I am a qualified Cognitive Behaviour Psychotherapist accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. I have experience of working within NHS mental health settings since 2006 and have been delivering Cognitive Behavioural interventions since 2008.
I have extensive experience in treating people with varied emotional problems, with differing severities and across a range of ages.
I specialise in treating clients with Depression and Anxiety Disorders, most typically: Specific/Social Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Health Anxiety/Hypochondriasis. I am also trained to deliver CBT for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, post natal illness and Low Self Esteem. I have undergone additional training to deliver CBT for people experiencing long term health conditions for example Chronic Fatigue, IBS and chronic pain. I also have experience in working with carers, older adults and younger people (16 years plus).
I have experience in working with a range of problems not exclusive to this list and aim to tailor treatment to an individual’s needs. CBT is an adaptable treatment and individuals often find they can use skills learnt through treatment in all areas of their lives.
I am also an experienced CBT supervisor. I have mentored and supervised trainee therapists throughout their training as well as providing quality supervision to qualified practitioners.
I completed my Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at Anglia Ruskin University. I was fortunate that teaching was led by field experts from the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. I strive to ensure my skills are kept up to date by attending regular CPD events and am passionate about continued learning.
I enjoy working with individuals who are motivated to make changes but appreciate change is difficult and at times overwhelming. I believe feeling comfortable with your therapist is paramount to your therapy experience and is significant in whether treatment is effective. I will take time to understand your concerns and help you feel supported during the process of therapy.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an evidence based treatment recommended by NICE for a range of emotional problems.
CBT focuses on reducing emotional distress by understanding the link between our thoughts, our mood, body and behaviour.
For example, when we feel low or anxious, our mood can affect the types of thoughts we have. We tend to experience more negative thoughts or worries, which usually make us feel worse. Low mood and anxiety distort our thinking and can interfere with our ability to perceive things factually.
When we are feeling distressed, its natural for us to do things to make ourselves feel better. These behaviours could include wanting to be alone, to drink alcohol or to avoid a situation. It is not uncommon for all of us to feel upset, sad, stressed or anxious at times. However when negative thinking and behaviour is repeated, we can develop unhelpful patterns which can be difficult to change.
The first aim of treatment is to help you gain an thorough understanding about your current difficulties, what is maintaining the problem, and how and why it has developed. When you have been experiencing and living with a problem for some time, it can be difficult to stand back and view things in an objective way. In fact, sometimes, some of the things we do, and ways we try to understand our own problems can make the problem worse in the long term. In CBT, we call these vicious cycles.
Once you have gained better insight into your difficulties, CBT focuses on teaching you skills and techniques to create changes, breaking these vicious cycles. For example, although we cannot prevent unhelpful or negative thoughts entering our mind, we can learn to respond to these differently, alter and question them which ultimately can change the impact they have on the way we feel. Similarly, we can learn how to behave and respond differently and notice the impact this change can have on our emotional wellbeing in the long term.
Cognitive Behaviour therapy is a collaborative process and is structured in a way that will help you work towards your goals which are agreed at the beginning of treatment.
Starting and engaging in therapy can be challenging. It takes time and effort, and in some cases you may notice that symptoms can feel worse before they get better. To help with this, treatment will be designed and managed at the right pace for you so you do not feel overwhelmed.
Above all, effective treatment should enable you to feel better, more positive and in control.
Following a brief telephone call or conversation over email, we will agree a convenient time to meet for your initial assessment. Assessments last 50 minutes. We will discuss your current problems in detail and make a decision about best treatment. As well as me getting a better understanding of your problems and goals, you should also gain an understanding of cognitive behaviour therapy and what would be involved in treatment.
If we agree that CBT could be helpful for you, we will negotiate how many sessions it is likely you may need. A course of treatment typically ranges between 6 and 20 sessions. This will depend on your individual problem, goals, and usually, the severity of the problem.
At assessment there may be reasons why we agree that CBT may not be the best suitable treatment approach for you. If this is the case I hope to be able to advise you of alternative services that may be better suited to your needs. As I have worked within the local community for several years, I have a good awareness of statutory and charity organisations I can put you in touch with.
At Each Session
Sessions also last 50 minutes. We would usually start each session by setting an agenda which will help guide us how to use the time we have. This allows us to prioritise what’s important to you, as well as allowing time for me to introduce techniques and ideas to move therapy forward, as directed by your goals.
As CBT is a goal focused and structured approach, it is usual we would agree certain tasks for you to practice in between sessions. It has been proven that treatment is likely to be more successful the more you practice techniques independently. It can be helpful for clients to make notes, or even audio record their sessions, so this may also be encouraged throughout treatment.
Typically, it is advised that treatment sessions would be arranged weekly to start. As your treatment progresses, it may be that sessions are spaced further apart to allow you time to practice techniques and out of session tasks that we may have set in the previous session. This is again negotiated and arranged to your convenience.
Sometimes, sessions can take place outside of the therapy room. Depending on your problem, it may be necessary to plan a session somewhere which may provoke uncomfortable feelings, to test unhelpful thoughts or to practice putting new techniques into action. This is something that would be planned in the therapy room in advance.
Please be assured that client confidentiality is extremely important to me. Sharing personal information can be anxiety provoking and I endeavour to provide a nurturing environment for you to be able to share information as comfortably as possible. Any information you share with me will be kept confidential with the exception of anything that may give me concern about your safety or the safety of others. If for any reason I need to break confidentiality I would alert you to this.
In accordance with BABCP regulations I am required to attend regular supervision to ensure effective and safe practice. Information shared with my supervisor contains no identifiable information.
In order to manage my own records, I do store your information in form of paper notes to aid and assist our sessions. Please be assured your details are held confidentiality and meet the requirements set by the BABCP and GDPR.
As an accredited member of the BABCP I adhere to all code of conduct and ethics.
Assessments and treatment sessions are £70. Each last approximately 50 minutes.
Payment is required by cash or cheque at the end of the session. Payment by BACS is accepted however needs to be paid in advance of the session.
I am affiliated and registered with a number of private health insurers which include AXA, Aviva and Nuffield Health. If you are covered by private health insurance please contact me or them and we will be able to advise you of the next steps.
Sessions are scheduled for your convenience however, it is understandable that you may need to cancel your appointment for certain reasons. I request as much notice as possible should you need to rearrange your appointment. In most cases we can usually find an alternative time to meet. If however you cancel your appointment with less than 24 hours notice, you will be required to pay the full session cost.
Similarly if for any reason I need to cancel our appointment I will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible.
If you are covered by private health insurance, I will advise you of their terms of cancellations when we meet.
I'm not sure whether CBT is for me or not. How do I know?
CBT is an adaptable treatment and can be tailored to treat a range of problems not exclusive to the conditions listed. It is however not guaranteed to be effective for everyone. There are a range of reasons why CBT may not be suitable for you. This is why I offer an initial telephone/email conversation to help assess whether I feel it would be beneficial for you to book an assessment. This also gives you the opportunity to ask me any questions you may have without committing to an appointment.
What if I have had CBT before, can it be helpful again?
Absolutely. Previous effective or ineffective treatment is not necessarily an indicator on whether treatment would be helpful now. Depending on the type of problem that was previously worked on, the timing of therapy, the type of therapist you saw and how this was delivered these are all factors which may contribute to whether treatment was effective. Please contact me if you are unsure.
Isn't it just positive thinking?
No. Cognitive Behaviour therapy does not teach or encourage positive thinking. It focuses on helping to rebalance unhelpful biased thinking by challenging the way we make sense of situations. Anxiety and depression can prevent us from thinking logically so CBT aims to help us determine fact from feeling, helping us make a more informed choice about how to respond.
My problem isn't listed, can you help?
Quite possibly. The list of problems detailed on this site is not an exclusive list of conditions CBT may be helpful for. Quite often people present with a range of difficulties which typically don't meet a medical diagnosis. This can make it more frustrating and can often prevent someone seeking help. An assessment will help to make sense of your current symptoms and provide you with the space to explore things further.
Do you only offer face to face appointments?
No. I have successfully provided treatment to clients over the phone or through Skype. This enables therapy to be flexible and meet the demands of juggling other commitments.
I have private health insurance, am I covered?
I am registered with a number of private medical insurers. Please contact me for more information.
What if CBT doesn't help?
Following assessment, I would only offer to start treatment if I felt that CBT could be helpful. However, it is impossible to guarantee that you will make improvements you seek from that appointment. This is why we would schedule regular reviews throughout treatment. This enables us to reflect on your experience, whether we think it is helping and whether we are achieving your set goals. If at any point in treatment you or I felt that CBT is not helping, we would discuss this at the earliest point and explore alternative options. I have years of experience working with people in a mental health settings and am able to signpost you to alternative support.
If you feel you would like to have an assessment to discuss possible treatment, please do not hesitate to contact me on:
07834183591 or email@example.com
I currently have premises in Hemel Hempstead and offer flexible hours for appointments.