My areas of Specialism are Counselling, CBT and EMDR
I am registered as a Practitioner Psychologist/Counselling Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council HCPC and I am also a accredited member of the British Psychological Society BPS, the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies BABCP and the EMDR Association UK & Ireland.
I can offer my clients general Counselling, Cogntive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) depending on their needs and the presenting problem.
After the initial first consultation session I discuss the available treatment options with my clients and we generate the appropriate treatment plan together.
During recent years I have also specialised in providing assessments and treatments for Clients who suffer from psychological problems (particularly Post Traumatic Stress or Anxiety) after a personal injury and in this context I also provide medico-legal reports as an Expert Witness.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD for short, is the name given to a combination of reactions to a trauma. Symptoms commonly seen after a trauma include:
• intrusions or flashbacks to the memory of the trauma
• anxious thoughts about the trauma
• fear and avoidance of reminders of the trauma
• irritability or hypervigilance
• poor sleep
• loss of interest and low mood
Almost everyone has some of these symptoms after a trauma, but if they are severe, or last for more than 1 month then they are given the name PTSD. If you have these symptoms you are not abnormal, but you have experienced an extreme and unexpected event and your system has not yet come to terms with it.
When people are traumatised, they may experience such strong emotions the brain is overwhelmed. As a result, the brain is unable to cope with or process information as it does ordinarily. Distressing experiences become 'frozen in time'. They are stored in the brain in the original 'raw' form and can recur as 'action replays' or intrusive memories.
The person repeatedly relives the original unpleasant event(s). Remembering a trauma may feel as bad as experiencing it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven't changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect on the way people see themselves, the world and other people. It can affect parts or all of their lives, including their ability to work or study.
What is EMDR and how can EMDR help reduce the symptoms of PTSD?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing and was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute (in Palo Alto, USA), she published the first research data to support the benefits of the therapy in the 1989.
When I 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.
EMDR seems to directly influence the way that the brain functions. It helps to restore normal ways of dealing with problems (e.g. information processing). Following successful EMDR treatment, memories of the event are no longer painful when brought to mind.
What happened can still be recalled, but it is less upsetting. EMDR appears to mimic what the brain does naturally on a daily basis during dreaming or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. EMDR can be thought of as an inherently natural therapy which assists the brain in working through distressing material.
Research studies have shown that EMDR can markedly accelerate the healing process after a traumatic experience and that the effects are long-lasting. There are now more scientifically controlled studies on the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with EMDR than with any other form of psychological treatment.
EMDR is highly effective, preferred by clients and generally of shorter duration than other treatment methods.
You can find more information on the following website of the EMDR Association of UK & Ireland: EMDR Association UK & Ireland.