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Therapy approaches

Typically, when working with individuals, I will work in an integrative way and draw on a range of therapy approaches as described below, to best support the work we are focusing on. However, if you have a particular interest in using a specific approach during therapy, then we can discuss that during a free consultation call.   

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy used to help people recover from distressing events. It has been most widely researched in relation to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however there is growing evidence for it's effectiveness in helping people recover from traumatic/ distressing life events  which are having an impact on the individuals mental health. EMDR can help the brain reprocess traumatic and difficult events, so that they are no longer as distressing. You can read more about EMDR by visiting the EMDR UK website

Cognitive Behaviour
Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, involves becoming aware of how our thoughts (cognitions), emotions, bodily sensations and behaviours (what we do or don't do) all interlink and impact on each other, in any given situation. When we are feeling distressed, our Thoughts and Behaviours can get us caught in a vicious cycle and the things we do to try and resolve a problem can often keep us stuck. CBT can help us to identify these cycles and make changes, so that we can start to feel better. You can read more about how CBT can help, by visiting the BABCP website (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists). 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), is a "third wave" cognitive behavioural based therapy. ACT uses Mindfulness strategies, to help us accept the difficulties we face in life and continue to live a life of value, meaning and purpose despite these difficulties. When we experience distress and suffering, it is natural that we want it to stop. As a result, we can often put a lot of effort into trying not to have negative or unwanted thoughts and feelings. By trying to get rid of unwanted thoughts and feelings, we can inadvertently cause more distress and move away from the things that are important to us in our lives. ACT helps us to develop a different relationship to the suffering and distress we experience, whilst at the same time doing the things that are important, hold value and meaning for us.  Feel free to watch this YouTube video which explains ACT. 

Compassion Focused Psychotherapy

Compassion Focused Psychotherapy is a therapy approach that supports psychological healing by encouraging individuals to be more compassionate towards themselves and others. Evidence for self-compassion demonstrates that it can help individuals regulate emotions more effectively, reduce self criticism and shame. If we can recognise difficult situations, as moments of suffering, and acknowledge that we are not alone in our suffering, that this is part of being human. The task then, is to turn towards ourselves and ask, what do we need to heal right now? Rather than criticising, berating and blaming ourselves harshly, can we offer a kind, supportive and encouraging voice, gesture or action, like we might a good friend or loved one who was suffering.  

Trauma informed therapist

What does Trauma informed mean? 

Trauma informed means that the therapist will take special note of any possible trauma individuals may have experienced and the impact this may have had on them and will be mindful of not triggering or re-traumatising an individual during therapy. Trauma informed therapy emphasises "what happened to you?" rather than "what is wrong with you?" 

During sessions a trauma informed therapist will prioritise:

1. Ensuring physical and emotional safety of the client

2. Ensuring choice - that the individual has choice and control

3. Collaboration - that decisions are made together

4. Trustworthiness - being open, honest and explaining why

5. Empowerment - empowering the client to state their needs, make decisions and take action

6. Cultural consideration - acknowledging diversity, working towards equity and including all people

Polyvagal informed therapist

What does Polyvagal informed mean?

A Polyvagal informed therapist understands the role of the nervous system in our physical, emotional and social wellbeing. The therapist will understand the impact that trauma can have on an individuals ability to feel safe in their body, their environment and their relationships. They will work to create a safe and present environment for healing.

Polyvagal theory, was developed by Dr Stephen Porges and helps us understand, how our body and brain work together to respond to everyday stressors, as well as more significant experiences, such as trauma in order to keep ourselves safe. We are constantly scanning our bodies, the environment and our connections with others for signs of threat or safety. Our body is constantly asking "is this safe?" This scanning is an inbuilt safety system, which happens automatically and without awareness. 

When our bodies detect threat or danger it typically enters one of two states to keep us safe - 1. Fight/ Flight or 2. Collapse. The third state is "social connection," when we feel safe and connected to others.  

Individuals who have been traumatised, will often be highly sensitive to cues of threat and danger and may experience more intense emotional arousal when sensing threat. They can often struggle to regulate their emotions and feel safe in relationships with others. A Polyvagal informed therapist, will help individuals become aware of these three states and support individuals to increase feelings of safety and resilience.

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