My Approach

CLIENTS COME TO ME FOR:

  • Addictions

  • Anxieties

  • Abuse (emotional/physical/sexual)

  • Bereavement 

  • Depression / "low-mood"

  • Eating disorders

  • Relationship difficulties

  • Identity issues

  • ​​Lack of motivation

  • PTSD

  • Stress

  • Substance misuse

  • Self -doubt

  • Self-confidence

  • Trauma

  • Work-related difficulties 

Life can present us with many challenges, some of which may be harder to deal with than others. Depression, anxiety, bereavement, addictive behaviours, abuse, job loss and relationship break downs, to name a few, are just some of the many things in life which can cause emotional difficulties and in turn, leave us feeling hopeless and unaware of what to do.


Regardless of the reason, therapy provides an open, safe, non-judgemental and confidential space to explore these difficulties. Research has shown that for therapy to be most effective it requires a supportive, open and trusting relationship between therapist and client. This open and collaborative environment is something that I highly value and for some of my client's, therapy has been the first place in which they have felt fully listened to and understood.

Gestalt Therapy

 

I am a qualified accredited Gestalt individual and group psychotherapist.

 

As a Gestalt therapist, when working with clients, my focus is on understanding my client's difficulties and distress in the here-and-now (present moment) and finding solutions for this. Therefore, when looking at past issues, I may encourage my clients to be aware in the here-and-now of their thoughts,  feelings and how they are experiencing this.

 

Gestalt therapy in its approach understands that awareness of the self may have diminished or become blocked by negative thought patterns and behaviours that can leave people feeling unhappy, stuck or distressed. By working creatively, collaboratively and incorporating other therapies (see below), I aim to deepen awareness of these blocks.


By building self-awareness, gestalt therapy helps clients better understand themselves. It also helps them to understand how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours (which may be out of their awareness) are impacting their health and their relationships. With this self-knowledge, clients begin to understand how their emotional and physical selves are connected and develop an understanding of their behaviour. From this place, a place of understanding and awareness, clients are able to make changes based on choice and awareness, start living a fuller life and more effectively deal with difficulties. Furthermore, Gestalt Therapy provides insight into these blocks and can help individuals to alleviate current issues and distress.

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy for PTSD

I am currently a trainee EMDR therapist.

When we experience traumatic events, the thoughts, feelings and memories can often be so overwhelming that we are unable to separate from them and become stuck. Our ability to move on from them may seem impossible at the time and can leave us feeling in a state of distress and hopelessness. However, the mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does and much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Applying this natural process of coping to successfully treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),  EMDR works by helping the brain to process distressing memories, reduce their influences and allow individuals to develop ways to effectively get on with their lives.

Therapy sessions

During EMDR therapy you will remain in control, fully alert and wide-awake and is not a form of hypnosis. During therapy sessions, you are supported to recall a traumatic event(s) and at the same time receive bilateral stimulation. This means receiving stimuli in a rhythmic left-right pattern via moving your eyes from side to side (in a similar way that your eyes would move during REM sleep).

What can EMDR therapy help with PSTD symptoms from

  • Accidents/illness

  • Combat trauma

  • Disasters

  • Assault and sexual /emotional/physical abuse, to name a few.

Although most research into EMDR has examined its use in people with PTSD, EMDR is sometimes used experimentally to treat many other psychological problems. They include:

  • Addiction

  • Anxiety

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Chronic pain and phantom pain

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Panic attacks

  • Self-esteem issues

 

Effectiveness

The use of EMDR has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organization as a treatment of choice for post-traumatic stress disorder

I also incorporate person-centred, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural therapy into how I work, forming an integrative approach with my clients where appropriate. 

Person-centred Therapy

Person-centred therapy is a humanistic approach that deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously, rather than how a therapist can interpret their unconscious thoughts or ideas. The therapist in this approach works to understand an individual’s experience from their perspective. The therapist values their clients perspective and all aspects of their humanity while aiming to be open and genuine. This is vital in helping the client feel accepted, and better able to understand their own feelings. This approach can help clients to reconnect with their inner values and sense of self-worth, thus enabling them to find their own way to move forward and progress.

 

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is based on psychoanalytic ways of understanding personal and emotional development. It examines the way we see and relate to the world, and how this has developed for each individual through relationships made in infancy, childhood, and later life. Psychodynamic understands that disturbances in our earlier relationships can produce ongoing vulnerabilities, fixed patterns of behaviours, difficulties and ways of relating to others which can cause problems in later life. Incorporating psychodynamic therapy, in a similar way to Gestalt therapy it looks at where old patterns may be repeated but can be understood and thought about in ways that allow people to change.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ( CBT) 

CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT is a form of therapy that aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. CBT is directive in that the client is shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel by being given tools and techniques to try out. Traditionally CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past and searches for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis. However, being trained primarily as a Gestalt Therapist who looks at ways to improve my clients' state of mind, I will also work with how past patterns of behaviours and thoughts may have become fixed in the present moment.

Trauma Therapy 

Accidents, combat, sickness, disasters, assault, sexual/emotional and or physical abuse are all events which can happen without warning and potentially cause trauma. Such events can leave us with a whole host of feelings that are so overwhelming that we don’t know what to do with them. Some people are left feeling shocked, disorientated, distressed, fearful, numb, angry, anxious, depressed, with flashbacks or PTSD and this is just to name a few. We may feel like our entire lives have been overturned and shaken. The effects can be long-lasting and it can leave us with difficulties in other areas in our lives. 

Some of us may seek help soon after a traumatic event and for others, seeking help may take a bit more time. In essence, trauma therapy helps us to process and understand the effects of what has happened to us and to relieve distressing feelings, behaviours, thoughts and symptoms.

Goals of trauma therapy can often be:

  • To reduce or eliminate trauma symptoms such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and negative thoughts and feelings

  • To better understand feelings associated with traumatic events

  • To face the reality of past events without getting stuck in it

  • To work towards shifting focus from the past to the present

  • To overcome addictions associated with traumatic

  • To reclaim your personal power and control

  • To improve daily functioning

  • To regain a sense of self

  • To gain coping skills

 

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© 2019  By Whitney Shaw-Dale | Psychotherapist

NW1 OPT & N1 8PT