It can be overwhelming trying to find a therapy that suits you. We hope to make your experience with us as comfortable as possible. As Clinical Psychologists we have training in several therapeutic approaches, meaning that we can tailor the therapy to the needs of each person rather than trying to make one model fit everyone.
Listed below are some of the approaches we tend to use at Psychology Associates and some information around the therapies. If you’re looking for a specific therapy that isn’t listed, please feel free to contact our referral team who can help.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapies, or CBT, are a range of talking therapies which aim to help the individual to recognise how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interrelated. The therapist supports the client to recognise unhelpful patterns that maintain psychological distress and substitute these for more helpful patterns which relieve distress.
CBT can be offered in a short term therapy of 6 sessions or medium term of up to 20 sessions. The number of sessions will depend on the severity of the distress. The therapist will explore with you how your distress developed, and together you can identify behaviours that might be keeping problems going. Once you understand these patterns your therapist can support you to find alternatives to these ways of behaving and thinking with CBT techniques and practices. You may be asked to work on specific issues between sessions and this will enable you to try out new strategies with support from your therapist.
Trauma Focused therapies for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
All our Psychologists offer trauma informed care – that is to say that an understanding of psychological trauma and its effects on mental health are an integral part of our approach to our therapeutic work. We understand that clients who present with difficulties with regulating emotions and who may engage in self harming behaviours are often attempting to cope with the consequences of psychological trauma.
We also offer trauma focused therapies which specifically aim to understand and promote recovery from traumatic experiences in childhood and adulthood. These experiences may relate to accidents and injuries, ill health, bereavements or experiences of surviving abuse or violence such as emotional , physical or sexual harm or violence. Our therapists are very experienced in this work.
Trauma therapies have three main goals or “phases” –
Firstly we aim to help the client to establish safety in their environment and in their relationships including safe ways of coping with trauma symptoms
When the client is able, we support them to explore and process their experiences of trauma and understand how they have made sense of these experiences
The third phase of trauma therapy aims to focus on re-connecting with oneself and with others in healthy ways and planning for the future.
Our therapists work in a way that respects clients’ own choices, their dignity and works at their pace. We never make decisions for our clients and working through trauma is planned carefully and collaboratively with the client. Some of our clients work with other agencies alongside therapy sessions such as domestic abuse services, local authorities or drug and alcohol services.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR therapy involves a set of techniques which aim to help with the resolution of post traumatic symptoms. EMDR therapists help clients to process a traumatic experience, by imagining the experience, while at the same time remaining aware that they are no longer in danger from the experience. The processing occurs with the aid of bilateral stimulation (taps or sounds).
The following description from the EMDR association website explains the process:
“When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, the person can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings.
Some find that the distressing memories come to mind when something reminds them of the distressing event (a trigger), or sometimes the memories just seem to just pop into mind. The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, seems to stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system.
In the process the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like ‘ordinary’ memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.”
Compassion Focused Therapy
Compassion Focused therapy draws on elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness based therapy to address the mental health consequences of self criticism and shame. In Compassion Focused therapy your therapist will work with you to identify how self criticism and shame developed and how they continue to affect you in your current situation. Often we find that clients have learned not to trust and value their own feelings and not to feel adequately secure and safe in relationships with others to risk being vulnerable and truly connecting with others. Consequently, self -soothing distress and approaching others to connect and develop safe relationships has not felt possible. In Compassion Focused therapy the emphasis is on identifying and changing these patterns through the use of a wide range of mindfulness and creative approaches and practices including imagery work.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
Cognitive Analytic Therapy is often referred to as a relational therapy as it emphasises exploring how people function in and experience relationships with others.
CAT uses elements of cognitive and psychoanalytic therapies in order to help the individual to recognise patterns of behaviour that recur in their relationships with significant people in their lives and with aspects of themselves. Through exploring and focusing on identifying areas of difficulty, Cognitive Analytic therapists encourage their clients to consider alternatives to distressing patterns. This therapy is generally offered over 16-24 sessions depending on the client’s situation.
Attachment Based Therapy
Attachment Based Therapy aims to help clients whose primary difficulty is in relationships with others. These difficulties may have a long history which began in early life and in childhood. Through helping clients to understand the development of these relational problems, the therapist supports the client to see themselves and others differently including identifying new opportunities for changing distressing patterns.
This therapy will usually be offered in either medium or long term work of at least 20 sessions depending on the severity of the difficulties.
Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy draws on theories and practices derived from psychoanalysis. Psychodynamic therapy is offered either in medium or long term work of at least 20 sessions and sometimes much longer. This slower pace enables therapist and client to gradually explore and attempt to understand emotional experiences and relationship patterns that have developed over time and which are often unconscious and automatic. Psychodynamic therapy aims to enable deep change in emotional development rather than focusing on reducing symptoms in the present. As the therapy is not short term it requires the client to commit to attending weekly for several months. Psychodynamic therapists are less directive than other therapists, creating a space in which issues can emerge spontaneously. In psychodynamic therapy the client and therapist often consider emotional issues that arise for the client in their relationship with the therapist which gives them “live” opportunities to make sense of patterns which may have become difficult for the client. Clients with longstanding and complex difficulties often benefit from this way of working. However, psychodynamic therapy can also be useful to people who wish to develop a greater awareness and understanding of themselves.
Brief Solution Focused Therapy
Solution focused therapy is a short term therapy which focuses on making changes and planning for the future.
The therapist will help you to explore your hopes for the future and what’s available to help you now rather than looking at your current problems and what might have caused them.
One way you’re encouraged to find your own solutions is through asking different questions. The ‘miracle question’ is a central part of solution-focused therapy; asking you to imagine what your life would be like if something miraculous occurred overnight and then articulate what changes that would cause in your emotional experience and day to day life.
“Suppose tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens overnight. When you awake tomorrow morning, what will you see yourself doing, thinking, or believing about yourself that will tell you a miracle has happened in your life?”
It is the exploration of this and similar questions which stimulates discussions in which the therapist guides the client to find their own solutions, drawing on their own knowledge of themselves.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is an approach which was developed to offer skills training to clients suffering from intense distress, and for whom self harming behaviours feel to be the only option in coping with overwhelming feelings. The therapy in its purest form is at least one year long involving both group and individual therapy. At Psychology Associates we offer a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy informed approach which draws on theory and practices from DBT in a medium term approach of at least 15 sessions
DBT combines standard cognitive behavioural techniques for emotion regulation and reality testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance and mindful awareness derived from Buddhist meditative practice. DBT also offers skills in interpersonal effectiveness such as developing assertiveness, and conflict resolution strategies. DBT can be very useful to clients who want to establish safety in their lives before attempting to explore underlying causes of their distress which may relate to traumatic experiences. When the client feels confident in using skilful strategies to cope with distress, they may then be in a stronger position to work through trauma in therapy.
Relationship Therapy (couples therapy)
Relationship therapy aims to create a safe space in which individuals in a relationship can identify and express their needs and difficulties. The presence of an impartial and professionally trained therapist can help couples to notice aspects of their relationship which are strong and areas which give rise to difficulties and emotional suffering. The aim is to work collaboratively and respectfully to consider what changes might need to occur for a more secure and more fulfilling relationship to flourish. Common issues explored in relationship therapy include trust, intimacy, sex and sexuality, commitment, issues relating to having children, infidelity, health problems and concerns about domestic abuse. Some couples choose to attend therapy to try to improve their relationship while others sometimes attend relationship therapy in order to manage the ending of their relationship in as healthy a way as possible.
We offer therapy to homosexual and heterosexual couples.
Video Interaction Guidance
Video Interaction Guidance is a type of therapy that is used as an empowering way to help improve communications within relationships. This will help to foster good relationships within a family and help all members to feel better. It works with adults and children of all ages. A VIG practitioner will film an interaction of your choice, whether it be cooking, playing games or being creative together and micro-analyse the footage. They will select 3 or 4 clips that show something positives in behaviour and emotions and the client can focus on their strengths and discover new skills. VIG helps the client to repeat more of the things the client is pleased with and most clients notice a positive change in their children’s behaviour.
Mindfulness based therapy
Mindfulness Based Therapy is a cognitive form of therapy that uses practices such as meditation and breathing exercises which will help break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a depressed state. The idea is that a Mindfulness Based Therapy helps a person ‘fight’ off the depression or anxiety before it takes a hold. This therapy works for people who have recurring episodes of depression or unhappiness and can be used to prevent relapsing into one of these episodes. The therapist will help you turn your negative thought patterns with a positive using meditation and breathing exercises, and will be equipped with tools to turn their usual negative thoughts that can trigger a relapse and in time replace them with positives.
Narrative Therapy can benefit individuals, couples and families or those who define themselves by their problems and let themselves be dominated by feelings. Narrative Therapy helps people get distance from the issue and turn it around to see how it might be helping them, instead of hurting them. Creating a new perspective over feelings can empower them to make changes in their thought patterns and can therefore create a life story that reflects more of who they are and what they are capable of instead of defining themselves through their problems.
Sensory Integration helps children deal with sensory processing issues by exposing them to sensory stimulation in a structured way. Sensory Integration focuses on helping individuals to integrate their hidden senses. Tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular systems dominate a child’s interactions early on in life and these are the foundations on which learning, function emotional wellbeing and behaviour are built. An Occupational Therapist determines how your child will benefit from Sensory Integration and exposes the child to sensory stimulation through repetitive activities. Psychology Associates has a Sensory Gym that has been designed to help children with sensory processing issues and can help them process information in a safe and fun way. It can also help provide an environment for families to nurture attachments and improve sensory processing.