Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an approach which helps you achieve a relaxed state and remain within the present moment throughout day-to-day life. This can help you to better cope with stressful situations, emotions or environments as they occur. Although it may sound simple, for many people it requires the training of a specialised professional to successfully learn.

Some of the techniques that may be used include:

• Relaxation training

• Learning to let go of troubling or unhelpful thoughts

• Implementing strategies to control impulsive behaviour

• Learning to regulate your emotions and gain more enjoyment from daily life

When is it helpful?

Research has shown that mindfulness is useful for a range of difficulties including stress, anxiety, depression, physical pain, sleep difficulties, ADHD, and addiction.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a highly evidence-based and widely used approach that is used to resolve current concerns. It incorporates a range of targeted strategies to help replace unhelpful thought patterns, whilst at the same time modifying unhealthy behaviours.

Some of the techniques that may be used include:

• Identifying the thought patterns that are contributing to the difficulties

• Setting specific goals and working towards improvement session-to-session

• Completing tasks and practicing skills outside of sessions

• Working collaboratively to find strategies that suit your needs and preferences

• For fears, phobias or OCD, using ‘Exposure Therapy’ to work step-by-step towards facing the feared situation or object

When is it helpful?

As it is such a broad approach, research has shown that it is effective for a wide range of difficulties and with many different age groups. This includes depression, anxiety, phobias, social difficulties, OCD, PTSD, sleep disorders, eating disorders and body image concerns.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a form of therapy which uses various technologies to provide information about what your body is doing. By measuring and monitoring biological processes in your body, such as heart rate or brain activity, you can learn to alter these processes in order to change your health and the way you respond to stressful events. Biofeedback allows you to consciously take control of what are normally involuntary functions and is used to help you train the way you respond to particular situations

Biofeedback helps to give you more awareness, and therefore control, of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations. With awareness and control, comes the ability to combat unhealthy physical or mental states, such as a state of heightened arousal. Therefore, biofeedback is often used to help individuals become more relaxed, better in control of their emotions, and improve their ability to focus their concentration.

Biofeedback can be applied to a wide range of conditions, and the specific technology or technique used depends on what work best for the individual and the concern they are tackling. For example, different areas of the brain light up with different techniques - and it’s almost impossible to do when you are anxious! But with exploration, you can find the key to getting your brain back on track and out of ‘emergency response’ mode.

When is it helpful?

Biofeedback can be applied to a broad range of both physical and mental health concerns including, but not limited to: anxiety, addiction, migraines, learning disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, and PTSD.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT helps you to accept and better cope with things when they go wrong. You learn to accept any unpleasant feelings, thoughts or situations, and gain more from the positive experiences of life.

Some of the techniques that may be used include:

• Changing unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts into more positive thoughts and emotions

• Learning to let go of the past and live more in the present moment

• Relaxation training

• Discovering your true values and assisting you change the things that are not in line with your values and happiness

When is it helpful?

ACT can be used for a range of difficulties, including depression, stress, anxiety, physical pain, addiction, eating disorders, troubling relationships, eating disorders, parenting.

Schema Therapy

Schemas are thought patterns or beliefs that we have developed over time. Sometimes they will not be obvious, and other times you will recognise them but not know how to change them. The psychologist can help you to get in touch with your schemas, spot them in your daily lives and replace them with more positive thoughts and behaviours.

When is it helpful?

The success of Schema Therapy has been found within research, and it can be tailored to assist with a wide range of difficulties. Some of these difficulties include depression, personality disorders, disordered eating, anxiety and PTSD.

Person-Centred Approach

The person-centred approach is focused on the individuality of each person. The practitioner bases the therapeutic approach around what each client wants and needs, and helps them to build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to create change in themselves.

When is it helpful?

The Person-Centred Approach makes use of a range of different methods, and so can be used alongside any other therapy and for any difficulty.

Family Systems & Attachment approaches

The Family Systems approach not only creates positive change within the individual person, but also within their family. The Attachment approach observes the relationships between family members and the way these may be impact on later life. The practitioner uses these two approaches together to assist an individual or a family unit to help build healthier relationship patterns and a better support system.

When is it helpful?

This approach is helpful when an individual’s difficulties occur within or have originated from an unhealthy family environment. It can also provide knowledge and build a better support system within the family when one family member is experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Some of the areas that it has been effective in treating include depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, disordered eating and addiction.

Narrative Therapy

This approach is used to separate the problem from the individual who is experiencing it. The practitioner will assist in viewing a difficult experience from an outsider’s perspective to help find better ways of thinking, coping and responding.

When is it helpful?

The success of Narrative Therapy has been found within research, and it can be tailored to assist with a wide range of difficulties. Some of these difficulties include anxiety, stress, PTSD, troubled relationships, trauma, and working through sensitive or emotional concerns.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is a more targeted, goal-driven therapy which focuses on improving the way that a person relates to themselves and others. This therapy maintains a focus on creating change for present symptoms, which commonly involves building communication skills, building a support network and learning how to identify and manage challenging emotions.

When is it helpful?

Interpersonal Therapy is successful at repairing or improving relationships, social skills and self-esteem. However, it can also be effective for other difficulties such as depression, disordered eating, substance use, panic, anxiety, and grief.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be commonly misunderstood in the context of psychology. The practitioner does not hypnotise the client, but instead helps them to reach a relaxed state. This state enables the client to experience heightened attention and visualisations, in order to get to the basis of the difficulty and allow the psychologists’ support to be more easily understood and received.

When is it helpful?

Hypnotherapy has been found to be successfully for a range of difficulties in past research, including anxiety, PTSD, concerns with sleep, self-esteem and physical pain. It can also be effective for all age ranges, including children.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Negative emotions can often display themselves as physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations, headaches or hyperarousal and alertness. This therapy is used to reduce the physical symptoms, while also identifying and working through the source of the difficulties.

When is it helpful?

This therapy is useful for treating physical discomfort or pain which could not be diagnosed or treated by a GP. This could include a feeling of tightness in your body or an inability to sleep or concentrate, and these can be caused by underlying anxiety, trauma, and fear.

Psychoanalytic therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy is more an in-depth, long term therapy which reflects on and creates positive change in things that you may not be aware about. This can include breaking down thoughts, feelings, dreams, and fantasies so that you can better understand them and remove any which are negatively affecting your life.

When is it helpful?

Psychoanalytic therapy can be used to better understand yourself, which in turn improves your ability to manage any negative emotions and experiences throughout life. It can be tailored for a wide range of difficulties and used in combination with other therapies, but may be useful if you just don’t feel right but can’t pinpoint exactly why.

Pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy utilises medication to help assist with psychological difficulties. This can help to control overwhelming feelings and symptoms, which allows a person to better engage with other forms of therapy. The psychiatrists and GPs at VCPS can prescribe medication while they work with you to resolve the underlying source of the difficulties.

When is it helpful?

This form of therapy may be useful when psychological therapies were not successful, or when a person feels completely unable to see a psychologist. It is also useful for reducing the physical symptoms that can co-occur with psychological difficulties, including sleep concerns, difficulties concentrating, tension or pain.

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