I have developed broad expertise in delivering both first-line psychological therapies - such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - and newer approaches known as 'third wave CBT'. This includes the models of mindfulness-based psychological therapies, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). All of these are outlined in more detail below.
I draw on my knowledge and skills from different psychological therapies in an integrative way to ensure I tailor sessions to suit your needs. The approaches I use are all well researched and evidenced to support their use for a range of psychological difficulties.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
As recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, I offer time-limited treatments specifically designed for difficulties such as anxiety and phobias, panic, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. I also offer in-depth approaches designed to examine people’s core beliefs or “schemas” about themselves and others. By examining the links between our thinking, emotions, physical sensations and actions, CBT helps to both make sense of our difficulties and points to ways of changing them.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
This approach has been developed to treat a range of psychological difficulties, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, low mood or relationship difficulties, that can usually can be traced back to a trauma (a car accident for example) or series of traumatic events (such as childhood neglect).
The aim of EMDR is to utilise the brain’s natural healing mechanism to help process traumatic memories so that the here-and-now impact can be reduced. Francine Shapiro developed the approach in 1987 and studied how, when a person recalls a distressing event while receiving bilateral sensory input, such as side-to-side eye movements, they seem to process traumatic material and view it more adaptively. It is thought that this process is similar to the natural mechanisms which occur during sleep. It is important to highlight that EMDR is not a form of hypnosis and the person remains fully conscious and in control of what is happening throughout therapy.
This skill can help us notice how our minds can naturally do things that create problems, from overthinking things to zoning out. Mindfulness helps us develop an openness to our experiences and an appreciation of the aspects of life our busy minds can miss. The origins of mindfulness come from Buddhist practices but over recent decades it has been adapted for the promotion of psychological health. The process of mindfulness has been found to benefit a wide range of emotional and physical health difficulties, as well demonstrating improvements in the wellbeing of people without particular concerns.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This approach draws on mindfulness principles and helps us to become more aware of the thoughts and feelings that cause us difficulty. It aims to shift how we respond to them, enabling us to engage more fully with what is important in our lives. There is good evidence that ACT can help with many issues, from common mental health difficulties to quitting smoking, losing weight, managing stress and much more. I completed my own doctoral research into the approach for emotion regulation difficulties and I have presented at various conferences and teaching seminars. I have also trained other professionals in how to deliver ACT, developed treatment protocols for use in the NHS and I offer supervision to others in the approach.
Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)
This model looks at the nature of the human brain in relation to various challenges we experience when negotiating the modern world. The everyday pressures we experience to work, behave or look a particular way often lead to the neglect of our basic needs. Have you ever noticed an internal voice telling you you’re not good enough or that you must try harder? This can leave us feeling ashamed, depressed or anxious. Using CFT, we can develop the skills to identify and intervene when our responses to stress knock us off balance.