I completed my doctoral training at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, a world-leading research and training centre. The Institute has a particularly strong reputation as a centre of excellence in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and is where I also completed a specialist diploma in CBT after my doctorate. Since qualifying, I have specialised in the treatment of anxiety disorders and traumatic stress reactions using CBT, including exposure and response-prevention (ERP). My ongoing NHS commitments are at the renowned Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma at the Maudsley Hospital, a national specialist clinic in the treatment of anxiety disorders, where many of the evidence-based treatments for these problems were developed and researched.
My standout strengths are in my ability to very quickly achieve an accurate and thorough understanding of the problem in the initial assessment. This is essential for identifying what needs to be tackled in therapy and how, and therefore for putting together an effective treatment plan. Part of my role in the Maudsley clinic involves providing high quality assessment and treatment to people from around the country who have often had multiple previous courses of therapy but without significant improvement, particularly those suffering from severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am also trained and experienced in the use of Compassion-Focused Therapy approaches, which can be useful for people who have high levels of co-occurring shame and/or self-criticism. I am an experienced CBT supervisor and trainer, and also provide supervision privately.
I am registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council, a legal requirement for Clinical Psychologists practising in the UK, and have chartered status with the British Psychological Society. I am also an accredited practitioner with the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies, the lead organisation for CBT in the UK.
What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy?
CBT is by no means a panacea or a "cure-all" for all types of problems. For the anxiety disorders, however, the evidence for the effectiveness of high quality CBT is overwhelmingly strong, which is why it is the first-line recommended psychological therapy for every anxiety disorder in the Department of Health's NICE Guidelines. The treatment involves collaboratively working with your therapist to develop a shared understanding of how key thinking and behavioural patterns may be influencing the anxiety. In some cases, memories of past aversive experiences may also be playing a significant role. The next steps are then to use this shared understanding to figure out practical ways to break these cycles in order to overcome the problem, which usually involves significant amounts of what are known as "exposure" methods: confronting the source of the fear (which may be external situations, or internal thoughts or sensations) and testing out your predictions, with guidance and support from your therapist. When delivered properly, this treatment has a very high success rate, and is something that I am passionate about and enjoy offering to people.
Problems I can treat
My core expertise and clinical experience is in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders. This includes the following:
Body dysmorphic disorder and body image difficulties
Panic attacks/panic disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
Social anxiety (including public speaking anxiety)
Phobias (including emetophobia)
Posttraumatic stress disorder and adverse stress reactions