MY THERAPEUTIC APPROACH
It's not about what's ‘wrong’ with you, it's about understanding you - and helping you to make sense of your experiences
As a psychologist, my therapeutic work is primarily guided using collaborative psychological formulation (rather than diagnosis), which draws on your experiences (past and present) and psychological theories to make sense of what has led to difficulties developing and being maintained. Through the combination of my psychological expertise and your own knowledge - as the expert of your own experience - we will make sense of the problems that are concerning you. Increased understanding is the first step to overcoming difficulties and often leads to a sense of empowerment.
Individually tailored treatment, not one-size-fits-all
My approach to therapy is informed by our formulation, the evidence-base (i.e. what research has shown is an effective treatment approach for a particular problem) and by your preference. The therapy models I most frequently use are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Systemic/Family Therapy, however where appropriate I take an integrative approach and draw upon theories and techniques from other well-recognised therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Narrative Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. At our initial appointment I can discuss with you which approach appears the best fit for our work together.
A safe space
My knowledge of psychology and ability to flexibly incorporate useful therapeutic techniques into our work together, in a way that you find helpful, is important for effective therapy. However, research has shown that the key factor that predicts successful outcomes in therapy is the strength of the therapeutic relationship. Therefore, building a solid relationship of trust - where you are able to speak openly and feel truly heard - is always my primary goal. We will discuss confidentiality during the first session so you are completely clear on this. My empathic, collaborative and non-judgemental approach will ensure that you feel emotionally safe with me. During our work together, I will consistently support you in developing your self-understanding, improving your sense of well-being, and in achieving your therapeutic goals.
MODELS OF THERAPY
Eye movement desenSitization and reprocessinG (EMDR)
EMDR is a unique form of psychotherapy which uses bilateral stimulation (usually via eye movements, but can also involve tapping) designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events by enabling processing. It can also be used for treating phobias and anticipatory anxiety. EMDR is a therapy that can produce particularly quick and effective results with often only a few sessions required for alleviation of emotional distress. EMDR can be offered alongside other forms of therapy. I offer EMDR for adolescents (13+) and adults.
Useful for: trauma, PTSD, distressing memories, anticipatory anxiety, phobias.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT is a psychological therapy that aims to help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. When you feel low or anxious, for example, it is common to find yourself engaging in unhelpful thinking patterns or behaviours, which ultimately keep the problem going and are obstacles to your recovery. There is a strong evidence-base for the effectiveness of CBT as a treatment for many mental health difficulties, including anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, OCD and PTSD. Within this approach, I would work with you to formulate the onset and maintenance of your current problems and identify contributing problematic thinking patterns and behaviours. I would then help you to modify these using various cognitive and behavioural techniques, enabling you to develop different, more helpful ways of thinking and behaving that lead to increased well-being. CBT is typically a short-term, goal-oriented therapy designed to reduce your psychological distress and equip you with a range of skills and useful coping mechanisms which you can continue to use to maintain your improved mental health after therapy ends.
Useful for: anxiety, low mood, depression, panic, stress, OCD, PTSD, phobias, sleep difficulties, anger, self-harm, dissociation
Systemic/Family Therapy is a psychological therapy that is helpful when an individual has a problem which is affecting others within the family, e.g. depression or behavioural issues. It is also an appropriate approach to address family-wide problems such as conflicts between parents and children, siblings, or spouses. It can also help with stressful life events such as separation, divorce or bereavement. In family therapy sessions, my focus with you would be on exploring the relationships and patterns of interactions that are occurring. Often misunderstandings and miscommunication are key contributors to psychological distress and relationship difficulties. Family/systemic therapy can increase understanding, empathy and communication within family relationships, reduce conflict, facilitate problem solving, and increase the strength of the family unit.
Useful for: low mood or depression (self or family member), behavioural difficulties, family relationship problems and conflicts, breakdown in communication, coping with separation/divorce/loss, eating disorders
Often, depending on a client's problems or preferences, an integrative approach to therapy may be agreed as most suitable - for example, where difficulties are more complex, or alternatively where the issue that brings a client to therapy is more relational or about adjusting to life changes (e.g. divorce, bereavement, relationship issues). Within this approach, therapy will be informed flexibly by theories and ideas from well-recognised psychological approaches e.g. CBT, systemic/family therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
Useful for: wide range of difficulties ranging from the simple to the complex.