Although they can get crowded at lunchtime, there are many spots in the City where you can take a moment to reflect and collect your thoughts. Take a look at the City of London Tour on the website of the London Gardens Trust.
I take an integrative approach to my work and incorporate aspects from different schools of therapy depending on your individual needs and goals.
My training and experience working as a Counselling Psychologist has provided me with knowledge and skills in a number of different therapeutic approaches including Person-Centred Therapy, Psychodyanamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Since completing my clinical training and qualifying as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist I have engaged in additional training in Mindfulness-Based approaches and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitation and Reprocessing) Therapy. The knowledge and the experience I have gained throughout the years enables me to adapt my approach to suit the needs of each individual that I meet.
Counselling psychology draws on psychological theory and research in therapeutic work to help people with a variety of problems such as mental health conditions and difficult life stressors. Counselling Psychologists work collaboratively with individuals in a holistic and insightful way to enable them to consider change. The therapeutic relationship which is characterised by trust, respect and appreciation for the individuality of the client and their unique world view is at the core.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes influence your feelings and behaviours. For example, if you interpret an event in a negative way then you are more likely to experience upsetting feelings which may then lead you to act in an unhelpful way. Over time, if unchallenged, this can lead to a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, painful feelings and unhelpful behaviours.
Negative thinking patterns have their roots in our early experiences. For example, Tom’s parents may have been having some marital difficulties when he was young. They may not have had much time for him, sending him to watch television rather than paying him attention. This may have lead Tom to develop an underlying self-belief that he is not loveable. When an event occurs in Tom’s adult life (e.g. his girlfriend wishes to go out with her friends rather than spend the evening with him) his underlying negative self-belief may be triggered. Once triggered, Tom’s thoughts become negative and unhelpful which leads to painful feelings. As a result, Tom may argue with his girlfriend (potentially damaging the relationship) or spend the evening alone becoming increasingly sad and depressed.
In CBT we work together to identify and challenge these unhelpful thinking patterns and help you to develop more effective coping strategies for managing problematic behaviours.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Mindfulness was introduced into western medicine by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as a way to cope with stress, chronic pain and illness.
Although mindfulness has its roots in Eastern philosophy, it does not conflict with any beliefs or traditions (religious or cultural). Simply put, mindfulness is a way to notice thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, sights, sounds, or smells that we might not normally notice. Although simple, mindfulness takes a lot of practice as our minds are not used to behaving in this way.
All too often we operate on “automatic pilot”. Think about those times that you have walked or driven a familiar route arriving at your destination then realising that you do not recall how you got there. Notice where your mind is right now. Is it in this present moment or have you wondered off into the future, planning what you will be doing when you have finished reading this? Or have you perhaps floated back into the past, recalling long-ago memories or more recent events?
Being on “automatic pilot” makes it more likely that our buttons will be pressed. We can end up feeling angry, sad or depressed without really knowing what has triggered it. Learning the skill of mindfulness can enable us to stay in the present moment, freeing us from the tyranny of our judgmental minds and enabling us to be fully present in the here and now.
The aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious into consciousness, helping the individual to understand their true feelings in order to resolve them. In psychodynamic therapy the view is taken that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories that are too difficult to process. In order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface, we develop psychological defences (e.g. denial) which can often do more harm than good.
In psychodynamic therapy we aim to maintain an equal relationship with the client, adopting an attitude of unconditional acceptance and aiming to develop a trusting relationship. This encourages the client to open up and explore unresolved issues and conflict hidden in their unconscious that are affecting their mood and behaviour.
Person Centred Therapy comes from the Humanistic school of therapy. It was developed by psychologist Dr Carl Rogers. Originally seen as non-directive, Rogers moved away from the idea that the therapist was the expert and towards a theory that trusted the innate tendency of human beings to self-actualise (achieve their full potential) given the right environment.
Rogers described the right environment as one in which someone felt free from physical or psychological threat. He felt that this environment could be achieved by offering someone a relationship that was deeply understanding, accepting and genuine. According to Rogers these core conditions are both necessary and sufficient for change to occur.
Whichever therapeutic approach I use, these core conditions underpin all my work.
Please see my separate page on this here.
In addition to my face-to-face work with clients, I offer clinical supervision to other qualified psychologists and counsellors as well as trainee psychologists and student counsellors. I am on the Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS).