Clinical psychologists often use different psychotherapies to target mental health difficulties. I like to work flexibly and incorporate elements of different approaches, which means that you are more likely to receive a service that is tailored to your needs.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT proposes that the way an individual thinks or perceives a situation affects how they feel and how they behave. For example, if you interpret something negatively then you are more likely to have negative feelings which lead to you behaving in a particular way. These elements then combine to become a continuous cycle. CBT works on challenging unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns and changing unhelpful behaviour that maintains your difficulties.
CBT has a focus on the present, but also on the past, in terms of how your past experiences shape how you view the world.
Please see mind.org.uk for further information about CBT.
Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
When you are stuck in a problem it can be difficult to see how you would prefer things to be. A solution focused approach helps you to think about what you want from life, and the steps you need to take in order to get there. SFT works with your strengths, on the things you are already doing well but have perhaps lost sight of. Another aspect focuses on the exceptions to the problem, so the times when the problem isn’t occurring or is more manageable, and what you are doing to bring that about.
Please see brief.org.uk for further information about SFT.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully engaged in the present moment. This is important because much of human distress is rooted in spending too much time ‘in your head’, ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Research has shown that by getting out of your head and spending more time fully engaged in your surroundings, you are likely to feel happier and less stressed. With regular practice, you should feel more able to manage your thoughts and feelings, and subsequently feel more ‘free’.
Please see www.mindful.org for further information about mindfulness.
Psychodynamic and Attachment Informed Approaches
Psychodynamic approaches look for underlying reasons for emotional distress and relationship difficulties. They are based on the assumption that part of your mind (your ‘unconscious’) operates outside conscious awareness and that early life experiences are central to later development. The therapeutic relationship is generally the vehicle through which therapeutic changes happen. People who benefit most tend to want to develop more self-awareness and are motivated to engage in the process, even if it causes emotional pain.
Similarly, attachment informed approaches help adults and children understand how their initial attachment relationship with their primary caregiver (usually their parent), has met their emotional and psychological needs, and how this has impacted on their subsequent experiences and relationships. Again, the therapeutic relationship plays a key role in bringing about change.
Please see www.thebowlbycentre.org.uk for further information about attachment and psychodynamic informed approaches.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is probably best known for helping individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but can also be used to help a range of other difficulties such as low self-esteem, anxiety or feelings of powerlessness. The idea is that mental distress is often triggered by difficult memories that the brain has struggled to process properly. EMDR helps the brain reprocess these memories so that you can begin to heal.
During EMDR you are asked to follow the clinician’s hand or lightbar as it moves across your field of vision whilst you hold an event or thought in mind. As this happens internal associations develop and you begin to process the memory and, in turn, your distress. It is a process that is believed to involve similar biological mechanisms to those involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
Please see emdr-europe.org for further information about EMDR.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Informed Approaches
DBT is similar to CBT but has been adapted for individuals who have personality difficulties or who experience their emotions very intensely. The ‘dialectical’ element is about how two apparently contradictory things can both be true. For example, accepting yourself but at the same time seeking to make changes may seem like opposites. DBT is about how you can achieve both goals together. It focuses on helping you develop skills to regulate your emotions, manage your distress, develop interpersonal effectiveness skills and become more mindful.
Please see www.dbtselfhelp.com for further information about DBT.
How To Get In Touch
If you would like to discuss therapeutic options, then please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone.
If you wish to be seen in person I am happy to meet with you at my home clinic or at Sutton Medical Consulting Centre in Sutton Coldfield (see suttonmedicalconsulting.co.uk).