About My Therapy
My training and approach is strongly influenced by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), especially Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).
I am also trained in other CBTs especially ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and CFT (Compassion Focussed Therapy. I am also a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Counsellor, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher.
I view issues from a start point of how you think and behave and the deep-seated beliefs that drive them.
We then work together to address recurring and unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns. Please do read through my information and contact me for more information.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
In CBT, we work together and take an approach focused on actions. This is based on the idea that our unwanted thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours are maintained by what we believe about ourselves, others and the world around us. We look at how these unhelpful beliefs were created, how they are maintained and how they can negatively impact life today.
By identifying and then changing these unhelpful beliefs, you can expect, for example, to feel better, achieve your goals and live a happier and more fulfilled life.
How does CBT work?
If you are feeling or acting in a way that you don’t like, but have been unable to change, CBT will help you to identify and challenge what isn’t working for you. And at the same time, it will help you to identify and reinforce new, rational beliefs that lead to healthier feelings, emotions, thinking and behaviours.
CBT deals mainly with the present and how problems are playing out in your life today. That’s not to say that the past isn’t important or that we gloss over it, we do not and we explore it as thoroughly as it needs to be. But in general, we concentrate on the present and look at problems as they impact today.
Each of us has the capacity to create, control and change our emotional states. Whilst it is impossible to change the past, it is always possible to change what you tell yourself about it. And in the present, if you change your unhelpful core beliefs, whether about yourself, others or the world around you, you will change the way you act, feel and think, both now and in the future.
What is the research basis for CBT?
CBT is supported by clinical research and substantial evidence base supporting its effectiveness. It is used extensively by the NHS and recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), for many emotional and psychological problems, including treatment for anxiety disorders, stress and depression.
Studies have shown that CBT helps around 70-80% of people. If you can accept that although life events clearly have an influence, it is not the event itself that disturbs you, but what you tell yourself about it that disturbs you, then you are more likely to be in that group.
Not only can CBT provide huge relief, it is often instrumental in helping you regain control and manage your life as you wish to.
Counselling helps you to move forward with your life and aims to help you gain perspective on what is troubling you. It provides you with neutral, safe and confidential space to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable.
Counselling allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve things and who has no other agenda than a genuine desire to help you. As a counselor I am is specifically trained to work with people who are struggling with a psychological or emotional difficulty and understand that this can sometimes be frightening and lonely. I work to understand you from your point of view and to see the world through your eyes. I also look beyond the presenting problem to possible underlying causes.
The central aim of counselling is to support you to understand or make sense of these and as a result, ease or change your relationship to the personal pain you are experiencing. We work to change your beliefs, thinking and behaviour to that which is more productive for you.
Counselling is an interactive process that enables you to look at many aspects of your life, relationships and yourself that you may not have considered before or been able to face. Together we identify what might be stopping you from reaching your full potential and what action you might need to take to change your situation.
Choosing the Right Counsellor
You are choosing to seek help and are free to choose the right counsellor and the right type of therapy for you. One sign of a good counsellor is that they will be happy to talk you about the type(s) of therapy they practice (jargon free) and discuss how this might work with your problem. There should be no aura of mystery or vagueness.
My counselling approach is predominantly influenced by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Once we have sufficiently addressed your emotional problems, you may decide that you want to work towards some personal objectives, and if so, CBT and/or coaching are ideal ways to do this.
Hypnotherapy is a guided process of natural relaxation within the body and increased awareness within the mind. It allows your mind to focus inwards and concentrate, stepping over your conscious mind to access your subconscious. You are less aware of the outside world and more concentrated on inner thoughts and emotions, and the mind is more receptive to positive suggestion.
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as part the therapy process to facilitate change, achieve the goals we agree at the beginning of the session and support the resolving of underlying issues. So, positive ideas are suggested which lead to personal change and improvement.
It’s a collaborative process where you are aware throughout the process and allow yourself to follow the guidance of the therapist by using your imagination to focus your mind to evoke positive emotions and rehearse behaviour change to make powerful and profound changes. Despite what is suggested on TV or stage, you cannot be made to do or think anything against your will or against your moral beliefs and everyone can, in principle, be hypnotised.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help You
Hypnotherapy can help with an enormous range of issues. These include:
- Anxiety and stress management
- Pain management
- Overcoming sleep disorders
- Treating certain psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses
- Managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Among many other areas, hypnotherapy is also used for:
- Weight management
- Conquering habits such as nail-biting and smoking
- Skin disorders and allergies
- Managing migraines
- Overcoming phobias such as heights, flying, insects or animals
- Enhancing personal development, such as sports performance, public speaking, increasing motivation, achieving goals
- Changing negative thinking, beliefs or emotions to more useful or positive ones
- Increasing self-esteem, self belief and confidence
- Enhancing creativity
- To enhance meditation or spiritual growth
How long does treatment last?
Hypnotherapy can be a standalone treatment or included as part of psychotherapy, counselling or coaching. On its own, hypnotherapy is probably one of the briefest forms of psychological therapy as it concentrates on defined, specific issues and outcomes and depending upon these, the average number of sessions is between four to six.
What is the evidence for hypnotherapy?
Thousands of positive research studies on hypnotherapy have been published. It was recognised as an effective treatment by the British Medical Association and American Medical Association in the 1950s and more recently, by the American Psychological Association (for obesity) and NICE guidance (for IBS) used by the NHS.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH)
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy (CBH) combines cognitive and behavioural therapies with hypnotherapy. We use mental imagery, habit reversal, problem solving techniques and mentally rehearsing new behaviours as hypnotherapy allows thoughts, behaviours and perceptions to be more flexible.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about learning to wake up to your life so that you are living it in this moment and so begin to untangle the patterns of stress and confusion that we all encounter, improving your ability to engage with our life as it is happening.
We live in such a fast-paced world that many of us live on auto-pilot, multi-tasking our activities whilst thinking about the dozen things, meaning we are only half aware of what we are doing and experiencing at any moment. This means that we can easily get triggered into stress, anxiety and low mood without knowing why or what we can do about it, get stuck and lose connection with ourselves and others too.
Mindfulness invites us to wake up and experience our life without judging it. This doesn’t mean that you stop having judgemental thoughts. Rather, you begin to question whether those judgements are indeed facts. It offers a way of responding to life, so that rather than being constantly pushed and pulled by it, we can find ways of meeting our experience with more balance and ease.
Research has shown that mindfulness can help people reduce their stress levels and protect against depression, as well as manage other health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, eating disorders and addictions. It also improves the immune system and speeds healing. This technique is also now commonly found being used with children in schools and in the workplace.
How I Use Mindfulness in Sessions
I particularly use MBCT which teaches a simple yet radical shift in the relationship to the thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that contribute to relapse in depression and anxiety.
I can also include mindfulness techniques and teaching as part of my integrative therapy approach. I may suggest this to you as part of our work together and as part of your treatment plan. If you would like me to include mindfulness approaches in our sessions, please do ask. I am always happy to include these skills.
What is Life Coaching?
Life Coaching helps you challenge and change anything that is holding you back. It is a liberating and pragmatic journey of reflection, self-discovery and personal growth. It helps you gain clarity and direction for positive change. Coaching concentrates on solutions over problems.
Being results focussed, it helps you move through any challenges or obstacles currently stopping you from achieving what you want. Coaching can help you make decisions and reach goals. These might be related to family life, career, romantic relationships, weight management, spiritual or personal growth, hobbies or education.
Coaching is collaborative and supportive. It assists you to unblock your potential to improve the quality of your life, creating a life for yourself that is more fulfilling, balanced and purposeful. It is about moving from where you are now to where you want to be, so you set the agenda. Just believe or be open to believing that you can succeed. Empowering stuff!
How can Life Coaching help me achieve my goals?
If you already know your goal(s) that’s great. If you are unsure, coaching can help you to define them. Indeed, you might have a nagging feeling that you are dissatisfied with areas of your life but not know exactly where or what to do about it. If so, we take a holistic view of your life to identify and prioritise these areas.
How can Life Coaching help with negative thoughts?
Whilst coaching is outcome focussed, it also works to challenge and work through negative thinking and limiting beliefs – that voice inside your head that prevents you from taking action. Indeed, we often think that we are not worthy of change, or we don’t dare to believe that achieving our goal is possible and so we stay stuck. Acknowledging and challenging what keeps you stuck, frees you to start moving towards where you want to be.
For change to occur, you have to want it and be willing to take responsibility for necessary action, so your commitment is important. If something doesn’t work, we reassess, viewing ‘failure’ as a new opportunity to learn and as valuable feedback. At all times you are supported on your journey.
How much time should I allow?
The average number of sessions required is between six and eight. It is not unusual to achieve a goal, take a break to consolidate and build upon it, and then return to work on another goal. Goals can evolve or change too.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
At the moment you are probably finding that unhelpful thoughts and feelings are more prominent in your life, particularly in certain areas. And these unhelpful thoughts and feelings are currently guiding what you do and the action you take, even if you wish they were not. Whenever you set good intentions or focus on what you’d like or value, the old autopilot thoughts and feelings get in the way and you are put off taking action. Sound familiar?
How does ACT work?
As we work together using ACT, you’ll learn to step out of the autopilot to allow what is important to you (what you value) to become the prominent guide to your behaviour. The old thoughts haven’t necessarily gone away, but they are no longer central to your focus or as inhibiting.
In doing this, your actions are determined by moving towards who or what you care about and moving away from the things that scare and upset you, loosening the hold these currently have on you.
What is the research basis for ACT?
The first book on ACT was written around 20 years ago. Since then ACT has benefitted from a growing evidence base encompassing both randomised trials and systemic reviews. It is evidenced as being effective in wide range of settings – from clinical applications such as individual therapy through to occupational applications in the workplace including teams.
Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT)
It is a human trait to want to be valued, appreciated and accepted rather than devalued, criticised taken for granted or rejected. We didn’t choose this, it’s how our brains evolved to aid survival. Our bodies and brains are set up to learn to respond emotionally to things, which can be positive or negative, of course. So CFT helps us to understand this within the context of our evolution as a species and how the ‘new’ human brain uses language to create a narrative to memories, images and thoughts that can be either detrimental or supportive to us.
CFT works to replace the negative narrative of the ‘inner critic’ that often drives limiting traits such as perfectionism or procrastination with a warmer, kinder voice that encourages and supports. CFT works to help you to understand your mind better (why the human mind works the way it does) and then train it so that unpleasant emotions and moods are easier to regulate, and positive and pleasant emotions are easier to generate. CFT gives us a mindset as well as more helpful ways of relating to ourselves and others. It helps you choose the type of person you want to be and develop ways to make this choice a reality.
What is the research basis for CFT?
Research into the beneficial effects of developing compassion both for the self and for others has advanced hugely in the last 20 years, as evidenced not only by clinical studies and academic review but also the growing numbers of books, talks, courses and mindfulness meditation developed to focus on self and other compassion.