I tailor treatment to the individual, drawing on the following evidence-based treatments:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short term, action oriented treatment which emphasises the role of thoughts (or cognitions) in the development and maintenance of psychological problems. In CBT, negative or maladaptive thought patterns produce difficult emotions, which in turn often lead to counter-productive behaviours. For example, if you have the thought “nobody likes me”, you are likely to feel sad or badly about yourself. This may lead you to withdraw or keep more to yourself which then reinforces the cognition that nobody likes you. When we are depressed, our thoughts become distorted and we tend to become overly negative about ourselves, the world around us and our future. Treatment focuses on changing an individual’s thought processes so that they are less distorted, more adaptive and realistic. In turn, people tend to feel better about themselves, which usually results in them engaging in more productive, healthier behaviours.
MBCT combines the ideas of cognitive behaviour therapy (see above) with meditative practices, such as mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. MBCT helps people to focus on all incoming thoughts and feelings and accepting them, but not attaching or reacting to them. By becoming an observer of our thoughts, we create some distance or separation from our thoughts such that we are better able to evaluate their usefulness or validity i.e. we are less controlled by our thoughts.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. Rather than avoiding and trying to minimise painful experiences, ACT encourages people to accept that pain (emotional and physical) is inevitable in life and while we may not want it, we are better off accepting it than engaging in a struggle to avoid it. The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich and full life by helping people to develop a clear set of values which then guide their behaviours accordingly.

This therapy is based on CBT (see above), which examines the influence of our thought processes on our behaviour and feelings., Schema therapy differs from CBT in that it focuses on how unhelpful thought patterns were initially established. If basic emotional needs are not met in childhood, a person will develop certain belief systems or “schemas” about themselves and their relationships.

For example, if a child is emotionally deprived because her parents are unable to meet her need for love, affection and nurturance, she may grow up believing that she is not worthy of love and nurturance from others. She may then continue to enter into unfulfilling, unloving relationships as a result of this ‘old’ schema.  Schema therapy focuses on uncovering these unhealthy belief systems with the goal of changing self-defeating patterns. In this way, new choices become available and the individual can move forward, no longer driven by maladaptive schemas.

Object relations theory maintains that as adults we relate to people and situations in a way that stems from our early relationships with our primary caregivers. Therapy helps draw these early experiences into our conscious awareness so that we can see how these early experiences may be shaping the way we behave and respond to others. With greater insight, self-awareness and understanding, comes improvement in a person’s relationships with themselves and others

Psychodynamic therapy is a longer-term, more in-depth form of therapy, which explores not only conscious thoughts processes, but also more unconscious material. By exploring a person’s childhood, the therapist helps the patient to understand how patterns of thinking and behaving may have originated. . It is a useful modality to help individuals overcome childhood patterns that are impacting on current behaviour. Therapy helps individuals gain insight and rework, rather than repeat, unhelpful patterns.

The relationship between the therapist and client is also used to better understand why and how we behave. The therapist serves as a blank slate onto which the client can transfer feelings in order to work through them.

My preferred way of working is a longer term therapy to work with people being the most authentic version of themselves. In essence this is best captured by Brene Brown with the following quote:

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.”

Brene Brown (2010)