order to broaden my perspective and to be able to select and blend various instruments depending on individual needs.

    It so happened that Analytical Psychology has always been at the heart of my professional interests, influencing my individual philosophy and practice. At the same time, I wanted to have more practical tools for accessing and unfolding the Dreaming that underlies daily life. Discovering Process Work - a therapeutic approach developed by Arni and Ami Mindell based on Jungian principles, Taoist philosophy and quantum physics was the next important step on my professional path.

   While studying at C.J. Jung institute in Zurich I met Alice Merz and through her discovered Jungian sandplay. For many years she had been my mentor and an important influence in my work. I dedicated my dissertation to her memory.

    My next professional discovery was Shadow Work - an approach founded in the US by Cliff Barry and Mary-Ellen Whalen (Blandford). Shadow Work is also based on the Jungian principles, particularly the interplay of the energies of four archetypes: the Sovereign, the Lover, the Warrior and the Magician in the human psyche. For me the beauty of this approach is in creation of a sacred space where through role-play, use of coloured capes and music the person can explore the deeper layers in any chosen problem and connect to the underlying inner resources. I am grateful to Nicola and John Kurk for being my teachers in this area.

    My work with people made me aware of the importance of understanding the impact of early (and later) life experiences on body and brain physiology. I wanted to know how overwhelming and traumatic life experiences impact these layers, often leading to people getting stuck in painful patterns despite their best intentions and even despite significant amount of insight they may have about the origins and meaning of these. I studied developmental and attachment research, trauma and neuroscience literature, and also trained in therapies specialising in early development and trauma. On this path I discovered Somatic Experiencing (SE - an approach to working with trauma and overwhelming experiences in the body, founded in the US by Dr Peter Levine). Dr Raja Selvam has my teacher in this area. I also completed training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and a psychoanalytical course on understanding trauma at the Tavistock Clinic (London).

    Over the years, I have come to realize that even though understanding the complexity of the emotional dynamics, the body physiology, meaning and symbolism is very important, perhaps the most important therapeutic factor has to do with human relationship and our ability to connect with the other person at a deep level. It is through this connection that their healing potential can be activated and thus guide the therapeutic work. My understanding today is that the main area of personal and professional growth for a therapist lies in developing this ability.