Who am I?
I am a chartered clinical psychologist with 20 years’ experience of working with adults, children and families on a wide range of emotional, behavioural and mental health issues. I have a friendly and approachable style, and take care to adapt my work according to what is most useful and makes most sense to my clients. I can also be flexible about appointment times, and can work via videoconferencing. I draw on a wide range of approaches including behavioural, systemic, and cognitive analytic methods.
Issues I can help with
I work with children and their families on a wide range of issues including:
emotional distress (anxiety, sadness/depression)
behavioural problems (e.g.temper tantrums, defiance, aggression, impulsivity)
fears and phobias
sleep, eating, & toiletting
My work with adults includes therapy for depression, anxiety, relationship issues, workplace difficulties, loss and trauma, as well as for difficulties which don't fall neatly into a category. My work focuses on making sense of unhappiness, understanding causes and developing solutions.
Expert witness work
I have several years of experience in undertaking assessments, writing reports, and attending Court, in regard to contact disputes, care proceedings, and other family issues, as well as extradition work. I have a good track record, and a good reputation for dealling with complex cases. I am trained in the Story Stem Assessment Profile, Marschak Interaction Method, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay, all of which are useful in assessing children’s attachments.
Types of therapy
I draw on a wide range of therapeutic approaches and techniques, and always adapt what I do to match the particular issues each client brings. I think it's really important to find an approach that makes sense for clients, and that clients feel comfortable working with. I don't use jargon, or impose my view if it doesn't make sense to clients. I think it's really important to focus on achievable goals, and in order to maintain that, I make sure the work keeps on track through regular feedback and review.
My preferred types of therapy are:
Systemic: understanding difficulties not just as belonging to individuals, but in terms of patterns of interaction in relationships. For example, a child who is being defiant may be reacting to underlying emotional issues, rather than simply being 'naughty'. In that case the work might involve bringing these issues into the picture, and working on addressing them in order to reduce the defiance.
Behavioural: behavioural approaches work really well for many childhood problems. Sometimes we inadvertently reinforce children's behaviour by giving them negative attention, which they can become used to seeking through difficult behaviours. Working behaviourally, we can change how we react to children, and thereby change what they do.
Developmental Dyadic Psychotherapy (DDP): this is a method for improving families’ attachment relationships and thereby improving children’s behaviour and emotional functioning. More information can be found here: https://ddpnetwork.org/parents-carers/ddp-right-for-your-family/
Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT): this is a psychotherapy which combines a focus both on dealing with the 'here and now' difficulties, and on understanding how these had their roots in past experience and personality formation. It uses therapeutic letters and 'maps' to describe and track difficulties and how they can be changed. It is a very effective and collaborative way of working. More information about CAT can be found here: https://www.acat.me.uk/page/how+does+cat+work
Ways of working
My major way of working is through talking, and I also bring in other methods at different points, such as keeping a diary of difficulties, or jointly ‘mapping’ patterns of difficulties. Methods are always tailored to your preferences and aptitudes.
At the beginning and end of working together, I may ask you to fill out a questionnaire describing your current state, so that we can track change, see how effective the work has been, what has changed.
I very often will use pen and paper on the table between us to help us map and keep track of issues, and how difficulties are perpetuated.
It's usually good to put our heads together to devise 'homework' to do during the week. This could involve keeping a diary of the difficulties, or trying out different strategies which we would have discussed and agreed during the session
I use toys to help children talk, including art materials, puppets, plasticine.
The first appointment
Initially we would usually arrange an introductory talk on the phone, in person, or by email, to clarify what you're looking for and whether I can help. Then if you wish to go ahead, I would send you a confirmation email, together with any formal measures that we've agreed would be useful. The first appointment is about establishing an accurate picture of what the difficulties are,