MY THERAPEUTIC APPROACH
It's not about what's wrong with you, it's about understanding you - and helping you to make sense of your experiences
As a psychologist, my therapeutic work is guided using psychological formulation, which draws on your child's experiences (past and present) and psychological theories and models to enable us to make sense of problems. Often problems can feel difficult to manage for a child because they feel confused by their experience. I can help your child to gain insight into their difficulties and make sense of what has happened to them in the past, or is happening to them now. Increased understanding is the first step to overcoming difficulties and often leads to a sense of empowerment. As a therapist, my approach is collaborative, non-blaming and supportive.
Individually tailored treatment, not one-size-fits-all
My approach to therapy is informed by our psychological formulation and the evidence-base (i.e. what research has shown is an effective treatment approach for a particular problem). The therapy models I most frequently use are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Systemic/Family Therapy, however where appropriate I take an integrative approach and draw upon theories and techniques from other well-recognised therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Narrative Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
A safe space
My knowledge of psychology and ability to flexibly incorporate useful therapeutic techniques into our work together, in a way that your child finds understandable and helpful, is important for effective therapy. However, research has shown that the key factor that predicts successful outcomes in therapy is the strength of the therapeutic relationship. Therefore, building a solid relationship of trust - where your child is able to speak openly and feel truly heard - is always my primary goal. My style of therapy with children is very approachable and collaborative; children typically feel at ease very quickly. I will discuss confidentiality during the first session so that you and your child are completely clear on this and your child can feel safe and secure talking to me in our sessions.
MODELS OF THERAPY
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT is a psychological therapy that aims to help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. When you feel low or anxious, for example, it is common to find yourself engaging in unhelpful thinking patterns or behaviours, which ultimately keep the problem going and are obstacles to your recovery. There is a strong evidence-base for the effectiveness of CBT as a treatment for many mental health difficulties, including anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, OCD and PTSD. Within this approach, I would work with your child to formulate the onset and maintenance of their current problems and identify contributing problematic thinking patterns and behaviours. I would then help them to modify these using various cognitive and behavioural techniques, enabling them to develop different, more helpful ways of thinking and behaving that lead to increased well-being. CBT is typically a short-term, goal-oriented therapy designed to reduce your psychological distress and equip a person with a range of skills and useful coping mechanisms which they can continue to use to maintain their improved mental health after therapy ends. CBT can generally be used effectively with children from about 10 years and older. With younger children, Behavioural Therapy (or adapted CBT) is usually more suitable.
Useful for: anxiety, low mood, depression, panic, stress, OCD, PTSD, phobias, sleep difficulties, anger, self-harm, dissociation
Systemic/Family Therapy is a psychological therapy that is helpful when an individual has a problem which is affecting others within the family, e.g. depression or behavioural issues. It is also an appropriate approach to address family-wide problems such as conflicts between parents and children, siblings, or spouses. It can also help with stressful life events such as separation, divorce or bereavement. In family therapy sessions, my focus with you would be on exploring the relationships and patterns of interactions that are occurring. Often misunderstandings and miscommunication are key contributors to psychological distress and relationship difficulties. Family/systemic therapy can increase understanding, empathy and communication within family relationships, reduce conflict, facilitate problem solving, and increase the strength of the family unit.
Useful for: low mood or depression (self or family member), behavioural difficulties, family relationship problems and conflicts, breakdown in communication, coping with separation/divorce/loss, eating disorders
Often an integrative approach to therapy may be agreed as most suitable - for example, where difficulties are more complex, or alternatively where the issue that brings your child to therapy is more relational or about adjusting to life changes (e.g. divorce, bereavement, friendship issues). Within this approach, therapy will be informed flexibly by theories and ideas from well-recognised psychological approaches e.g. CBT, systemic/family therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
Useful for: wide range of difficulties ranging from the simple to the complex.