NECPS is able to offer a range of evidence-based talking therapies. We will work with you to understand your individual experiences, concerns and aspirations in order to develop a bespoke treatment plan.This may involve drawing on more than one model of therapy where appropriate.
What kind of difficulties can therapy help me with?
There are many different kinds of issues that talking therapies can help with. Whilst there are many different diagnostic labels that can be applied to emotional difficulties not everyone finds these labels helpful. We firmly believe that every individual is unique and our treatment approach is underpinned by a thorough assessment and understanding of you as a person and the challenges you face. NECPS has experience and expertise in helping people who struggle with the following kinds of issues:
- Depression and low mood
- Anxiety and excessive worrying
- Specific phobias
- Trauma, including coming to terms with childhood trauma or abuse
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Sleep problems such as insomnia
- Borderline personality disorder/managing emotional instability and self-destructive behaviour
- Bipolar disorder
- Living with physical health problems such as pain and cancer
- Emotional difficulties associated with developmental conditions such as Autism, Asperger Syndrome and ADHD
- Medically unexplained symptoms such as chronic fatigue syndrome and non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD)
- Substance misuse and addiction
- Grief and loss
- Shame, self-criticism and low self-worth
CBT (Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy).
CBT is a well-researched psychological therapy that has been shown to be effective for a wide range of difficulties. It is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) as a treatment for: depression, anxiety (including phobias, panic attacks, social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder. There is also evidence that CBT can be helpful for other conditions and problems including: chronic pain, chronic fatigue, medically unexplained symptoms, sleeping problems such as insomnia and anger management.
CBT involves exploring the impact of unhelpful thinking styles on how we feel and act. Therapeutic work focuses on developing more helpful ways of thinking about our experiences, changing how we relate to unhelpful thoughts and/or developing more adaptive and useful responses.
CBT-I is a particular form of CBT that has been developed to treat insomnia. Danielle has undertaken training in CBT-I with the regional sleep disorder service in order to be able to offer this treatment at NECPS.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Retraining).
EMDR is a NICE recommended treatment for trauma. Research has also suggested that it can be a useful treatment approach for other emotional difficulties that are associated with upsetting memories. The theory that underpins EMDR is that when a person is involved in a distressing event they can feel overwhelmed and may therefore not process information in the usual way. As a consequence when they think about the experience or are reminded of it in some way they can re-experience aspects of the distressing event - including what they felt at the time. EMDR uses alternating left-right stimulation of the brain (using eye movements or alternative stimulation such as tapping) to facilitate processing of the problematic memory and this can help the memory become less intense thereby reducing the distress associated with it.
ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training)
Sometimes the more we struggle with or try to control unwanted thoughts and feelings the more intense those thoughts and feelings become and we experience more suffering as a result. Often, as our energy is being used up in this struggle we are less able to focus on the things that matter to us – such as our relationships, our vocations and our interests. ACT aims to resolve this by increasing our capacity to ‘open up’ to all of our experiences – including those that may be painful - whilst at the same time helping us clarify what matters to us and how we can live our lives in accord with our values.
There is strong evidence that ACT can be useful as a treatment for chronic pain and studies have also found it to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety disorders and addiction. Outcome studies suggest that ACT may be a promising treatment for a range of other problems and more information about the research evidence can be found here.
CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy)
Compassion focused therapy is aimed at helping people who have emotional difficulties associated with high levels of shame and unhelpful self-criticism. It is common for people with these difficulties to report that other forms of psychological therapy fail to help them feel better. Often people report that they can recognise that their negative thoughts are unhelpful and/or unrealistic but report that such thoughts feel true nonetheless. People who experience high levels of shame or self-criticism often struggle to feel kindness and warmth towards themselves or others. This style of relating is often a learned consequence of early relationship experiences, particularly those associated with bullying, abuse, neglect or a lack of warmth and nurturing. CFT acknowledges that the relationship we have with ourselves and the way we believe other people feel about us can profoundly impact our well-being for better or for worse. When we are excessively harsh on ourselves we may feel very unsafe in the world, we are vulnerable to mood difficulties and our capacity to work towards valued goals is undermined. CFT aims to build self-confidence by developing self-compassion. It involves the use of specific exercises and practices to enhance activation and development of the 'soothing system' - our innate emotional system associated with feelings of belonging, well-being and contentment. The therapy integrates cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques with concepts drawn from evolutionary psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology and neuroscience.
DBT skills (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)
DBT is a multi-modal therapy designed primarily to help people who struggle with intense emotions and who engage in self-damaging behaviour as a means of coping – people with such problems are sometimes said to have ‘borderline personality disorder’ or ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’. Research has also suggested that DBT can be an effective treatment for depression, substance dependence, post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. The aim of DBT is to help individuals experience life as meaningful and of worth. The skills component of DBT is designed to enhance a person’s capabilities to:
- Live in the present moment
- Regulate emotions
- Tolerate distress
- Develop effective interpersonal skills
DBT skills is often taught as a group programme but can also be undertaken on a 1:1 basis with a therapist, as offered here at NECPS.
At the core of many emotional difficulties is a tendency to get stuck in ‘mental time travel’. This may take the form of brooding and reliving past experiences that we cannot change, or else imagining and pre-living experiences that have not (and may not) occur. Mindfulness helps us train our minds to be able to come back to the ‘here and now’ when we notice that we are getting caught up in unhelpful thinking patterns. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest and research into the benefits of mindfulness and it is being utilized in many different areas including mental health, education, life coaching, military, amateur and professional sports. Many people are starting to describe mindfulness as a form of ‘neurophysiotherapy’ as a consequence of studies which have shown that regular practice can result in physical changes to the structure of the brain.
Contrary to what many people think mindfulness is not a religious practice - though it can usually be incorporated into existing religious and spiritual traditions where a person already has an existing faith.