I work with young people and their parents to develop a shared understanding of their psychological distress. Once we have this understanding, we can agree the best ways to work together to solve these issues. Sometimes for older children and adolescents, this might mean working directly with the young person to help them to understand their issues from a different perspective and find solutions to their problems. For younger children, we might agree that the best people to do this work with them are their parents. In these cases, parents become “co-therapists” and our sessions would involve working with them to identify and trial different strategies at home to help their child. Often, even with older children and teens, parental involvement is central to helping them to translate therapeutic goals into everyday life. To support this, parents may be required to join their child for all or parts of their therapy sessions, or to have some sessions without the child present to help increase their understanding of what has happened and how they can help. My experience of working with children and young people across a range of settings, including within school, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), fostering and adoption, and neurodevelopmental services provides me a broad base of understanding for the difficulties that children and young people can experience. Issues I can help with:
- Anxiety, phobias, panic, OCD, stress and worry
- Low mood and low self-esteem
- Advice for parents of children with psychological or neurodevelopmental difficulties
- Psychological and neurodevelopmental assessment
I offer specialist psychological assessment and therapy to adults, working from a range of therapeutic models dependent on the needs and preferences of the client. Issues I can help with:
- Anxiety, panic and worry
- Obsessive-compuslive disorder (OCD)
- Depression and low mood
- Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Low self-esteem and low self-confidence
- Managing pain, sleep disorders and disability
- Other psychological issues: please contact me for an informal discussion. If I do not think that I have the relevant expertise to support you, I will endeavour to direct you to a suitable service or practitioner.
The purpose of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is to help individuals increase their “psychological flexibility” – that means to help people to respond in the way they would most like to whatever life throws at them. By building up psychological flexibility skills (such as responding differently to thoughts and beliefs, finding different ways to relate to emotions, and learning how to pay attention to what’s really happening in any moment), individuals are free to make life decisions based on their core values of what really matters to them, rather than on the basis of worst fears, other people’s expectations, or old stories from their past. Through this, a rich, meaningful and value-driven life can be achieved, no matter what obstacles are found along the way.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) explores the links between early life experiences, the “core” beliefs they lead to (such as beliefs that an individual holds about themselves, the world and other people), and how these beliefs lead to patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviour. By challenging the belief structure which has developed over time and experimenting with different ways to behave in the present, individuals are able to directly impact on how they feel, what they think, and what they do. CBT is recognised as an effective therapeutic response for a wide range of psychological disorders and difficulties. In some cases it has been adapted to suit specific issues, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) for PTSD.
Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) recognises that all too often life experiences lead individuals to be highly self-critical and fearful that they will be judged harshly by other people. Although it can feel like this self-criticism is necessary to keep safe and behave appropriately, often it leads to high levels of distress and difficulties in engaging in life and relationships as one would truly wish. Compassion-focused therapy helps individuals to identify the origins of their critical inner voice, the strategies used to prevent difficult feelings, and the unintended consequences of these strategies. Practising skills such as self-awareness, self-compassion and mindfulness allow individuals to break free from their critical inner voices and increase their self-acceptance, confidence and wellbeing.
Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was originally designed to help individuals with PTSD. However, it is now recognised as a valuable therapy for anyone who has experienced difficult life events (such as bullying at school or at work, relationship breakdowns, accidents, unpleasant medical procedures or other distressing experiences). Often, when individuals trace back to the beginning of a phobia, anxiety or fear, there is a childhood event (or “touchstone memory”) that initiated it. By reprocessing these events, it is possible to reduce or entirely eliminate the fear in current life.
I offer a range of specialist assessments, including:
- Comprehensive assessment and formulation of psychological difficulties and disorders
- Autism diagnosis (child and adult)
- Adult ADHD diagnosis
- Comprehensive neurodevelopmental screening to guide individuals to appropriate support and services
- Post-diagnostic support