As human beings were are remarkably creative, resilient and so often inspiring. However there are times in most of our lives when we need a little bit of extra support. Therapy can offer a safe, non-judgemental space in which to explore difficulties we may be experiencing and help us find new ways forward. I have had the privilege of walking alongside people as they make brave and meaningful changes in their lives for over ten years, and would love to talk with you about how I might be able to help you, too. Please read on for more information about CBT; my approach, experience and qualifications; the practicalities of the CBT and supervision I offer in Crystal Palace, online and by telephone; how to get in touch and what to expect when you do.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term therapy that can help us understand our own unique way of experiencing our worlds, highlight where this might have become stuck or problematic, and facilitate new ways forward. CBT is based on the theory that the ways in which we think, how we feel (both emotionally and physically) and what we do are all closely linked together. It also recognises that these links often create vicious cycles, which can cause us distress. CBT helps to identify these cycles and the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that keep them going. It can also provide a safe space in which to challenge unhelpful thinking and test out new ways of interacting with our worlds. By making meaningful changes to how we think and behave, we often find that we feel better. CBT is also focused on the here and now. Of course, the things that happen to us throughout our lives shape who we are, and therapy can help us understand how certain past events may be contributing to current distress. However the main focus of CBT is to give us tools to move forward with our lives from where we are in the present.
There is evidence to suggest that CBT may be an effective form of treatment for a variety of difficulties. These include: Low Mood, Anxiety, Stress, Worry, Sleep Problems, Low Self Esteem & Self Confidence, Traumatic Life Experiences & PTSD, Social & Performance Anxiety, Phobias, Panic Attacks & Agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Health Anxiety, Habit Disorders (e.g. skin picking or hair pulling) and Hoarding.
For further information about CBT, please see the The British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
My Approach, Qualifications & Experience
Choosing a therapist can feel like a daunting task, and I appreciate the courage it can take to find someone you feel comfortable with. While I know it isn't possible to get a full picture until the first meeting, I hope that by telling you a little about my approach it might help you to decide if I am the right fit for you.
Because of the trust you are placing in me, it is important that I have the right qualifications and accreditation to offer you support. I am fully-accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies (BABCP), the professional body for CBT Therapists in the UK, and I am bound by their code of ethics. You can search for all accredited CBT Therapists via the CBT Register here. In line with BABCP requirements I receive regular clinical supervision of my work, and am committed to keeping my knowledge up-to-date through my continuing professional development.
At the heart of my CBT practice, and informed by my work as a writer, is my deep love and respect for human stories, and my belief in our creativity capacity as humans to rewrite the sections of those stories that are no longer serving us. I am most influenced by the newer developments in CBT, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion-Focused CBT and Mindfulness, and make regular use of these approaches in therapy. Fundamentally I do not believe that any of us are broken, but rather that we all (CBT therapists included!) encounter struggles as we work towards the things that are important to us in our lives, and see the process of therapy as a collaboration between your expertise in what you want in your life, and my knowledge of the CBT approaches that might help you get there.
Prior to moving into full-time private practice in 2017, I worked for 11 years in a variety of settings across NHS Mental Health services, most recently within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Supervisor.
My educational qualifications are:
2013: PGDip Cognitive Behaviour Therapies – Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
2011: PGCert Psychology – Birkbeck College, London
2009: PGDip Cognitive Behavioural and other Outcomes-Based Interventions – UCL
2007: Certificate in Counselling Skills – Westminster Pastoral Foundation
1998: BA (Hons) Philosophy – University of Kent
I can offer sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays at The Little Escape in Crystal Palace (right at the heart of Crystal Palace triangle, 10 minutes from Crystal Palace Overground and easily accessible from across South East London). Where appropriate I can also offer sessions online and by telephone.
My fees £100 per session. Some discounted sessions are available for those on low incomes, please contact me for information. I am also a registered provider with Aviva and AXA/PPP.
Please note, to help you get the most out of therapy and to cover operational costs, sessions cancelled with less than 48 business hours will be charged at the full rate.
The treatment plan we establish, including number of sessions, will be unique to you, depending on the nature of the difficulties you are experiencing. Generally sessions last for 50 minutes, however on some occasions we may agree to have longer sessions (additional charges would apply).
I also have training and experience in CBT supervision. Please contact me for more information.
How To Get In Touch & What To Expect
Most people also say that the first contact is the hardest. Part of my role is to make this process as easy as possible for you. If you think you would be interested in trying therapy or have any questions, please contact me via the details on this site (you can find them here). We can then arrange a free 15 minute, no-obligation telephone consultation at a mutually convenient time. During this telephone call I will ask you a few questions about the difficulties you are having, tell you more about CBT and the practicalities of therapy, and you can ask me any questions you might have. Following this telephone consultation, if we both think therapy might be helpful, we can arrange a first session. Alternatively, if we think that a different form of support may be more helpful, I will provide you will details of how you can access this. If for any reason you think that the initial telephone might be difficult please contact me and we can discuss other arrangements.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver