Conditions and Treatments
I provide a variety of psychological treatments for the following conditions.
Depression is a low mood that lasts for weeks or months and affects your daily life. Depression can range from mild to severe and affects up to 1 in every 4 people in the UK. Symptoms of depression include feeling unhappy or hopeless, low self-esteem and finding no pleasure in things you usually enjoy. Many things can cause depression such as stressful events, personality, family history and giving birth. Additionally, there are different types of depression which include seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postnatal depression, and prenatal depression.
It is recommended that treatment for depression involves a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medicines.
In our practice we use cognitive behavioural therapy to treat depression. CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You're shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress and to being in danger and everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam or having a medical test or job interview. However, if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a key part of several different disorders that include:
• Panic disorder - experiencing recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.
• Phobia - excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity
• Social anxiety - extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder - recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviours that you cannot control
• Separation anxiety disorder - fear of being away from home or loved ones
• Posttraumatic stress disorder – anxiety following a traumatic event
Anxiety feels different depending on the individual experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart. You might feel out of control, like there is a disconnect between your mind and body. Other ways people experience anxiety include nightmares, panic attacks, and painful thoughts or memories that you cannot control. You may have a general feeling of fear and worry, or you may fear a specific place or event.
After an initial assessment, a tailored intervention programme is designed using the most up to date evidence available to help you overcome your anxiety. This ensures that the correct and most effective treatment is used to best suit each individual client and enhances the chance of a positive outcome.
A phobia is a fear of a particular thing or situation. Phobias can often have a first triggering event, which then results in the individual feeling very frightened when they then think about, see, or are reminded of the feared object/situation. When a person with a phobia sees or is reminded of the feared object or situation, their mind says they are in danger, which sets off the body's alarm system (adrenaline) resulting in our experiencing many different body sensations. These feelings seem to confirm that we are indeed in terrible danger, and we feel an urge to escape. To stop us experiencing these feelings, we will try to avoid seeing or hearing about the feared object or situation.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. You may not experience any symptoms until you come into contact with the source of your phobia. But in some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can make a person feel anxious or panicky. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.
Symptoms may include:
• Unsteadiness, dizziness, and light-headedness
• Increased heart rate or palpitations
• Shortness of breath
• Trembling or shaking
• An upset stomach
If you do not encounter the source of your phobia very often, it may not affect your everyday life. But if you have a complex phobia, such as agoraphobia, leading a normal life may be very difficult.
The treatments we provide for phobias include; CBT and hypnotherapy.
Low self-esteem and confidence
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us better able to deal with life's ups and downs. When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us.
• Difficulty speaking up and prioritizing your own needs, wants, and feelings - This may be especially prominent in the context of what others want or need.
• Saying “I’m sorry” and/or feeling guilty for everyday actions - Feeling guilty for things like taking up space; apologizing for things that you have no control or responsibility for.
• Not "rocking the boat" - Tendency to follow along with what others are doing, saying, wearing, and going.
• Not feeling deserving of, or capable of, having “more” - This can lead to unfulfilling (or even toxic) relationships; unsatisfactory or low paying jobs; and overall lower standards.
• Difficulty making your own choices - And, after making them, having trouble standing by them.
• Lack of boundaries - Which can lead to vulnerability and hurt.
• Doing things or buying gifts excessively for other people - Even for those who would not appreciate it, to feel wanted, needed, recognized.
• Negative self-perception - Not thinking people would like or accept you for who you are.
• Critical, abusive internal dialogue - Such as talking harshly to yourself and perpetuating negative self-talk.
A therapist can help you explore the way you feel and change your view of yourself and others.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur following a severely traumatic incident, or a series of less severe incidents. Complex PTSD can be experienced because of repeated childhood traumas.
Symptoms include; flashbacks (traumatic re-living of the event, including images, sounds, emotions, and physical sensations) and nightmares, resulting in severe anxiety and/or angry reactions or avoidance of any triggers that may remind the individual of the incident in some way.
The main treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are psychological therapies and medication. Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with but confronting your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event or events occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help.
Stress is our psychological, emotional, and physical response to pressure. We feel there are too many demands, and too few resources to cope. That pressure can arise from external factors including life events, illness (ourselves or someone close to us) living conditions, work, home and family, study, lack of some necessity, or the demands we place on ourselves. Even events which we see as enjoyable can be stressful, such as holidays, moving home, starting a better job, pregnancy, parenthood, Christmas etc.
• Irritable, aggressive, impatient, or wound up
• Anxious, nervous, or afraid
• Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
• Being unable to enjoy yourself or things that you previously used to enjoy
• Uninterested in life
• Like you've lost your sense of humour
• A sense of dread
• Worried about your health
• Neglected or lonely
Stress is not a medical diagnosis, so there is no specific treatment for it. However, if you are finding it difficult to cope with things going on in your life and are experiencing lots of signs of stress, there are treatments available that could help. These include talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Physical health difficulties
Physical health conditions which I also treat include; sleep problems, weight management, chronic pain, and long-term illnesses.