Becoming your own therapist

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

‘You feel the way you think’ (Burns, 1980)

The central tenet of CBT is that interpretations of experiences are based on hypotheses or beliefs rather than facts, and as such make them vulnerable to misinterpretation. These misinterpretations can cause emotional upset and unhelpful behavioural responses.

I tend to integrate CBT by examining your particular underlying beliefs that promote unhelpful thinking patterns that keep you emotionally and behaviourally stuck. Sometimes I may ask you to do some homework as part of the work. CBT is typically used to treat anxiety and depression but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

Psycho-dynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is derived from psychoanalytical theory and psychoanalysis (theories that explain how our personalities develop).

It involves looking at how you may respond to unconscious forces like defenses (strategies that help you to avoid feeling or acting a certain way) and conflict. It focuses on the emotional impact of childhood development and uses the relationship between the therapist and client as a window into problematic patterns in a client’s life. In this form of psychotherapy, importance is placed on understanding oneself. I tend to explore recurring emotional themes and patterns with you and will examine your past experiences and how these contribute to current distress.

Psycho-dynamic therapy tends to improve social functioning, relationships and self-esteem.

Person-Centred Therapy (PCT)

‘The client knows best’ (Dr Carl Rogers)

Person centred therapy was developed by Dr Carl Rogers, an American psychologist, in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The central premise of PCT is that the client is the expert, not the therapist, in knowing what hurts and how to heal from it. This ‘non-directive’ (the therapist does not guide/direct the session) type of therapy enables the client to make contact with their own inner resources, rather than being influenced by the therapist. This will help the client unravel their personal theory (or story) which they have constructed around their own experiencing.

According to this type of therapy, all of us have an innate tendency to find fulfilment in our own personal potentials (self-actualisation); I will help you recognising your own capacity for not only self-healing but personal growth too.

This type of work expects the therapist to be non-judgemental, empathic and genuine and to offer unconditional positive regard and total acceptance of what the client brings. Many belief that these core conditions are key requirements of any type of therapy/therapist and its value is recognised not only in mental health settings but also in medical, educational and occupational settings where the focus shifts away from the (medical) professional who knows best to the client/person and their goals.

Eye Movement Desensitising Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories (Shapiro, 1989).

Nowadays, it is no longer only used for trauma but also other mental and physical disorders. EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables clients to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences by creating ‘bilateral stimulation’ (= engaging both sides of the brain). Bilateral stimulation is typically achieved by eye-movements.

The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health but if the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed by using the bilateral stimulation, healing can take place. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, I will help you activate your brain’s natural healing processes.

Mindfulness for health/pain management

‘Every moment is a new chance’ (Burch/Penman, 2013)

I am trained in teaching you a unique meditation programme that was developed by Vidyamala Burch to help her cope with the severe pain of spinal injury. It teaches you a set of simple practises such as mindfulness meditation, that you can incorporate into daily life to relieve chronic pain and the suffering and stress of illness. Mindfulness can also help reduce anxiety, depression, irritability, exhaustion and insomnia that arises from chronic pain and illness. I will explain concepts such as the doing vs being mode which looks at the tendency to live your life in automatic pilot vs conscious choice and analysing (overthinking) vs sensing. We will also look at habits you may have that stand in the way of being mindful and in the moment. We will also explore your thoughts and feelings with regard to your (ill) health and how these influence and increase your suffering. Some of these principles are also used in my psychology-based pain management approach which will also help you to become aware of boom-bust cycles (doing too much on days you feel well, only to suffer for days after).

Whether you are in good or bad health, these practises help you to relate to your thoughts differently. You will no longer pay so much attention to your thoughts, and this will enable you to connect with your body and breath which promotes a sense of calm and well-being. A daily meditation practice will help increase concentration, promote better sleep, reduce feelings of anger and help you generally feel calmer and centred.

Don’t just take care of your body, look after your mind as well.