CBT is a highly effective, flexible and evidence-based form of psychotherapy. CBT is focused on the here and now and is a combination of talking and practical techniques to help ease and overcome anxiety, trauma and low mood.
CBT focuses on the two main aspects of how we engage with the world: our cognitions (how we think) and what we do (our behaviour). Once we understand how our thoughts and behaviours might be causing and/or maintaining a problem, we can start to test out new, more useful ways to change how we think and how we behave.
CBT is all about collaboration, so we always work together to overcome your problems. We start by creating a shared understanding of the issues, then set some goals in relation to what you want to achieve. Your therapy is person-centred and guided by what you want to get from it, so we use your goals to help shape that journey. Your CBT therapy is a constantly evolving process as we learn more about how best to confront and overcome problems head on.
CBT is both a talking and an 'active' therapy. This means we take a pro-active approach to overcoming problems and always face them head on in a safe, structured way. Therapy begins with an assessment, so we can understand the history of the problem and how it is currently affecting you. After this, we can move into learning about practical CBT techniques that may help, then trying them out in real world situations. Then, to help speed up your recovery, we will agree on what out of session therapeutic work you will do between sessions (we both know I mean "homework", but I don't like using that word as it tends to put people off!).
I've been practising CBT for over 10 years, worked with hundreds of people and seen first-hand the transformative effect CBT can have on someone's life. It can be hard work to confront problems head on and learn how to overcome them, but as I like to say; "If it ain't hard, it ain't therapy!"
EMDR is a form of therapy that has been developed to work primarily with trauma. You've probably heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and EMDR is very effective in helping people to overcome this.
EMDR is founded on the principle of helping you to heal from distressing life events, such as a car accident, a violent attack or sexual abuse. When we experience these types of highly distressing events, we understandably don't really want to spend time dwelling on them as they can make us feel upset or like we're re-living the experience all over again. To try and deal with this we often find ways to distract ourselves or try to put the experiences to the back of our mind. Substance use is another very common way people try to cope with and distract from previous trauma.
We know in the long term this doesn't help to process and overcome the trauma and all it really does is mask the symptoms in the short term. EMDR is designed to help us confront these distressing experiences in a safe and structured way in order to process the trauma. By doing this we allow our brain to file the experience away as something that happened in the past, so we're then more able to live a life that incorporates that experience rather than always being defined by it.
The way EMDR works to do this is by using eye movement to simulate the state our brain is in while we're asleep and processing information. Our eyes move side to side when we're doing this and it's known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Research shows that this is the natural way our brain makes sense of our experiences and files them away into our long term memory. EMDR simulates this state as a way to deliberately focus on trauma in our waking life and give us that helping hand to process the distress instead of avoiding or distracting from it.
EMDR is a safe, effective and evidence-based therapy that is used worldwide in the treatment of trauma and is recommended for use in the UK by the National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE).
For more info on EMDR click here to visit the UK EMDR Association
CBT & EMDR are most effective when engaged in on a weekly basis at a regular time as this will provide you with a sense of structure, continuity and consistency.
Weekly sessions allow you to make the most of the therapeutic relationship and provides sufficient time between sessions to implement therapeutic tasks, reflect and make sense of your progress. Positive change is more likely when you are able to commit fully to the therapeutic process and are motivated to change.
Therapy can be for as long or short a period as you feel is necessary. It's something we can review and negotiate on an ongoing basis to ensure your needs are being met and you're making progress.
Usual definitions of therapy duration:
As a fully accredited member of the BABCP I adhere to professional standards of behaviour and ethics. With this in mind you can be assured I will only continue working with you for as long as is effective and clinically necessary.