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Therapy approaches
THE NUTS & BOLTS

Trained in a range of therapy approaches, outlined below, I integrate and tailor therapy to each individual.

Whatever we do in therapy we will always make space to explore important parts of your life story and increase understanding of how this might impact what you are experiencing in the here and now. Understanding what is going on can help you to develop new perspectives and increase psychological well-being, it also informs what approaches we might use as we move through therapy and seek change. The relationship between ourselves (the therapist and client) is an important part of the process of therapy, so I place emphasis on building a trusting, respectful, and compassionate space.

EMDR Therapy

This is a gold standard therapy for treating trauma, but has also been found to be helpful for other difficulties such as anxiety, OCD, grief and phobias.

EMDR uses the natural healing ability that exists with in our bodies and minds. When we experience something that we find traumatic, or particularly distressing, our body and brain hold these differently from less stressful events, meaning we don't process them fully, and they can continue to impact on us day to day.

EMDR supports the brain to make the connections it needs to to heal and process the memories.  This is done through using something called 'bi lateral stimulation',  usually eye movements (e.g., following something from left to right using your eyes) or gentle tapping. Initially, you will be guided to build up resources to manage any difficult emotional experiences that you might experience, before moving on to addressing the difficult experiences, all the while being guided by the therapist.

Many people find that memories lose their emotional intensity, and become a thing that happened that stays solidly in the past, rather than being re-triggered in the present moment.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy 
(ACT)

This approach recognises that we can easily becoming disconnected from the things that are important and meaningful to us as we try to navigate our tricky human lives. We often find ourselves caught up in difficult thoughts, emotions, feelings, and inner stories about who we are, or who we should be - where we become tangled up in these internal experiences, we can find it difficult to move towards what is important to us. 

ACT offers ways to increase your ability to respond to and manage unpleasant thoughts and emotions, and overcome avoidance. Alongside spending time understanding how your difficulties have come about, it uses many techniques such as mindfulness (present moment attention), acceptance and visualisation. It also supports you in exploring who you are as a person, what is meaningful to you, and making moves towards living a life more aligned with this.

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Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

The aim of this approach is to promote psychological health and reduce suffering by
developing skills to respond compassionately towards ourselves (including our inner
experiences) and others. 


When we are distressed, or have difficult life experiences, our minds often become in
a state of threat – this might manifest as loud and unrelenting critical self-talk, physical
tension, or feelings of shame, guilt, anger, or anxiety, that impact our day-to-day life. Sound familiar?  In this state of threat, our whole body and mind struggles to find ease. In CFT we aim to bring some balance to our system, sooth ourselves, and reduce threat.

The power of compassion and caring to promote physical and mental health is not a new one – in fact, it has been around for thousands of years in cultures, around the globe. Modern Western psychology, neuroscience and theories of human development are now backing up its positive impact on the nervous system, mind, and life more broadly.

 

Some of the approaches used in CFT are mapping out how life experiences have impacted your current experience, learning about the body and mind, breathing and body practices to regulate the nervous system, attention training, understanding the multiple parts of ourselves, writing (e.g., letters, journals, recording experiences), and mindfulness.
 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This therapy approach emphasises that how we think about situations affects the
way we feel and behave. CBT looks at identifying the connections between your thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and physical sensations to uncover patterns that might be keeping your difficulties going.  


CBT focuses on teaching you skills and strategies to help change thinking and behaviour, such as understanding unhelpful thinking, challenging types of thinking, understanding what underlying beliefs and scripts about yourself might be keeping difficulties, and changing behaviours.
 

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Stone Tower

Mindfulness

Mindfulness runs through many therapeutic approaches used today. Mindfulness is a human ability we all have – it is to be fully present and aware of where we are, what we are doing, and what we are experiencing, whilst taking a non-judgemental, curious, and kind attitude.

 

For many of us, particularly in modern day life, we find that we often become disconnected from the present moment, drawn into thoughts about the past or future, caught up in our emotions, or even physical sensations. It can become even trickier to live life in the here and now when we experience emotional or physical distress (we want to get away from the present when we have these unpleasant experiences!).


When we are going through life without awareness, we can find ourselves in
habitual patterns of behaviour, unaware of the choices we have moment by moment,
and missing out on opportunities to live well. Mindfulness-based approaches use meditations and guided practices to train the attention to notice what is showing up in the here and now, bring awareness to our experiences, and increase our choice in how to respond to difficult stuff that shows up. Evidence shows that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress (in the body and mind), improve well-being, reduce emotional reactivity, and help us navigate day-to-day tasks and relationships more effectively.

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