How I work

Life isn’t always easy

In the pressures of the modern world we can find ourselves struggling with difficulties that seem insurmountable on our own.  Whether it’s stress at work, the loss of a loved one, or a change in family circumstances, the impact of difficult events can have a negative effect on how we feel, the way we think, how we behave, or on our physical self.

The hopelessness and helplessness of depression have become all too widespread in modern society, leaving significant numbers of people feeling numb, sad, or lost.

In depression our view of ourselves and the world becomes negative, and the future seems hopeless.  It can be hard to feel motivated to do anything and we may give up doing things that previously gave us pleasure, finding them too hard or seemingly pointless. We may become more tearful or easily irritated, snapping at loved ones we know are trying to help.

Sometimes problems will have a major negative impact on your relationship. I also offer couple therapy to help partners participate in recovery. Often the key to lasting change is to improve your relationship with significant others. I am a qualified Couple Therapy for Depression IAPT Practitioner and offer help to couples struggling with depression and its impact on relationships.

Emotional reactions to stressful events include annoyance, anger, or even rage.  We may lash out, verbally or physically, at those around us, whether at work or in our family.  The way we deal with stress may make matters worse.  That ‘one drink’ after work can soon become ‘one too many’, leaving us even less able to deal with demanding responsibilities.

Anxiety and worry are other common problems.  Panic attacks are intensely frightening and a phobia can be inconvenient or even disabling, depending on circumstances. We may feel powerless to change, avoiding situations we see as increasingly dangerous or potentially humiliating.  We may dread making a speech or giving a presentation, or not feel able to stand up for ourselves against a bullying or demanding boss.

Assertiveness training and interpersonal effectiveness skills can help us feel better able to cope with difficult social situations, widen our social circle, or pluck up the courage to approach someone we like.

How can CBT help?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, has been shown to help with a range of common problems, including depression and anxiety.

CBT is generally a short-term treatment that emphasises the things we can do to help ourselves.  An initial session will usually last up to 60 minutes, during which I will discuss with you the exact nature of the problems you’re having, when things started to get difficult, and ways that you’ve found helpful to cope with similar problems in the past.

Each person is unique, so I’ll also ask you about your current family circumstances, and your family and work history, in order to understand you better.

At the end of the first session we’ll have made a start in trying to uncover the roots of your problems, and more importantly, what is stopping the problem from getting better.

Follow-up sessions are usually scheduled weekly and are also generally of 60 minutes duration.  We’ll discuss a plan of action to help get you back on the road to recovery. This will involve looking both at what you are doing that is either helpful or unhelpful, and whether the way you think about your problems is contributing to your difficulties.

We’ll look at different things you can try, and work out how to put those into action between sessions. One of the reasons why CBT is a shorter-term therapy than many other approaches is because the work you put in between sessions plays a major part in speeding up your recovery.

Treatment is tailored to your specific needs so it is difficult to say in advance how long it may need to be. Some people only want a single session whilst others typically may come for 4-8 sessions.  More rarely treatment can last some months.

One of the ways that CBT differs from other forms of counselling is that we believe that whilst talking about your problems can be a huge relief, it is unlikely to lead to lasting improvement on its own.

That is why I will try both to lend an understanding, sympathetic and non-judgmental ear to your problems, but also help you to find ways to take charge of your own recovery.  My aim is to help you learn to be your own therapist, so that you have the skills and confidence to deal with any problems that arise in the future.

All my work is confidential, subject to the limitations on confidentiality imposed by law and by what professional bodies recognise as best practice. My aim is to ensure my work with you is safe, effective and professional. I therefore receive regular supervision from a senior fellow professional. Client confidentiality is maintained by strict use of anonymity in supervision. I am happy to discuss confidentiality and supervision with you, either on the phone prior to us meeting, or in our initial session, as with any other questions you may have about CBT or counselling.