My approach to therapy
A key aspect of my therapeutic work is to support you to learn strategies to accept difficult feelings and handle unhelpful thoughts by:
- Learning mindfulness skills through simple exercises
- Developing techniques to distance and let go of unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
- Finding acceptance for painful feelings, urges and sensations so that they come and go without being overpowering
- Developing more contact with the present moment so enabling a richer more fulfilling life
Having trained in many different models of therapy I work in an integrative way, particularly influenced by ACT which is an evidence based and a predominantly time limited CBT approach. ACT therapy takes the view that by accepting negative thoughts and feelings, individuals can choose a valued direction in which to take action and make positive life changes.
Mindfulness is a “hot topic” in Western psychology right now, increasingly recognised as a powerful therapeutic intervention for everything from work related stress to depression. Paying more attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings and to the world around you, can improve your mental well being.
I am trained in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and have facilitated MBCT groups for the NHS. This experience along with 25 years of a personal mindfulness practice allows me to appreciate just how difficult it is to be mindful and also approach blocks which get in the way of positive changes.
I have been greatly influenced by Carl Rogers who stressed the importance of the core conditions (empathy, respect and congruence) and embody these qualities while delivering the evidence based approach of CBT and ACT. I have been trained by Professor Steven Hayes and Dr Kelly Wilson two of the originators of the ACT approach. Presently I receive clinical supervision from Robyn Walser, Ph.D. who has co-authored 3 books on ACT and is Associate Clinical Director at the National Centre for PTSD.
As a CBT therapist I work collaboratively with you to discover which way of working best suits your needs, always ensuring that your needs are at the center of the therapeutic process. As everyone is unique I bring my many years of experience and training to discover what the many strategies of CBT work best for you.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. For example if you have experienced something frightening or traumatic, have been exposed to an accident or a form of abuse, generally the brain has the innate power to heal itself after a psychological trauma.
However sometimes the brain’s ability to reprocess emotional trauma can get stuck, especially if you felt overwhelmed at the time the event occurred. You might find that the memory of that event just pops into your mind and catches you by surprise. Or the memory is triggered by something that reminds you of the event.
In such situations the brain is unable to process information like ‘normal memory’. This is when EMDR can help to remove this block, enabling the brain to heal from the trauma symptoms and emotional distress that arises as the result of disturbing life experience.
EMDR psychotherapy is based on an Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model which suggests that much of our psychopathology (mental health) is due to the incomplete processing of traumatic or disturbing adverse life events and experiences.
Using an 8 stage protocol applied during the course of EMDR therapy, as your EMDR clinician I endeavour to help you to activate your natural capacity towards healing, working to integrate negative experiences into the rational thinking part of your brain.
The theory behind EMDR therapy is that it appears to directly affect the brain where memory and emotions are stored, unfreezing the traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them. The memory is still there, but it is less upsetting or disturbing.
EMDR is increasingly being used to alleviate distress for many types of disturbing memories including, depression, anger, performance anxiety and bullying.
Here is a link regarding a woman engaged in EMDR therapy revisiting her intense experience of being bullied. It is featured on Radio Four.
Counselling or CBT
Whilst CBT can be highly effective for some people and some issues it isn’t for everyone. I offer Counselling in both my private practice and in the NHS. I have also trained in Solution Focused Brief Therapy and integrate this into my approach. There are many reasons for wanting to choose counselling, a recent, or current crisis is often the prompt.
Whatever the reason I believe that it is important to meet you where and how you are. To create a space where you feel understood, safe and in confident experienced hands. This will enable you to start accepting yourself and realise your true potential.