How I work

Most of us have felt stuck when facing a difficult practical or emotional problem. As a Clinical Psychologist I have specialist training and experience in helping people solve such problems so that they are able to feel more positive.

Clinical Psychologists base what we do on a combination of our experience of working with lots of different people and our knowledge of scientific research.

We also use a particular structured approach to trying to solve problems which I have described below:

1. Assessment:

First we try to find out what the problem is and gather information that will help us understand how the problem started and what is maintaining it.

Assessments for adults:

Generally, this involves me asking you some questions about the problem and what has been happening. I focus on what is happening for you now and what you would like to happen in the future. I may ask some questions about the past but only enough to decide how to help. Everything we discuss is strictly confidential and if you don’t want to answer a question you certainly don’t have to (please see my page on confidentiality and other issues for more information.).

Assessments for children & adolescents:

I usually try to get information from many different sources when working with children and adolescents. I ask parents or carers a number of questions and I will ask their permission to speak to the child, their teachers and anyone else who may be important in the child’s life. I may also observe children at school or use psychometric tests to understand their strengths and difficulties.

2. Formulation:

Once I have gathered sufficient information I will bring it all together and explain why I think the problem started, what’s maintaining it and most importantly what we can do to help.

I will describe the different ways in which we can proceed and I will tell you which I think is most likely to be effective. You are free to choose any of these options or you may decide to postpone the intervention to a later date or cancel it entirely.

3. Intervention:

The intervention or ‘what I will actually do to help’ will depend a lot on the problem and your personal preferences.

Intervention with adults:

The approach I use most often is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It has been shown to be the most effective method of helping the majority of emotional and psychological problems. Using CBT I will teach you new strategies to cope with particular difficulties and then guide you through dealing with each of your problems. This usually takes between 8 and 20 sessions, once a week for an hour each time.

Interventions with children & adolescents:

CBT has been shown to be effective for children and I often use it, particularly with older adolescents. However, to help a child make changes it is often more effective to change the environment them. This may mean that I will teach parents or teachers new ways of guiding children through their difficulties.

4. Evaluation:

It’s important for me to know that we have made a positive difference to the way that you feel once you’ve finished the intervention.

I will regularly check how you think things are going during our time together. If there is anything that you are not happy with I very much encourage you to let me know so that we can work together to make things better.

Confidentiality & ethics

I follow a strict code of ethics. To read more about this please see my page on confidentiality and other issues.

Diagnosis

I tend not to use psychiatric diagnoses unless I think there is a good practical reason why I should or someone specifically asks me to. For my reasons why you can read my page on diagnosis.