My approach

Psychologists guide people to make useful changes in their lives using in-depth knowledge about scientific theories of human behaviour, and all psychologists have their own therapeutic style.

Knowing more about my approach to treatment will help put you in a better position to decide whether I’m the right psychologist for you and your situation.

Compassionate, gentle and change-oriented

I describe my approach as gentle, compassionate and change-oriented. It’s also collaborative – my aim is to empower you.

I have in-depth knowledge of a wide range of therapeutic frameworks.

I collaborate with a range of academics to write scientific papers on mental health, which means I stay up to date with current best practices. You can feel at ease that I will only adopt the therapeutic approaches that are backed up by the most recent, and best available, research evidence.

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My therapeutic approach

I draw upon a number of theories  to help you.

The first step in making useful changes involves you telling me your story. I can then map out the issues you’ve developed, understand what keeps them going, and look at the influence of environmental circumstances and earlier factors in your life.

As you can imagine, it’s a detailed process and is ongoing throughout therapy. However, once I’ve understood your ‘life map’, I can guide you to change your life with strategies that follow scientific principles.

One important framework I use in my practice is called Cognitive Behaviour therapy or CBT. This is one preferred approach because it’s supported by research – CBT is widely regarded as the treatment of choice for anxiety and mood disorders based on 50 years of accumulated evidence.

The main idea of CBT is to teach you skills to change things on these three levels: thinking, emotions and unhelpful behaviours.

Emotions have three parts

Someone with an irrational fear of public speaking may fear that they will muck up and others will judge them. That’s the thinking part.

This fear is accompanied by a range of bodily reactions like nausea, racing heart, breathlessness, shaking, and blushing, that’s the feeling part.

The patient’s solution to the problem is the behavioural response. In anxiety, that solution is often to avoid the situation of public speaking at all costs (which unfortunately has the unwanted effect of making the fear stronger and more persistent).

My approach in action

So, how does this all actually work? What is a psychological tool or strategy?

Every person is different, and there is no one-size fits all approach to the techniques that we would use in therapy. Each treatment plan I develop is unique, flexible, and tailored to meet your needs.

However, I can illustrate how things may work by going back to the example of someone who fears public speaking.

Thought strategy

I might work with a client to understand how their thoughts regarding a past, negative experience with public speaking is contributing to ‘negative self-talk’ in the lead up to a presentation. I might then work with the client to challenge their thinking, and develop a set of compassionate and helpful self-statements to use in the lead up to a presentation.

Emotion strategy

I might work with a client to develop an effective plan to cope with strong emotion and physiological reactions in the lead up to a presentation, including deep breathing techniques in combination with use of calming visual imagery.

Behaviour strategy

Once a client has developed tools to manage socially anxious thoughts and feelings, continued gradual practice of public speaking is essential. One strategy to help could involve videotaping the client giving a presentation and then having the client watch the footage. At other times someone might audio record their presentation for trusted friends and family to listen to.

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Learn more

Find out more about CBT and other related approaches that I use in my work:

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