In contrast to physical health problems, psychological distress is so often hidden. My experience in working with people has led me to believe that the strength of a problem is often in direct contrast to the strength of the outward persona seen by others. I’ve worked with many successful, highly functioning people who feel desperately overwhelmed or lonely behind closed doors.
I believe that the bravery in honestly acknowledging a problem with a therapist is the first step to overcoming a coping mechanism that has at best ceased to be effective, and at worst become destructive and isolating. I aim to create a safe and non-judgemental relationship with my clients, from which we can explore their readiness to change and find alternative ways of managing life at their best potential.
While I primarily work using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), the first step is to create a trusting relationship that can allow you to share the feelings that have become difficult and painful. Once established together, in CBT we will look at the way in which specific thoughts and beliefs (cognitions) can lead to behaviours that may be keeping you stuck. Understanding your thoughts and behaviours can help us to think about alternative ways of thinking and being that may allow you to feel better. CBT can be a very proactive, ‘here and now’ approach, and one which has been shown to be very effective for many people.
Some clients may want to reach a deeper understanding of the historical context in which problems in their day to day life have developed. In CAT therapy, there is an initial exploration of early experience and relationships with key people in your life. This helps us understand how you have learnt to relate in particular ways, and identify how these relationship patterns may now be holding you back. We then experiment with new ways of relating in your current situation.
Whatever approach we use, I have a strong belief that therapy should not be about becoming stuck in analysis of the past or apportioning blame, but rather should be time limited and focused on identifying goals and strategies for the future, which can be used long after the therapy has ended. My job is to help people reach a clear understanding of their difficulties and coping strategies, so that they can let go of the past, and have increased choices in how they think and behave going forward.