Here is some information about the therapies we use.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. It helps us understand how we think in certain situations and how our thoughts affect how we act. It also helps us recognise that our actions affect how we think and feel. By working together with a therapist, we can learn to change behaviours and thinking patterns which have been maintaining anxiety or low mood.
CBT has been tested extensively through research and has been found to be effective with helping problems including:
Post Traumtic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Low self esteem
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has reviewed the evidence base for CBT and recommends its use for depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD among other psychological disorders. NICE systematically reviews evidence for treatment and makes recommendations to the NHS.
Clinical Psychologists use CBT as a basis for their therapy integrating other approaches based on developing research and professional experience. Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are also very useful approaches.
During sessions clients are asked to identify goals which will be reviewed and monitored throughout the work. Work is done during the sessions to identify opportunities for behaving differently. This means the client is asked to try things out between the sessions in order to learn from new experiences. Sessions usually last for 50 minutes and take place weekly. The number of sessions varies from around 5 – 20 depending on the problem.
There are many self help books based on CBT. These are a good place to start to familiarise yourself with the model and to decide whether this is how you would like to work.
This website is a great resource for understanding different therapies and sourcing self-help manuals:
CBT is also offered through the NHS. Your GP will be able to advise you what services are available in your area.
For more information about CBT, have a look at: The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists
EMDR is an acronym for ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’. EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute, she published the first research data to support the benefits of the therapy in 1989.
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, 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.