Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a structured form of talking therapy. It has shown to be effective for a wide range of problems, particularly helping people who suffer from mild to moderate depression and anxiety based disorders and is recommended by the Department of Health and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

CBT is a form of therapy that aims to address how your problems are affecting you in the here-and-now. It involves developing an understanding of how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact with each other in the development and maintenance of our problems. So for example, when people are depressed they are more likely to view aspects of their life in a negative way. This negative viewpoint can lead them to feeling worse and changing their behaviour in an attempt to make them feel better or prevent feeling worse. However these changes of behaviour may actually reinforce or worsen their problems (e.g. drinking excessively to try to make a person feel better can actually result in the person feeling worse).

Once we have developed an understanding as to how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are maintaining our distress, CBT aims to help find alternative, more constructive ways of thinking about particular situations and issues. It also helps us to look at our behaviours and where appropriate change our behavioural patterns so that we do not find ourselves going around in circles that worsen our problems.


Some people may find CBT too structured and directive and may prefer to have counselling to explore and understand themselves, their relationship with others and their view of the world. There are different types of counselling.

My approach is integrative. This is a form of talking therapy that involves the fusion of different schools of psychotherapy where different theories form one combined approach to theory and practice. For those who are familiar with schools of psychotherapy, the approaches I integrate in my counselling practice are psychodynamic, schema therapy, existential, transactional analysis and person centred. It is like having a large toolbox from which I can select the right tool for each person’s specific needs, taking into account the nature of their problem.

When appropriate I also integrate CBT into my counselling practice as it can provide the framework or ‘scaffold’ for understanding clients problems and maintenance cycles (how they get stuck) making it easier to find ways to break those negative cycles and replace them with nurturing ones. I find this flexible approach allows me to take the ‘best bits’ (in my opinion) of various forms of psychotherapy rather than getting bogged down in some obscure theories that are hard for some therapists and clients to understand and apply.

Schema Therapy

Schema therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that combines elements from cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and attachment theories to address deep-seated emotional and behavioural patterns known as “schemas.” Schemas are enduring negative beliefs and feelings that develop early in life due to unmet emotional needs or negative experiences. These schemas often underlie a range of psychological issues, including chronic depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and interpersonal difficulties.

Central to schema therapy is the concept of “limited reparenting,” where the therapist plays a nurturing and corrective role, helping clients meet their unmet emotional needs that were inadequately fulfilled during childhood. This involves fostering a strong therapeutic alliance while simultaneously challenging and restructuring maladaptive thought patterns and behaviours.

The therapy employs a variety of techniques, including cognitive restructuring, experiential techniques, imagery, and role-playing. One key technique is “mode work,” which identifies different modes within individuals – the vulnerable child, punitive parent, and healthy adult, among others. By recognizing and interacting with these modes, individuals learn to manage their emotional reactions and make healthier choices.

EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic approach designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories and other distressing life experiences. Developed in the late 1980s, EMDR has gained recognition as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various other psychological difficulties.

Central to EMDR is the belief that distressing memories and their associated emotions and beliefs can become “stuck” in the nervous system due to traumatic events. This can lead to symptoms like intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, anxiety, and avoidance behaviors. EMDR aims to facilitate the reprocessing of these memories, allowing them to be integrated and processed in a healthier way.

During an EMDR session, the therapist guides the client through bilateral stimulation, which most commonly involves rapid side-to-side eye movements. This bilateral stimulation is thought to mimic the brain’s natural processing mechanism during REM sleep, enabling the individual to process the distressing memories and emotions in a more adaptive manner.

EMDR typically follows an eight-phase protocol, which includes history-taking, preparation, assessment of target memories, desensitization and reprocessing, installation of positive beliefs, body scan, closure, and reevaluation. The therapist helps the client identify target memories and the negative beliefs associated with them. Through a structured process of reprocessing, the client gradually experiences a reduction in the emotional charge and a shift towards more positive beliefs.

Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of EMDR in treating PTSD, as well as other conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias. It is particularly known for its efficiency in achieving symptom reduction over a relatively short treatment period compared to traditional talk therapies.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Is a therapeutic approach with origins in the principles of psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud. It explores the deep-seated, unconscious conflicts and emotions that influence behaviour and mental states. This therapy aims to uncover the underlying psychological roots of emotional suffering.

Central to psychodynamic therapy is to help develop insight—the process of gaining an in-depth understanding of the unconscious patterns that govern relationships, thoughts, and feelings. It involves examining unresolved conflicts and symptoms that stem from past dysfunctional relationships and traumatic experiences.The therapy, typically one-to-one sessions, ranging from once a week to multiple times a week, depending on the severity of the issues being addressed. These sessions focus heavily on the client-therapist relationship, as this dynamic is viewed as a window into the client’s relational patterns with others. It emphasises the exploration of the client’s childhood experiences and significant past events to understand their impact on current behaviour and mental health. It operates on the belief that issues rooted in early development can manifest as psychological problems in adulthood.

One key element is the use of defence mechanisms, such as denial and repression, which the individual employs unconsciously to avoid pain and conflict. Another important aspect is transference, where clients project feelings about important figures in their life onto the therapist. This projection is analysed and discussed as it provides critical insights into the client’s emotional world and relational dynamics.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is considered particularly effective for depression, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, and other mental health issues that involve complex emotional patterns. It is a depth-oriented treatment that demands considerable time and emotional investment from the client but can result in profound and enduring benefits.

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