I have trained in two approaches, cognitive (also described as cognitive behavioural) and psychodynamic (also described as psychoanalytic). I apply these in the most appropriate combination for each client.
Cognitive approaches focus on how we learn to think and behave. Psychological distress can be related to patterns of thinking and behaviour that cause difficulties and therapists often work with clients to identify these patterns and change them.
Psychodynamic approaches focus on the ways early experiences in family relationships can affect our development and well being throughout life. Such experiences can have profound effects that are largely unconscious and therapists often work with clients to understand and ameliorate distress rooted in early experience.
What happens if I decide to start therapy?
When you start therapy, this is what you can expect:
- You will quickly know whether it is the right thing for you. The first one or two sessions are exploratory. By the end of the second session you will know whether therapy is the right thing for you. Almost all clients who continue after this point successfully complete treatment. If you decide not to continue, you could still find the one or two meetings useful in clarifying what you do need, and I may be able to help you by suggesting what to look for.
- You will be clearer about the roots of your problem. You will gain a deeper understanding of the root causes, which is the first step to resolving your problems.
- You will feel progressively more comfortable about self-disclosure. Much of the early work is about creating a setting where you can feel comfortable talking about sensitive issues. This can take time, and I will never force you. As you become more comfortable about disclosure your progress will accelerate.
- You will gain new insights. You will start to spot repetitive, unhelpful patterns of behaviour. You will begin to see why you respond in particular ways in particular situations.
- You will increase your ability to change. As you gain insight, you will find that you can choose to react differently, to experiment with new and more positive behaviours.
My practice of therapy is guided by some basic principles:
- Therapy is fundamentally about a relationship with the therapist. Qualifications, training, theoretical knowledge and mastery of specific techniques are of course essential, but not sufficient in themselves. The essential thing which makes therapy effective is the quality of the relationship that you form with the therapist. I have weekly supervision to be sure that I can do my part to create this therapeutic relationship in the way which works best for you, without pushing you too hard or projecting my needs, fears or prejudices onto you.
- Therapy is a serious commitment. After one or two exploratory sessions you need to take a decision. Continuing means finding the time and money for 12-25 weekly sessions. If you don’t feel able to make this commitment then we will not continue together, but I will do my best to advise you on what you need and where to find it.
- Therapy is not about dogma, schools or rigid techniques. There are many schools of therapy based on different variants of theories and offering different approaches. I believe that almost all of them have something to offer and have trained in two of them, cognitive and analytic. I do not apply a rigid, by the book approach but strive to find, within the techniques I have studied, the right approach for you in that particular moment.