1 Initial assessment
All therapy starts with a detailed assessment of the difficulty in the context of the person’s life and wider circumstances. We will ask you various questions and may also ask you to complete one or more standardised questionnaires.
Assessment usually takes between one and two sessions. At the end of the assessment session(s), having established your needs and goals, we will draw up a formulation of the difficulty and discuss whether therapy would be helpful.
We'll then explore options for treatment with you and give you an idea of how long it is likely to last.
2 Your therapy
All our psychologists work using primarily cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), although we also use other forms of treatment where pertinent. Four of us specialise additionally in Schema Therapy.
Therapy sessions occur on a weekly basis where possible and last for 50 minutes. Your psychologist will guide the treatment and format of the sessions, asking questions, presenting ideas and psychological knowledge. We will also introduce exploratory exercises, and encourage you to continue these outside of sessions.
Progress towards the goals of therapy is monitored continually and openly shared. The ultimate aim is for you to become the expert at understanding and managing your own difficulties, both now and for the future.
3 Leaving therapy
Our psychologists adhere to a strict Code of Ethics as outlined by the British Psychological Society and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). We therefore aim to offer as few sessions as necessary in order for you to reach your treatment goals.
The decision of when and how to end therapy, however, will always be taken jointly with you. We will of course take your funding circumstances into account.
A formal ending session will be arranged, during which you will receive a closing folder containing relevant documents and diagrams from your time in therapy. The folder will also include a therapy blueprint, which acts as a summary of the therapeutic process that can be referred to later on.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
What we think influences how we feel, and subsequently how we behave or act. This is the case for all of us, all of the time. When someone is suffering from a psychological difficulty, some of their thoughts lead to unpleasant/unwanted feelings, and often unhelpful behaviours.
The unhelpful behaviours (e.g. social withdrawal, avoidance, extreme checking etc.) often serve to encourage further negative or worrying thoughts, and people become locked in a vicious circle.
Understanding unhelpful circles
CBT works by helping people understand their own unhelpful circles (between thoughts, feelings and behaviours), and by supporting them to try out new approaches. It is not about ‘rewriting your thoughts’ as people sometimes fear.
Rather it focuses on helping you to think in a more balanced way, improving the way you feel, and changing any unhelpful patterns of behaving. People move from being stuck in a vicious circle to living in a positive cycle of thinking, feeling and behaving. It is an empowering therapy, giving you, the client, the skills to take charge of your own psychological wellbeing.
A treatment of choice
CBT is a scientific approach and is the evidenced-based treatment of choice for a number of mental health difficulties. It is recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellent (NICE) for many conditions. Our practice is largely based on CBT.
We do supplement CBT with other therapeutic approaches where this would be helpful for individual clients.
There are a number of useful articles that explain in detail how CBT works - here are a few we'd reccomend for those interested in further reading: