Therapies offered

therapies offered 2

I have outlined the therapies I offer below. Although each approach differs in significant ways, there are many overlaps between all of them. I will integrate strategies from different therapies as and when needed, with the aim of providing you with the best possible experience. At the heart of a good therapy is a strong, trusting relationship between therapist and client and this is why I always encourage people seeking help to find someone they have a good connection with.


Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

I have recently completed formal in-depth training in this model through IFS-UK which has allowed me to safely and confidently integrate this way of working into therapy sessions. This approach is relatively new to the UK but has been in development for over 40 years. Although IFS has similarities with other therapies, it also brings something radically different to the process of healing and change. People often intuitively understand the basis of this model, which is that we all have ‘parts’ to our selves, our inner worlds. Sometimes these parts can have opposing, conflicting values, memories, experiences and intentions – this is completely normal. For example, you might have a part that really wants to get fit and healthy, and another part that can’t think of anything more awful than exercising and eating healthily. Sometimes there are certain parts of us that are frequently in the driving seat of our lives and our consciousness, such as the parts that organise our diaries, social lives, work and so on. Other times we may feel hijacked by vulnerable, lonely, hopeless or traumatised parts, which can be overwhelming. When we become overwhelmed, other parts can step in to try to create some distance from intense emotions. These parts might appear as more extreme behaviours such as substance use and abuse, eating too much or too little, over exercising, sleeping too much, avoiding relationships or commitments, engaging in things you wouldn’t usually, such as unsafe sex, self-harm or behaving aggressively towards others. I could go on, but you get the picture: any behaviour that removes the need to engage with intense, powerful, often trauma-related experiences. In the moment, these behaviours often work (which is why we do them). Longer term, they can be incredibly destructive, isolating, dangerous and ironically, often perpetuate the pain we’re trying to avoid. The overall aim of IFS is not to force these behaviours out of your system through intense self-control, overriding them with positive self-talk, or engaging in inner battles with them, trying to reason ‘irrational’ thoughts and forcing yourself to do things that are uncomfortably difficult. Instead, IFS works in a beautifully paradoxical way, by welcoming and deeply understanding all of your inner world, gently and respectfully getting to know each part and how they relate to and influence each other. Through this intuitive and careful exploration of your inner system, parts carrying burdens from past trauma can be healed, allowing your system to naturally move into a more integrated and balanced state. If you’d like to learn more about IFS, there are lots of videos and books available – I’m happy to share my recommendations with you. 


Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

I have completed a two year practitioner training in CAT (accredited by ACAT) which has given me a thorough understanding of the theory and practice of this therapy. CAT offers a creative, active way of working with most psychological difficulties, and each therapy using this approach is unique. CAT offers us a structure to guide us and keep us focused in our work, including clearly defining the specific difficulties you face in your life and how these difficulties may have emerged from your early experiences. In creating a shared understanding of how your experiences have shaped you and created particular ways of relating to yourself and others, you gain a new way of understanding yourself and the difficulties you face, often with a greater sense of self-compassion. From these new understandings, ways out of repetitive, difficult or unhelpful patterns of relating come in to focus. Usually within the therapy we will create a ‘map’ together, which is a visual representation of the patterns of behaviour, emotional experiencing and ways of relating that typify your experience. We use this map to guide us and keep us focused, as well as helping you to recognise patterns as they occur within your life. The therapy usually includes letters written to you, one at the start and one at the end, which aim to capture our shared understandings as well as reflections on the therapy process itself.

Read more about CAT


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a therapy originally developed specifically for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but now used to treat a wide range of difficulties including phobias, OCD and complex PTSD. Traumatic memories are stored in the brain differently to normal memories, often causing them to intrude or pop into awareness in an uncontrolled and highly distressing way, or sometimes the memories are blocked from our day to day awareness but influence our behaviour in ways that can feel out of our control. EMDR works by targeting trauma memories while the therapist stimulates alternate sides of the brain (usually through eye movements, hence the name) – this enables the memories to be processed fully, reducing or eliminating the intrusions and allowing you to get on with your life.

EMDR can be in incredibly powerful approach. It can be used to help people experiencing a wide range of problems, not just trauma. As the approach requires minimal speaking compared to other therapies, it can be helpful for people whose difficult experiences occurred very early in life, before their memories were able to be stored and recalled verbally, as well as for people whose difficulties are experienced more on a somatic or bodily level. Talking therapies often focus purely on just that: talking. This can be at the expense of understanding the role of the body in trauma. Exploring and being open to what is occurring within the body as a result of traumatic experiences can support healing in a way that talking alone can miss. I have a keen interest in The Polyvagal Theory, and EMDR  fits very well with this understanding of how trauma is stored within the human nervous system.

I have completed the full 3-part EMDR training in 2016 including supervised practice, as well as further two day training in adapting EMDR for children and young people (2019).

Read more about EMDR


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT integrates therapeutic skills including mindfulness and commitment to behavioural change, focusing on increasing your ability to respond flexibly and mindfully to the challenges life throws at you. The aim of this approach is to help you define what a rich and meaningful life is to you, what your values are, and then work towards living life in line with your values while simultaneously developing the psychological skills to cope flexibly with the inevitable pain of living. ACT can be helpful for a wide range of issues, from adjustment to life after physical illness, accident or injury, loss and grief, relationship difficulties, as well as most mental health issues such as anxiety (including specific diagnoses such as OCD, social anxiety, etc), and depression.

Read more about ACT


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses specifically on understanding your thoughts and behaviours and how these interact with your emotions and physical state, as well as the environment in which you live (which includes your relationships, work, living situation, and so on). CBT brings about change to the whole system by teaching you how to challenge negative or problematic thinking styles, and encouraging you to make changes to your behaviour. Sometimes treatment focuses more on the cognitive or thinking component, sometimes more directly on behaviour change, but usually a combination of the two.

This was the first therapy model I trained in many years ago, and underpins much of the therapeutic work I do with people. Many therapies have evolved from CBT: new ‘third wave’ CBT approaches (including DBT and ACT, see below) build upon the basic components of CBT but add in evidence-based improvements, such as the development of mindfulness as a core skill. Third wave CBT approaches tend to focus less on changing ‘problematic thoughts’ (which can leave people feeling worse, since the implication is that it’s their thoughts that are bad and must be changed) and more on developing an informed understanding of the pitfalls of the human mind, alongside strengthening key skills that help us to accept and work with our experiences rather than fighting against them.

I tend not to use pure CBT as a stand-alone approach, so if you’re seeking someone offering standard CBT, you may wish to explore the CBT therapist register.

Read more about CBT


Psychological approaches

The psychological approaches that underpin my practice and inform much of the therapeutic work I do, these include compassion focused therapy (CFT), attachment theory, systemic practice, and ideas from narrative therapy. I practice mindfulness regularly and often encourage the exploration and development of mindfulness practices with the people I work with.

I have experience in adapting these different approaches to work with children, adolescents and adults.

I often combine different approaches, but sometimes choose to work within one particular model. Decisions about which approach to take will be discussed with you.

If you are interested in finding out more, or have any questions, please get in touch.