Hello and thank you for visiting my profile.
I am a qualified and experienced Psychologist and Cognitive Behaviour (CBT) Therapist. I understand that arranging your first therapy session can be daunting, and finding the right therapy and even the right therapist can be confusing for some. I hope the information below answers your questions, but if not please feel free to contact me for an obligation free chat by email or phone.
After I was awarded a Masters level degree with commendation in psychology, I went on to complete counselling qualifications and a post graduate certificate and diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the therapy in which I practice now. My therapeutic career began in NHS critical care working in a hospital with patients experiencing serious mental health problems. I then joined the charity sector, working as a low intensity therapist helping people with common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression before moving on to helping people at high intensity level. I now receive referrals from the NHS and the private health sectors. I am a member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and I am fully insured.
I am experienced in treating many issues, including:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (Constant worry)
Assertiveness and communication skills
Other specific phobias (e.g. choking phobia, medical phobia, flying phobia,
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you are unsure as to what your problem might be, please call for a no obligation chat to discuss your specific problem(s).
What is CBT?
CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitions are our thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that we hold about ourselves, the world and others. Behaviour is anything we do that is observable from our everyday activities to the way we communicate.
According to CBT, psychologically we are each represented by 4 interacting systems: Thoughts, behaviour, emotions and physical sensations
CBT is based on the idea that emotional difficulties (e.g. depression and anxiety) result from unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving. The way we think and the way we behave are under our control and can therefore be changed. If we change these two aspects of ourselves then, it is likely that there will be changes in the other systems. So, the aim of therapy is to address these unhelpful patterns.
The way we think and behave evolve over our lifetime as a result of the interaction of our experience and genetics. CBT is based on the idea of freedom and choice: thoughts and beliefs are not facts, although it can feel that way. Likewise, behaviour is not set in stone. Fundamentally it is possible to control these two aspects of ourselves.
A simple way to illustrate how the interaction of thinking and behaving can lead to distress is demonstrated by this panic attack example:
Imagine that a train passenger begins to feel hot and becomes aware that their heart rate has increased. They become anxious and start to think something bad is about to happen. They get off the train at the next stop, sit on a bench and wait for the sensations to subside. They then get on the next train and complete the journey. While in that moment they may think they have resolved the problem, in reality they have inadvertedly maintained it. Their belief and behaviour was irrational and unhelpful, as the behaviour (escape) confirmed their irrational belief that if they hadnâ€™t left the train, something awful may have happened. While panic attacks can feel very distressing, and in many cases are even confused with more serious problems such as heart attacks, in reality they are a harmless physical response. From we can see how strong the interactions between thoughts, feelings and behaviour can be.
\'It is not events that disturb us but what we make of those events\' Epictetus
Please note: Anyone experiencing physical symptoms should seek medical advice to ensure that there is no physical problem before seeking therapy.
What to expect from CBT
Conducting a thorough initial assessment starts to piece together an understanding of your issues. This may involve exploring past events as well as what is going on presently, things that make the problem worse, your goals, your thoughts, emotions, behaviours etc. By gaining a good understanding of your problems we can then decide your therapy goals and devise a suitable treatment plan tailored to your needs and objectives.
Some of the processes in CBT involve:
â€¢ To unpack the cognitive style (how and why we think the way we do).
â€¢ Look at how this interacts with behaviour.
â€¢ Distinguish between the helpful from the unhelpful.
â€¢ Experiment with new beliefs and behaviours.
â€¢ Monitor the result of these \'experiments\'.
â€¢ When the blend is right, maintain this.
â€¢ Plan how to continue to extend therapeutic gains beyond therapy and prevent
What to expect from your first session
In your first session we start by exploring your problem: when did it start? What makes it worse or better? What thoughts do you have? What emotions do you experience and so on. My role at this stage is to understand your problem from your perspective. We would then agree your goals; what you want to achieve in therapy? I do not offer solutions, but we find these together using whatâ€™s called guided discovery, a process I support you through.
I do hope that your questions are answered here. But if this is not the case then please call or message me for a no obligation chat. I look forward to hearing from you.
Saturday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM