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Individual Therapy

The initial sessions of therapy aim to identify the problems you would like to address and any relevant background information. Collaboratively you and your therapist will develop specific and realistic goals that you would like to achieve; these are flexible and constantly under review.

Your therapist’s aim is to develop a shared understanding of the nature of your difficulties, explore the underlying issues that may be the cause and identify any thoughts and behaviours that may be maintaining your problems. Your therapist will create a safe and supportive space that is confidential, empathic and non-judgmental, where you can openly discuss and consider your difficulties.

Psychological therapy can build your resilience and improve your sense of personal wellbeing. Your therapist’s goal is for you to learn a range of practical skills and strategies to manage your problems, and effectively become your own therapist in order to cope with life’s challenges in the present and future.

Therapy is an inclusive label for all forms of treatment for disease or disorder.

Clinical Psychology training allows your therapist the flexibility to draw on a diverse range of psychological theories and practice of cognitive behavioural approaches. There are hundreds of different types of psychological therapies or ‘talking’ therapies currently available but a very small number of these therapies have been proven in scientific studies to be effective. Your therapist will endeavor to develop a treatment that meet your needs and goals, and that use the most current and evidence-based therapies.

These include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Schema focussed Cognitive Behaviour therapy (SFCBT)
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a time limited therapy (average minimum 15-20 therapy sessions) that focuses on ‘here and now’ problems.  It is based on the idea that the way we interpret a situation or event (our thoughts) influences the way we feel emotionally and physically and the things we then do (our behaviour).  Our behaviour can then in turn affect how we feel and think.

There is a wealth of research studies that support the effectiveness of CBT and it is the only therapy with such a large and robust evidence base across a range of problems. It is because of this that The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT as the therapy of choice for anxiety, depressionOCDPTSD and eating disorders, and many more psychological problems.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the ‘new wave’ or ‘third wave’ CBT therapies. It combines aspects of traditional CBT with a range of other psychological techniques including: values, forgiveness, acceptance, mindfulness, compassion,commitment and behavioural change, which in turn leads to symptom reduction. It helps the individual to notice and accept any thoughts, feelings or symptoms and then step back or distance themselves from them. This process allows people to meet the challenges of their life with less resistance and avoidance. By focusing on getting contact with what really matters (a person’s values), ACT encourages commitment to actions that will maximise potential to lead a rich, fulfilling life.

Research studies have found ACT to be effective in the treatment of both mental and physical health problems, including:

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that was initially developed to treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder. A defining feature of Borderline Personality Disorder is the experience of high levels of emotional distress coupled with an inability to tolerate these feelings leading to self-destructive coping strategies, including self-harm.

DBT combines traditional CBT techniques with a range of other strategies aimed at enabling individuals to manage high levels of emotions (e.g. emotional regulation, self-acceptance and nurturing, mindfulness meditation and distress tolerance) and improving interpersonal effectiveness (e.g. communication and assertiveness training). Recognising that some people tend to react more strongly to emotional triggers in their life, it focuses on learning about the triggers of destructive behaviours and thoughts, and acquiring new skills to use in order to react differently.

More recently DBT has been found to be effective in helping people with suicidal ideation, mood disorders, self-harming, eating disorders, victims of childhood sexual abuse, substance misuse problems and much more. It has been shown to be effective even in patients who have proven very difficult to treat, and who sometimes do not seem to want to get better.

Schema Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (SFCBT)

Schema Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (SFCBT) is an extended version of Traditional CBT. Traditional CBT focuses principally of resolving current symptoms and their day-to-day triggers. In many cases this is sufficient to lead to a complete recovery from symptoms, however, in certain incidences where the problem is either very severe or chronic, to achieve similar results it is necessary to address the difficult childhood experiences that underlie the problem.

Initially the individual gains a better understanding of the origin of self-defeating patterns of thinking and behaviour and how they have been maintained. The therapist then aims to assist the person to change and step out of these unhelpful coping strategies.

SFCBT is usually offered after an initial (shorter) programme of traditional CBT which reduces current distress, freeing the individual up to focus on resolving underlying issues, thus achieving long lasting relief from their problems and preventing relapse. The average length of a programme is therefore slightly longer (usually between 25-40 sessions).

Research has shown it to be effective in resolving a range of long standing problems including Borderline Personality Disorder, interpersonal problems, chronic depressionlow self-esteem, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT aims to reduce depressive symptoms and improve the quality of a persons relationships with others. IPT is a structured, here-and-now, goal-focused treatment for depression. IPT is appropriate for people whose current episode of depression has been triggered by or is maintained by interpersonal events.

IPT can help with: 

  • Transitions – any life change where a person has become depressed and unable to adjust to the change. Common examples are relationship breakups, job changes, moving home, changes to health, having a baby.

  • Disputes – this is an active dispute with a significant other e.g. partner, family member, boss.

  • Complicated bereavement – a significant person has died leading to depression and feeling unable to move on.

  • Making and keeping relationships – this is where a person has often struggled for much of their lives to make and keep relationships with others going – not just partners but friends, colleagues, neighbours etc.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy designed to help people understand and move on from difficult events in their lives. It was initially developed for trauma, but now has growing evidence-base for helping people with various mental health difficulties (e.g. anger, addiction, anxiety, depression).

This therapy allows the client to recognise connections between beliefs, memories and feelings that were not previously accessible. These new connections are made because this therapeutic process is less reliant on the client’s rationality. Most of the work stays at an experiential level. Consequently, it offers an alternative to clients that struggle with more cognitive approaches. Clients also like this therapy because there isn’t as much talking as expected in more traditional therapies and progress can be achieved in shorter timeframes.

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