Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) was originally pioneered by Dr Aaron T. Beck in the 1960's. It is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and has worldwide recognition as an efficacious psychotherapy. It's robust evidence base has lead to The National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) recommending CBT for the treatment of Agoraphobia, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Depression, Depression with a long term health condition, Generalised Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-natal depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Social Anxiety (www.nice.org.uk). CBT is also commonly and effectively used to treat Health Anxiety and Specific Phobia's e.g. heights, blood, vomit. In addition, CBT can treat problems linked to those previously mentioned such as anger, low self esteem and stress.
CBT is mostly focused on the 'here and now'. However, time and attention is still paid to a person's history and experiences in order to help put 'today' into a meaningful context. It is a time-limited, problem-solving and goal-oriented therapy in which client and therapist form a team, working together to help the client move towards their goal. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration and active participation so as to help the client learn specific cognitive and behavioural skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.
The theory and rationale
CBT works on the principle that it is our perception of situations, rather than the situations themselves, that influence how we feel emotionally. For example, there may be one person reading the information on this website thinking "Amazing! this is just what I need!" and they feel happy and hopeful. Whereas another may be reading the same but think "I wish I could try it, but i just don't think I can do it" and they feel down and disappointed. These thoughts and perceptions can have a negative impact on not only our emotions, but also our behaviours. This can form a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, unpleasant or distressing emotions and unhelpful behaviours; a cycle that then often seems difficult to break out of.
CBT aims to empower the client to take control of their life and overcome their own problems though active learning and discovery. Psycho-education aims to teach how thoughts, emotions and behaviours can all interact together to form a vicious cycle. It seeks to help clients identify, evaluate and respond to their unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and teaches strategies and techniques in order to make modifications to them, as well as to unhelpful behaviours. This then leads to new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, and eventually, to the client having the skill to be their own therapist.
What can I expect from my sessions?
Typically, at each session, your therapist will help you to specify any problems that you have encountered during the week or that you expect to encounter in the coming week. In doing so, together you will look at:
- Behavioural patterns – e.g reduced activity, withdrawal from others and the world in general, avoidance, re-assurance seeking.
- Thoughts, beliefs and assumptions – e.g. the way you see yourself, others, and the world around you. Perspectives are often inaccurate and unrealistic.
- Emotions and physical feelings - e.g anxiety, panic, fear, sadness, pounding heart, sweaty palms, tense muscles
- Mental activities- e.g. dwelling, ruminating
The usual format of therapy is as follows: assessment (often two sessions), development of a working theory or 'formulation' of your problem (why it started, and how it is maintained), and then a plan of how together, we can overcome the problem. Therapy sessions are always working towards the goal that was set at the beginning and aim to break the vicious cycles that act to maintain the problem. A significant element of CBT is the completion of 'between session tasks' or 'homework'. These are often set together and follow on from what has been covered in the session e.g. implementing solutions to problems or making changes to thinking or actions. The aim is to encourage you to be actively involved in your treatment; learning that making small changes to how you think and what you do can bring about positive results. Testing out modified thoughts, beliefs and behaviours also helps to reinforce new learning and skills which can then be used in every day life, long after therapy has finished.
I’m a BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT). My mental health background lies in the NHS where I started work in 2008. My professional roles placed me in a variety of mental health settings including a number of community mental health teams, a research centre, psychology departments, and psychological therapy services. I have worked in the area of CBT since 2010 starting in the NHS. I moved into part time private practice in 2015 and made the final transition into full time private practice at the beginning of 2018.
Personal life, and career decisions have meant that I have called a number of places across the UK ‘home’ over the last decade; from Warwickshire, to Hampshire, to Surrey, to South London, to West London, back to Warwickshire and finally…Bath. I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work with different cultures, ages, social challenges and demographics in these various locations and believe I am a more well rounded clinician as a result. However, there has been enough movement over the last 10 years to keep me going for at least another 10, so I will now be staying put where I am!
My relevant qualifications start with a 2:1 BA degree in Psychology from Swansea University, where I also completed a Masters in Applied Criminology and Criminal Justice. Following several years of work experience I went on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in CBT in 2011, followed a couple of years later by a Postgraduate Diploma in CBT in 2014. I obtained my full accreditation status in 2016.
I chose to specialise in CBT for several reasons; i) personal experience ii) I loved (still do) the idea of working with someone using such a pro-active, pragmatic approach to overcoming difficulties, that would also provide them with new skills iii) the wealth of empirical evidence that supports CBT as an effective treatment not only during the period of therapy itself, but also after it has ended.
When I meet someone for the first time, I often think about how hard it is to be in their shoes; to have to turn up to somewhere unfamiliar, not knowing what to expect, and then talk to someone they have never met before about things they might not even talk to their closest friends and family about. I never take that lightly and will always do my very best to ensure my clinic room is a comfortable and safe place for you to be.
Location, Fees & Insurance
Face to face therapy sessions are held in Bath, BA1. Alternatively Skype therapy is available for those who are unable to attend appointments in person.
My fees for individual work are as follows:
- Self funded: Face to face / online face to face, £80 per 60 minute session
- Insurance funded: Please contact me as fees vary depending on the requirements of the insurance provider.
I am a recognised provider of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy by the following: AXA PPP Healthcare, Cygna Healthcare, WPA, Vitality Health (formerly PruHealth), Simplyhealth & Curian Medical. If your Insurer is not listed please contact me.
Please note: Fees are payable by cash at the beginning of each session or bank transfer prior to the session
If you need to cancel for any reason, please contact me by telephone, text or email as soon as it is possible to do so. If you are unable to give more than 24 hours’ notice of a cancellation, the full charge for the missed session will still apply. Please note that insurance companies do not usually cover the cost of cancellations.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment. I aim to respond to all messages within one working day, Monday-Friday.