I am a consultant psychologist who has been practicing in both the nhs and independently since qualifying in 2003. I originally trained in Southampton but moved up to the north in 2007 and have been here ever since. I have quite a range of different experiences in my career, from working with people using self help to manage eating disorders right through to working with people who have got into trouble with the law because of their mental health problems, so I am used to working with a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of difficulties.
My particular area of specialty is working with adults with personality issues, including borderline personality disorder / emotionally unstable personality disorder and I'm a qualified dbt practitioner who took part in seeing up one of the early personality disorder teams back in 2005. However, I also have a lot of experience of working with people with trauma and anxiety / depression and realise just how disabling these issues can be to people’s lives.
I work from a strongly cognitive perspective which means that I believe that people’s thoughts and beliefs tend to be at the root of the difficulties that they are having. However, I believe really strongly that it is important to match the therapy approach to both the needs of the individual and also the way they work – some people think best very logically whereas others work better by expressing themselves more creatively. My approach is to work with the person to come up with a shared understanding of what is going on for them, how it developed and what needs to be changed to make life better. Once we have that shared understanding , we can look at the various styles of therapy available to see what fits for the individual and what will most effectively get us to where we want to be.
I believe really strongly that for therapy to be effective, the person needs to be fully part of the process. What that means in reality is that the individual needs to feel safe, comfortable, to know exactly what the plan is and why we are doing what we are doing. Although it can initially feel quite nice to hand over responsibility for all your horrible experiences to a therapist, it won't help you to be able to cope when they are not around. If you are going to be able to not only feel better but stay that way for the long run, you need to be able to understand why you are struggling, why it’s been hard to fix that and know how to manage things differently now and in the future. Therefore I encourage people to let me know if they feel unhappy about anything, if something isn't working for them or if they don't get why a particular approach has been taken – if you don't feel clear, safe and relaxed, you won't buy into the approach and it simply won't work.
I am registered with the British psychological society as a chartered clinical psychologist which means I hold a doctorate in clinical psychology and an undergraduate degree in psychology.
I am also trained in dialectical behaviour therapy, completing the full course run by the original developers of the therapy back in 2005 and have been working in this area ever since.
I have completed a number of courses and post qualification training courses in cognitive therapy, particularly in schema therapy and in the approaches of Christine Padesky.
I hold up to date registration with the health professionals council, details of which are available upon request.