I have a relaxed and informal approach to psychological therapy and can often be heard laughing with clients in session. I am experienced working in mental health and the alcohol and other drugs field. In addition, I have training and experience working with clients who have personality disorders or who have experienced trauma at some point in their lives.
Caramello is a therapy dog, who is present in sessions unless it has been requested that she not be present. Caramello’s role is to provide comfort and reduce anxiety. She is very soft and warm to touch, so it is therapeutic be comforted by her when discussing distressing information. If Caramello is not needed, she sits quietly on her mat for the duration of the session.
I work in three main ways, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
CBT increases the awareness of the impact that thoughts and actions can have on emotions and mood. An awareness of thinking and behaviour patterns can assist in changing the way you view and react to issues in life. CBT is known to be very effective in treating anxiety and depression.
EFT works by creating change through an awareness of emotions and how they are experienced in the body. Maladaptive emotional behaviour is explored with the aim of understanding what is driving the emotional reactions and creating a healthier relationship with all emotional states. Research shows that this can be effective in treating depression, trauma and unresolved relationship issues.
When describing ACT I always think of the old saying ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference (Reinhold Niebuhr).’ ACT encourages reflection on personal values and a commitment to pursue actions that lead to a richer, more meaningful life. Strategies to deal with problematic thoughts and emotions include Mindfulness. Mindfulness comes from Eastern traditions and learning to practice it can become a liberating life skill. Mindfulness assists clients to live more ‘in the moment’, rather than be caught up with the stress of modern living. It is particularly helpful for people experiencing depression, anxiety and worry.
I am comfortable with all age groups above 12 years and will work with mature 11 years old. For younger children I will work with the parents to assist with parenting strategies.
I have limited training or experience in family therapy so I mainly work with individuals, but I am happy invite ‘significant others’ in for one or two single sessions if appropriate.
Regarding relationship issues, I work individually but often invite a client’s partner in for one or two sessions, I am not trained in couple’s therapy.
My focus is therapeutic work, so I have limited resources for psychometric testing and I am generally only motivated to test for therapeutic purposes. I am not interested in work that requires comprehensive assessment or lengthy reports.