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See below for a description of some common areas of psychological difficulty and what treatment options are available.

I specialise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), an evidenced-based approach to working through anxiety, depression and other emotional difficulties.  If you'd like to know more about what I do, please email me or call me on 0211424838.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Worry

While our tendency to worry might help us to organise and plan, it is not uncommon for worry to get the better of us.  We can worry about everything that we're worrying about and then worry some more about how worried we've been.  Worry can float about from one area of concern to another and grow in size so it gets in the way of us doing whatever it is we're needing to do.  We can get bogged down in worry like it's quicksand which can affect our physical health leading to headaches, tummy troubles or fatigue.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome worry problems.  In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for worry problems such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), you can develop new skills in terms of how to view the things you are worried about and how to think about the worry itself.  You would test out these new ways of thinking by completed behavioural experiments. Mindfulness and other acceptance-based techniques would assist you to remain present in the moment and continue to work towards your goals irrespective of the worry.  You would also have the opportunity to learn additional skills to help with sleep or other physical problems linked to the worry.

Anxiety

Anxiety problems come in various shapes and sizes and generally have the tendency to make us feel intensely uncomfortable in certain situations so that we then work hard to avoid these situations.  Common types of anxiety include Panic Disorder, Social Phobia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Often we have an awareness at some level that our fears don't quite add up - and at the same time, simply trying to "think different" about the situation is not enough.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) includes a range of specialised procedures developed for each type anxiety problem.  For example, Panic Disorder often brings with it a fear of fear, so CBT treatment involves a procedure called Panic Induction whereby we practise deliberately experiencing feelings of anxiety and allowing these to pass rather than trying to block or avoid panicky feelings.  All CBT treatments for anxiety involve a gradual, step-by-step approach to testing out new ways of responding to our fears where one step is carefully consolidated before we move on to the next step.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The Obsessive-Compulsive "spectrum" includes a number of different anxiety problems that can all respond well to psychological treatment.  OCD typically involves experiencing intrusive worry thoughts or images - often about harming coming to themselves or someone they care about - followed by a strong urge to engage in compulsive behaviours such as checking and re-checking, straightening and rearranging, or repetitive hand-washing.  OCD is often described as a "secret problem" in children as many of its symptoms might initially be missed by parents and teachers.  Adults too might be coping quite well in their workplace while taking longer and longer to leave the house in the morning due to checking or washing routines.  If you're reading this and think you might have OCD, it's important to know that OCD comes in many shapes and guises.  It's common themes are feeling frequently troubled by fear, doubt, indecision or a heightenend sense of responsibility - however these worries may be about sexuality, throwing things away, or something terrible happening to your family rather than "germs".  In CBT treatment for OCD, we'd start by developing a model of how your OCD "works" and then set about claiming your life back from OCD through a series of behavioural experiments.  A common behavioural experiment in the CBT treament of OCD is to enter a feared situation (e.g. touching a "contaminated" object) and then resisting the urge to wash. This procedure is known as "Exposure with Response Prevention" or "ERP".  The great news is that there is now lots of very good research evidence showing that CBT is an effective treatment for OCD in children, adolescents and adults.  There is also new evidence that OCD can be successfully treated in people with Asperger's Syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders (see my Publications for more information).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  If you have BDD, then you may have developed obsessive thoughts, worries or preoccupations with a certain aspect of your appearance.  This part of you might seem too large, too small, or out of shape and you might have intense urges to disguise it using clothing or make-up or "fix" it through surgery, diet or exercise.  People with BDD will often develop a complicated relationship with mirrors or reflective surfaces and either try to avoid them entirely or spend time observing themselves to check and recheck the body part that they feel troubled by.  If you have BDD, you might feel quite convinced that "my nose is the problem" rather than believing that psychological therapy could make a difference.  However, it's important to know that trying to fix or disguise your nose ends up perpetuating the problem just like handwashing does in OCD. Through CBT therapy for BDD, you would learn more about how BDD works and would have the opportunity to discover whether the way forward for you is to work less on changing your appearance and more on changing your thoughts about your appearance - and change what you do in response to worry thoughts or urges to check.  If you are reading this because you think a family member or friend might have BDD then there is a book that you could pass on to your loved one to read: "The Broken Mirror" by Katharine A. Phillips, available through www.fishpond.co.nz. 
  

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Contact Details

TELEPHONE:

0211-424-838

EMAIL:

summitpsychology@hotmail.com