2. Psychological Therapies
At the first assessment appointment you will be able to tell Helen what therapeutic outcomes you want to achieve. Helen offers the following psychological therapies:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a collaborative therapy and is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) for many conditions including: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorders.
Cognitive just means thinking. Part of the therapy is to determine if there are any thinking styles that are either feeding into emotional distress or impacting on the behavioural responses you choose. In therapy we focus on identifying these thought patterns, examining the evidence for and against them and testing out if thinking about these things differently is helpful. Sometimes we can confuse our thoughts with facts. Within the therapy unhelpful thinking styles and unhelpful thoughts will be examined through a number of methods: talking to the therapist, examining evidence for and against and through the use of behavioural experiments. Sometimes, behavioural patterns are maintaining a problem and we will test out if choosing different behaviours is more workable in the longer term. For certain conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias and other anxiety conditions, exposure treatments are used. Exposure treatments involve facing fears in a usually gradual way, once appropriate skills for coping with anxiety have been covered. Exposure work is carried out at a pace that is acceptable for you.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a very active treatment with homework involved. This is because therapy is usually only for one hour a week and practice outside sessions decreases the time taken to recover and increases treatment efficacy.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Sometimes people find that CBT is too structured or find thought challenging difficult. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a third wave form of CBT. It is a mindful behavioural therapy. ACT is a good treatment for people who want to find a direction in life or achieve their goals, but find their thoughts or anxious feelings are holding them back. With ACT there is a focus on practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply focussing attention in the present moment and noticing and accepting what is going on, without too much engagement or judgement. A number of ways to be mindful are discussed during treatment including focussing on external surroundings/stimuli, internal sensations, breathing and activities. A key part of ACT is determining what your values are, what your goals are and how to get them, despite negative thinking and emotional discomfort, such as anxiety. One of the differences between traditional CBT and ACT is that whilst CBT encourages examining and changing negative thoughts, ACT encourages labelling them as unhelpful (moving you away from your goals and/or values) and the skills covered in therapy help you to move mentally back to the present moment and act in accordance with your stated goals.
Helen mainly practices using the above short-term therapies. In cases involving a single trauma Helen can offer EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) which is a highly effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence for the treatment of PTSD. In some complex cases, where things that happened a long time ago are still impacting upon current distress and relationships Helen may use aspects of schema focussed therapy, which help to understand how past relationships and/or experiences may colour present thinking and behavioural styles.
Helen is able to offer cognitive assessments for people concerned about their memory. Helen has experience of working with people with dementia, including younger people with dementia. Cognitive assessments range from quick screening tests to more in-depth assessments of memory, attention, language, problem solving and mood.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Appointments can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance at no charge. Every effort will be made to accommodate a more suitable appointment time.
When appointments are cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, the full hourly rate will be charged. This also applies to appointments which are booked and not attended.
If you have a disability and are unable to negotiate stairs, please telephone Dr Barker in advance in order that alternative arrangements can be made.
Self-funding clients should pay at the end of the appointment. Card facilities are available at the clinic. Fees are £110 per hour for psychological assessment and therapy that is not related to a medico-legal claim. Further appointments will not be booked if fees are outstanding.
Health insurance funded clients should ensure that their treatment is covered prior to starting therapy. Any sessions unpaid by the Health Insurance Company or short fall will be claimed from the client.