1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental illness sometime within their lifetime.
It IS common. It is something many of us experience, though many will never have it formally diagnosed. Mental health problems have a large range of symptoms and affect everyone differently. But it is a feeling of emotional struggle, and there is help available.
The most common formally diagnosed mental health conditions are depression and anxiety. These diagnoses require a certain number of specific symptoms to be present for a certain amount of time, and then the diagnoses become a common language that can be used to communicate meaning about what is being experienced. However, you are not a label, and the ways with which you need support will be highly individual and specific to you.
Formal diagnoses I help treat include the following:
- Anxiety, phobia and trauma
- Depression and Grief
- Bipolar Disorder and Cyclothymia
- Personality Disorders
- Aspergers and High Functioning Autistm
Stress and Low Mood
But most people reading this may not have a formal diagnosis nor have gotten to the point where they meet all of the criteria for diagnosis. And that is important.
I believe in prevention before intervention.
We all suffer from the stress of the modern era. We live in a socioeconomic climate where stress is found in every corner of our lives. From the uncertainties of the housing crisis and interest rate inflations; Brexit anxieties and the uncertainty of our economy; workplace stresses, equal pay disputes, unemployment rates; and the every-growing role of technology infiltrating our lives, meaning the pressure to always be turned on, tuned in, and available for every ping of each email or twitter. Studies have found that 2/3rds of us struggle to turn off (both ourselves and our phones) at bedtime each night, resulting in disrupted sleep and therefore a compromised ability to handle the stress of the next day. Add to this regular life challenges such as relationship problems, major life events, changes in daily activities, unexpected losses, substance difficulties, pressures of deadlines- we all are struggling!
But that’s where talking to me can help. I use a range of techniques that will identify and prioritise the ares of your life that you would like the most support. Whether reducing formal symptoms or easing a feeling of overwhelm or an overactive mind, my training and background has given me a wealth of strategies with which to customise to your situation. Such techniques involve those from psychodynamic theory; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; new-wave CBT therapies such as Acceptance and Committment, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, and Compassion Focused Treatment, Mindfulness-based treatment; and techniques from systemic, interpersonal, and humanistic treatments. You may have encountered some of these treatments before or may have attempted some through your own initiation and self-help resources. It is fantastic you have some familiarity already! What I will add is a collaboration with you to explore more strategies, analyse them for the right fit, and offer a safe place to unload your mind. I want you to gain the personal strategies and resources with which you can go forward feeling the confidence to handle whatever is around your next corner.
Health Psychology is relevant to all mentioned above with an added component of medical intervention. When undergoing medical intervention, being newly diagnosed with an illness (especially if a long-term condition), or suffering from medically-related symptoms such as pain or changes to normal functioning, stress can be high. Those undergoing these unwanted situations have to cope with emotional strain, future uncertainty, and alterations to their home and work schedules or leisure activities. Many times, previously depended-on coping strategies are no longer available. Some may feel that their previous support network no longer understand them. Changes to eating, sleeping, fatigue, mood, and interests are all common. These secondary implications of the primary medical condition may need support too with new strategies for handling your emotional health when dealing with medical concerns. Using similiar techniques as above but adapted to the specifics of the medical condition, my many years of work in inpatient hospital settings can help you feel more psychologically in control to cope better with what lies ahead.
Psychologists vs Other Talking Therapists
A Clinical Psychologist may have an intimidating sound to that name, but a sense of trust may also be found with it. Clinical Psychologists are highly regulated by the British Psychological Society and the HCPC as Practitioner Psychologists. We have high standards of ethics and continuing education. We seek regular supervision with peers or superiors. And we aim for the highest standard of practice using techniques that have been proven or that are showing the greatest promise in empirical research. Our many years of training at doctoral level or above should give you confidence in what we have learned and can offer. Many other therapy providers are not formally regulated and cannot claim this same standard. With me, I intend to hold you in good hands with standards set by the lessons of my predecessors.