In broad terms, therapy involves a clinical psychologist working collaboratively with you to help you understand more about your difficulty, why it occurred, what factors are maintaining it, and how to manage and/or overcome it.
Confidentiality is given paramount importance in the context of therapy. A psychologist is legally unable to reveal anything to anyone of what a client says or does in session, unless:
- permission is given by the client to do so,
- the psychologist has reason to believe that the client is likely to cause harm to themselves or someone else,
- a court subpoenas a client’s file.
Therapy from a clinical psychologist is more than supportive listening. Research has taught us that particular strategies are effective for specific symptoms and problems. There are different types of therapies, in that they focus on slightly different areas and use different strategies.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
At Denton Clinical Psychology, we have extensive training in CBT, a targeted type of therapy that teaches you how to develop more helpful ways to think and act. It focuses on identifying and then modifying thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to (or causing) the difficulties.
It is typically a short-term therapy (between 5 and 15 sessions), because it teaches you the skills you need to manage your difficulties on an ongoing basis, rather than having to be reliant on a therapist. Also, it is very practical and “hands-on”, teaching you what you need to know in the here and now to alleviate your symptoms and feel better.
Research identifies CBT as an effective psychological treatment for a wide variety of problems, including stress, depression, and anxiety. It is useful for many people, but not for everyone. Clinical psychologists know how to match the appropriate therapy to the individual.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT (pronounced as the word, “act”) has a number of years of research identifying it as an effective therapy. The basis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is much as the name suggests. It is focused on teaching you skills to accept (or make room for) upsetting feelings and thoughts and situations that can’t be changed, whilst showing you how to decisively live a rich and meaningful life according to your values. One of the main skills taught with ACT is mindfulness.
Schema Therapy was developed by Dr Jeffrey Young. The goals of schema therapy are to heal long-standing, self-defeating schemas (i.e. core beliefs), to help people stop using maladaptive (unhelpful) coping styles, and instead, to have peoples’ emotional needs met in everyday life. Schema therapy evolved from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and whilst there are some similarities, the focus of schema therapy is different. One might say that schema therapy aims at addressing issues on a “deeper” level than CBT. It has more of an intense focus on problematic emotional experiences as well as childhood issues and experiences. The client’s relationship with the therapist is also considered particularly important.
Schema therapy can be of most benefit to those who suffer from severe emotional ups and downs, problems in relationships, and/or long-standing psychological difficulties. This includes those with personality disorders or a history of being abused. The duration of therapy may be longer than in other types of therapy such as CBT.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that result from disturbing life experiences. It is designed to resolve unprocessed (or ‘stuck’) traumatic memories in the brain.
Please watch this video for an introduction to EMDR, courtesy of EMDR International Association.
EMDR therapy demonstrates how the mind can heal from psychological trauma similar to how the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the object is removed, healing resumes. A similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system has a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. But if the system is blocked, the memory gets ‘locked’ in the nervous system so that the emotional wound festers and causes suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
The eye movements in EMDR work to remove the block and unlock the brain’s natural healing processes. This alleviates the painful emotions associated with the distressing event.
EMDR can be effective for a number of problems, including:
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Depression and bipolar disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Difficult life events that may not be ‘traumatic’, yet still have negative impacts
Please contact us for more information if you think any of these approaches may be of help to you.