Therapeutic approaches

As a Clinical Psychologist I have undergone years of educational and practical training that enables me to understand and integrate various therapeutic approaches. I can offer therapeutic interventions informed by the following frameworks:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)– When we go through traumatic incidents our brain is overwhelmed and not always able to process the events in the usual way and thus memories of these events become ‘stuck’. The memories then can be re-experienced by an individual even years after the event in intense ways, for example, through flashbacks, nightmare or intrusive thoughts about the past. The memories often feel like the event is actually happening all over again. The aim of EMDR is to help the brain to process these memories and let them become what they are meant to be: more distant, less vivid and less distressing memories.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)– CBT is underpinned by an understanding that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours are interconnected, and that our appraisal of situations and unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts can trap us in a vicious cycle. CBT cannot resolve all of our problems, but it can help us to cope with them in a more positive and helpful way. CBT focuses more on present problems rather than past issues and helps us to improve our mind-set.

An example of CBT problem description (formulation)

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Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)– CAT is time-limited therapy that aims to identify current problems and how they developed. Often the roots lie in early life experiences and important relationships. CAT postulates that during early life we would have learnt how to survive difficult and often overwhelming emotions in particular ways and that this learning would take place through relating to others, we would create a ‘blueprint’ on how to deal with relationships and situations. These ‘blueprints’ might have been functional in the past but sometimes, as we grow older, we try to apply these in new situations for which they were not developed and we find ourselves stuck in repeating patterns, for example always choosing partners of certain types, withdrawing to ourselves when feeling under pressure or threatened etc. CAT helps us to gain insight into the past, into our developmental journeys and it helps us to create new ways of coping every time it is needed, thus creating flexibility in life even after therapy has ended.

An example of CAT problem description (formulation)

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)– Sometimes psychological suffering is a result of an unrealistic mind-set, but sometimes it is a result of adverse life events and in these situations ACT therapy is particularly helpful. The main message of ACT is to accept what we cannot change, what is out of our control, and focus and commit our energy to improving and enriching our life. ACT helps us to deal with or approach painful thoughts and feelings differently and helps us to identify what is truly important for us and move towards our values rather than away from our problems. Sometimes the more we try to fight a situation the more entrapped we feel.

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Sometimes we need to let go of the rope…

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) –DBT focuses on changing unhelpful behaviour such as self-harm, suicidal thinking and strong emotional reactions. DBT works on the assumption that every one of us tries the best to deal with life and distress, but sometimes we lack the skills to function in a positive way. DBT enables us to learn and increase our capacity for cognitive and emotional regulation. DBT combines CBT techniques of emotional regulation and distress tolerance with mindful awareness, and is one of the few approaches that have been shown to be helpful for people with emotionally unstable/borderline personality disorder.

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