Frequently Asked Questions
Because emotional pain is as legitimate as physical pain, and the removal of pain sometimes requires assistance from a professional. Because your mind and body are inexorably linked, what affects your mind will affect your physical health and what affects your body will affect your mental health. Because you can spend years reliving and re-experiencing the same problems over and over again, particularly in your close relationships. Because the progress you can make with professional help is generally much quicker than attempting to cope alone; sometimes by a matter of years.
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Contact me to ask questions and to book an appointment.
Our meetings will take place using a video link on Zoom, which is a way to make conference calls online.
Zoom uses end to end encryption to ensure that conversations remain private.
You will require a webcam and mic on your device, and an internet connection. You will also need to download and create a Zoom account, which is free to do.
To install Zoom, you can search for it on your device’s app store, or use the link I will email to you once we have booked an appointment.
Appointment times will be confirmed via email, and providing that you have Zoom installed, your appointment can be joined by clicking on the link at the time of our meeting.
More information about Zoom can be found on their website.
Generally there are two main factors related to successful therapy. The first is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the person seeking assistance. Without a good therapeutic relationship, it is unlikely that therapeutic interventions will be effective. Therefore, it is important you choose somebody that you feel comfortable with. To do this, you may decide to contact or see a number of therapists before committing to one.
The second factor relates to professional competence and the degree to which they have invested the time and energy it requires to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help those seeking therapy. To gauge this, it is advisable to read what they have to say, contact them with any questions you have, and ensure they are professionally registered.
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) was developed by Dr Habib Davanloo of McGill University in Canada. It is an actively researched psychotherapy with large evidence base of effectiveness for common and complex psychological problems. Due to it’s focus on the mind and body connection, it is particularly well placed in treating physical health problems associated with underlying psychological and emotional difficulties. There are a number of terms used to describe this phenomena. The main ones include: medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), functional disorders, dissociative disorders, and psychophysiologic disorders.
The basic premise of ISTDP is that we develop psychological problems when we are unable to experience or express our true emotions. This is thought to be a learnt response whereby our previous experiences have taught us to bury our emotions in order to keep us safe from some of threat. This tends to range from social disapproval to forms of harm, humiliation or abandonment. In order to keep our emotions in check our body learns to perceive them as a threat causing anxiety to emerge when they are activated. In turn, our anxiety fuels defensive reactions to reduce or avoid the triggering of emotions. Such processes tend to be unconscious with unseen levels of anxiety and defensiveness causing physical health problems, and destructive behavioral patterns that ruin our relationships and cripple our ability to thrive and reach our potential.
The treatment process is individually tailored and aims to illuminate and overcome destructive defences, build anxiety tolerance, and release blocked emotional channels. When these feelings are felt, anxiety, physical symptoms and defences decrease, as the body learns that accept these emotions as a normal bodily experience.
More descriptions of ISTDP can be found by visiting:
The words ‘short-term’ refer to the way ISTDP aims to use the most efficient and effects means of treatment to ensure beneficial change as soon and as quickly as possible. Whilst this may mean that therapy could well be short-term in terms of time, it is not necessarily the case. The severity of symptoms and our personal differences mean that there is no set way or number of sessions that can prescribed to reach a goal that will also differ from individual to individual. Rapid change and relief is possible. It can also cause more harm than good to push for rapid change if the correct preparations have not occurred. This is particularly the case for severe levels of anxiety, as it is vital to build up the capacity to tolerate anxiety within the correct bodily channels before attempting to fully process emotionally laden material.
A psychological formulation is essentially the process of creating a map of your difficulties using psychological principles. This is typically formed within the framework of a particular model. For example, a basic cognitive behavioural formulation tends to identify how an external event triggers a series of negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
We will build a formulation using the principles most relevant to you and your difficulties. This can be as simple or complex as your needs require.
It is important to know that whilst the principles governing the formulation tend to be fairly robust, the content of the formulation tends to fluctuate, as the shape of your difficulties, understanding, and ability to choose alternative ways of being change.
‘Clinical’ refers to the focus on reducing psychological distress.
‘Psychology’ refers to the study of the mind using science.
To qualify as a Clinical Psychologist, not only are individuals are required to have completed an undergraduate degree or conversion course that is accredited by the British Psychological Society they are required to gain substantial clinical experience, and to complete a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, which involves working in a variety of clinical settings, typically within NHS mental health services. This process usually takes at least 8 years to complete. To use the title of Clinical Psychologist, professionals must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as it is a legally protected title.
Clinical Psychologists tend to integrate psychological research and theory with their therapeutic approach. The breadth of their knowledge equips them to work with common and complex presentations. In the process, they are less likely to use diagnostic categories to classify a person’s problems, because such methods are generally considered to be unreliable. Instead, they are more likely to place an emphasis on a detailed understanding of a person’s difficulties using a process known as formulation, which identifies and maps out the main contributing factors that are unique to the individual. As Clinical Psychologists are trained in a range of psychological approaches, treatment plans tend to be tailor made to suit individual needs. Unlike Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists do not prescribe drug treatments.
The terms counsellor and psychotherapist tend to be used interchangeably to describe a person who practices psychotherapy. In itself, psychotherapy is a general term used to describe any method that works with mental, emotional or behavioural problems. Therefore, the level of training, experience, and skill can vary considerably between those using the title of counsellor or psychotherapist.
Whilst counsellor and psychotherapist are not legally protected titles, meaning anyone can use them irrespective of their qualifications or experience, organisations such as the UK Counsel for Psychotherapy, and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy have set up voluntary registers for those that have completed accredited courses.
Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who also have some training in psychology. When assessing individuals, they tend to use diagnostic terms to describe a person’s problems. This involves using a classification system such as the ICD-10 (European system) or the DSM-V (American system).
Diagnostic terms can be useful when attempting to gain a general understanding of what a problem involves as it gives shared language to describe a particular set of symptoms. They can provide a useful framework for professionals attempting to conduct research, establish treatment protocols, and set up services. Some people suffering from symptoms like the reassurance of a diagnosis as it gives their experience a name. Others find it less useful as it tends to overlook individual differences and does not explain why they are experiencing these problems. Due to individual differences and the overlapping nature of symptom presentations, misdiagnosis can be problematic and confusing to individuals, especially when they receive different or multiple diagnoses from different professionals. Another problem associated with diagnostic terms is the way they can be misused in a way that blames or stigmatises people.
Due to their medical training, Psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medication. Whilst there is a tendency for Psychiatrists to work in collaboration with others who offer psychological therapy, there are some who will have specialised in psychotherapy to allow them to offer a talking therapy themselves.
Typically between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday GMT. Alternative hours may be available on request.
I am registered with the majority of insurance companies in the UK. If I am not registered with your particular company, it is relatively easy for me to do so.
You will need to check with your insurer to ensure you are covered for mental health care. Please be aware that there is often a limit to the total cost of treatment you covered for per year. Your policy may place a limit on how much they are willing to pay per session, which may require you to fund what is outstanding amount.
You will need to gain authorisation from your insurer before any treatment can be carried out. This is typically given in the form of a code that I will be able to use to liaise with your insurance company.
Fees are charged at an hourly rate of £100 per hour
If you are paying for therapy yourself, an invoice will be emailed to you that can be paid via internet banking or credit card.
If a third party is paying for treatment, I will liaise with them directly.
If an insurance company or third party fails to pay, then I will ask you to do so.
Since the scheduling of an appointment involves the reservation of time specifically for you, a minimum of 48 hours (2 days) notice is required for cancelling an appointment. Unless we reach a different agreement, 50% of the fee will be charged for appointments cancelled at short notice, i.e. within 48 hours of the appointment time. If an appointment is missed without notification, the full fee will be charged.