These are the therapy approaches that I use

The choice of psychological approaches (or therapy treatments) depends on each person's individual needs and preferences.  Every person is treated as unique and their particular problems will be used to form the basis of their individualised treatment plan.   

 

Click on the links below to learn more about each therapeutic approach.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-focused treatment that uses techniques to modify people's thinking and behaviours to improve mood, manage anxiety or solve other difficulties.

Schema Focused Therapy

Schema Focused Therapy (SFT) offers a deeper more extensive form of therapy using some of the techniques offered by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to provide treatment for more chronic and complex problems including personality issues.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT which is pronounced as the word 'act') helps people to 'be with' their difficult thoughts, memories and sensations through increasing 'psychological flexibility'.  This is the ability to be more in the present, with increased awareness and openness, which leads to a better ability to take action that is informed by and guided by important life values.  This can be effective in dealing with chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety, or health related difficulties such as chronic pain.  This therapy incorporates mindfulness based approaches.

I use other theoretical ideas and techniques from a range of other approaches that may be used alongside or instead of the above.  These approaches include:
Psychodynamic Therapy
Systemic or Family Therapy
Counselling
Motivational Interviewing

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychological approach based on theory and clinical research that has been clinically proven to work for a wide range of problems.  Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to be highly effective and is the treatment of choice for a number of mental health issues.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on the idea that 'cognitions' or the way people think and their beliefs, no matter how they may have been formed, will affect their emotions and actions.  Furthermore, how they feel and act will affect their thinking in turn.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very much about understanding this interaction and using methods and techniques to modify thoughts, behaviours and feelings to improve well-being and activities.

You and the therapist will work together to identify and understand your problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.  The approach usually focuses on your difficulties in the here and now and will work towards your own personal and achievable goals.  Psychological and practical skills are developed with the emphasis on putting what has been learned into practice between sessions ('homework').  The overall aim is for you to become your own therapist through your own efforts in collaboration with the therapist.  The therapy tends to be time-limited with goals being continually monitored and evaluated.

The frequency and length of therapy are decided by the client and the therapist and can be from 8-40 sessions or more.  It is tailored specifically for the individual and their problems meaning that every therapy plan and treatment is unique.  With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, many people have seen long lasting benefits, even those with quite severe and chronic conditions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most researched psychological treatment.  It is now the recommended treatment for many common mental health problems by the National Institute for Health and Excellence (NICE), which is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
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Schema Focused Therapy

Schema Focused Therapy (SFT) provides treatment for more chronic and complex psychological problems.  It is based on the idea that many negative emotions and thoughts have their basis in past experiences.  Schema Focused Therapy integrates elements of cognitive therapy, behavioural therapy, object relations (interpersonal experiences), and gestalt therapy into one unified, systematic approach to treatment.

This form of therapy targets lifelong, self-defeating patterns called early maladaptive schemas.  These schemas (stable and enduring patterns of thoughts, emotions and behaviour) impact on mood, self-esteem, and confidence as well as interactions with others and the world.  The aim of Schema Focused Therapy is to reduce the influence of these maladaptive coping styles by modifying early schemas.  Maladaptive schemas may be present when people seem continually stuck in their lives.  They may have feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, depression, or over-dependence on others. They may have long-term relationships problems; for instance always choosing inappropriate partners.

The therapist will initially work with you to understand how your current issues developed and what maintains them now.  Having reached a shared understanding of which schemas are the ones presenting problems, the therapist will work directly and collaboratively with you in identifying and modifying the schema driven thoughts, behaviours and feelings.  This will help you to develop more appropriate and healthy ways of thinking about yourself and others, and help you develop in a more positive direction.

Schema Focused Therapy has a good evidence base for individuals that have long-standing difficulties.
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Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

& Mindfulness-Based Approaches

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, which is pronounced as the word 'act') differs from traditional therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as it helps people to be more accepting or to learn to 'be with' their difficult thoughts, memories and sensations rather than changing them.  Through acceptance and behavioural techniques, people are able to increase their 'psychological flexibility' or ability to react in different ways.  They can begin to just notice and accept their experiences, especially unwanted or distressful ones. The core ideas of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is that psychological suffering is caused at the interface between human language and the control of behaviour.  People become limited by their unhelpful thoughts and habits and this can lead to the avoidance of experiences and actions that prevent them from fulfilling important life values.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy uses a wide range of experiential exercises to undermine the power of habitual thoughts, emotions and behavioural processes, and this includes that of 'mindfulness' techniques which encourage increased awareness of the here and now.  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy uses six core principles to guide psychological treatment: cognitive defusion (becoming more detached from emotional thoughts and feelings); acceptance; increasing contact with the present moment; being more aware of the self; developing personal values; and being more committed in action.

A growing body of evidence shows that cultivating acceptance, mindfulness, and openness to experience is highly effective for the treatment of a range of psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety disorders, diabetes, and chronic pain.  Mindfulness approaches have been found to be particularly heplful for those who experience repeated episodes of depression.
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Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy focuses on unconscious thought processes which manifest themselves in behaviour.  The approach seeks to increase a person's self-awareness and understanding of how the past has influenced present thoughts and behaviours by exploring their unconscious patterns.  Clients are encouraged to explore unresolved issues and conflicts, and to talk about important relationships in their life.
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Systemic and Family Therapy

Systemic and Family Therapy sees people in the context of their patterns of relationships with others rather than as individuals in isolation.  This type of therapy can be used with individual, couples and families and involves thinking about people's difficulties and solutions from a number of different perspectives.
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Counselling

Counselling is a process which gives individuals an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living more effectively with a greater sense of well-being.  Counselling may be concerned with addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crises, working through conflict, or improving relationships with others.
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Motivational Interviewing

This is a directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve their ambivalence about their life problems.  The examination and resolution of ambivalence about changing behaviour is its central purpose.  Other techniques or strategies would be used to carry out committed change.  It can be helpful for people who are struggling with habits that may be detrimental to their well-being such as those with alcohol problems, drug addictions, gambling problems or any other area where people are finding it difficult to consider changes in their behaviour. 
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