What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy?

Clinical research trials have shown that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is the effective psychological therapy for anxiety problems such as OCD and BDD. For every type of anxiety disorder, the UK Department of Health is clear in its guidelines that CBT should be the psychological treatment of choice. You can access the Department of Health's guidelines at nice.org.uk/guidance.

Here are some of the main features of CBT:

  • it is a short-term therapy, typically between 12-20 sessions

  • it involves learning practical tools for overcoming your problem

  • the sessions are structured, and there is a clear overall plan for the therapy

  • your therapist carefully listens to and understands you, but also gives clear guidance for how to actually address the problem

  • you will set clear goals together for what you should be doing between the sessions

  • although it is sometimes useful to discuss the past and how your difficulties developed, CBT is mainly focused on how to change things in the "here and now".

The main idea in CBT is that the way that we think about a situation or event affects how we feel about it emotionally. People suffer from anxiety problems when they think that situations are more dangerous than they really are. The aim of therapy is therefore to guide people to consider alternative, less threatening interpretations of their problem, and setting up practical ways to put this into practice.

Problems I can treat

My expertise and clinical experience is in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Body dysmorphic disorder

  • Health anxiety

  • Panic attacks/panic disorder

  • Generalised anxiety disorder

  • ​Social anxiety (including public speaking anxiety)

  • Phobias (including emetophobia)

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

  • Depersonalisation disorder

  • Tic disorders

  • Habit disorders (i.e. hair-pulling, skin-picking)

My credentials

I completed my doctoral and further training at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. My ongoing NHS commitments are at the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma at the Maudsley Hospital, a national specialist clinic where many of the treatments for anxiety problems were developed. I have worked at this clinic since 2016, where part of my role involves seeing people with very severe OCD and BDD who have often had multiple previous courses of therapy but without significant improvement. I am involved in teaching and supervision, and have published research articles in academic journals.

I hold the following qualifications and professional registrations:

  • BSc in Psychology, University of Leeds (2006)

  • Doctor in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy), Institute of Psychiatry (2012)

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies, Institute of Psychiatry (2013)

  • Health and Care Professionals Council, registered Practitioner Psychologist (no. PYL28986)

  • British Psychological Society, Chartered Member (CPsychol; no. 355517)

  • British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), fully accredited practitioner (no. 140708)