The benefits of CBT therapy in London

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the premise that the way we think about a situation affects how we act. In turn, our actions can affect how we think and how we feel. It follows, therefore, that if we are to overcome negative and unhelpful thoughts, and difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression, then it is necessary to change both the act of thinking (i.e. our “cognitions”) and also our behaviour, at the same time.

If negative interpretations of situations go unchallenged, patterns in thoughts, feelings and behaviours can become part of a continuous cycle which can be hard to break:

cbt-diagrams_500x369

Image courtesy of the charity MIND

So how does CBT “work”?

The treatment combines cognitive therapy (examining the things we think) and behavioural therapy (examining the things we do), and attempts to break the unhelpful cycle.

Your therapist will seek to identify your negative thinking patterns, and then discuss them with you and work with you to challenge and recalibrate them, so that they are no longer unhelpful.  This will include what is going on in your life right now, but may also look at how your past experiences impact the way you are feeling.  Problems are typically broken down into five main areas:

  1. the situation(s)
  2. our thoughts
  3. our emotions
  4. our physical feelings
  5. our actions

Having broken the problem down, each area is discussed in a structured way with the objective of turning negative thoughts into positive ones and acquiring coping skills.  Achievable targets or goals are sometimes agreed to help this process.

How is CBT different from other psychotherapies?

There are many forms of therapy available – some work better in certain situations than others, and of course everyone is different.  CBT is:

  • pragmatic – it helps identify specific problems and tries to solve them
  • highly structured – rather than talking freely about your life, you and your therapist discuss specific problems and set goals for you to achieve
  • focused on current problems – it’s mainly concerned with how you think and act now rather than attempting to resolve past issues
  • collaborative – your therapist won’t tell you what to do; they’ll work with you to find solutions to your current difficulties

The significance of the negative thoughts

CBT, then, is based on the premise that it isn’t the actual events or the situations themselves that upset us, but the meanings that we give them.  If our thoughts are too negative, they can block us seeing or doing things that don’t confirm what we believe is true.  We fail to learn anything new, and cling to our old thoughts even though they are unhelpful to us.

Of course, negative things can and do happen – but when we are in a negative and unhappy state of mind, we may be basing our predictions and interpretations on a biased view of the situation, making the difficulty that we face seem much worse. CBT helps people to correct these misinterpretations.

When can CBT help?

CBT is a highly effective way of treating a range of conditions.  Commonly used to deal with stress, anxiety and depression … it can also help with:

  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • phobias
  • eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia)
  • insomnia
  • alcohol misuse

Our highly skilled psychologists at Vivamus have vast experience in helping people achieve positive outcomes using cognitive behavioural therapy and a range of other treatments – working with you we ensure that the most effective treatment is adopted for each individual’s unique circumstances.

CBT therapy London – we are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone                                   07797 952 950

or email                                    info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk

or via our contact page        CBT therapy London

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

Vivamus psychologists in London

Where Vivamus psychologists are based – psychologists London, Brighton, Jersey and the Netherlands – and how we can help

Where?

Perhaps the most important point to make is that with modern technology you don’t have to come to us at all if you find it difficult.  We can use Skype technology where we use the webcams on our respective computers to see one another – and even exchange messages, files and images.  Skype is a widely used platform, and is very straightforward indeed.

Click here for our own page on Skype and here for their own main page – and please ask us if you have any questions or are unsure about the technology.

We can use this method regularly, or perhaps on those occasions when an emergency or unforeseen event happens and you can’t get to us.

Of course, although Skype is far more personal than a phone call (because we can see one another), it’s not quite the same as talking live – and we have various locations for you to choose from in London, Brighton, Jersey and the Netherlands.  Here’s a list of the London locations:

Psychologists London:

  • Oxford Circus
  • Clapham Junction
  • Clapham Common
  • Victoria
  • Herne Hill
  • Balham

we also have access to consulting rooms in other parts of London too, if none of these are convenient.

Remember – wherever you are, we will be able to find a way to help you.

How?

Life does not always treat us as we would wish, and sometimes it can be a real struggle.  This can lead to a variety of problems including stress, depression, anxiety, anger, relationship difficulties … and sometimes just an ill-defined and overwhelming sense of sadness and hopelessness.

Through a variety of means, our team of highly trained expert psychologists can help you – whoever you are and whatever difficulties you are facing.  We help individuals, couples, whole families, and even organisations.

We use a variety of approaches, always tailored to your individual needs based on the discussions we will have with you.  We’re not concerned with labelling what we do – counselling, therapy and so on – we’re simply here to help.  Some of the approaches we use are:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • humanistic psychotherapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • psychodynamic approach
  • systemic therapy

Sometimes a combination of these approaches is helpful.  You can find out more about each of them by clicking here.

What sort of difficulties do we deal with?

We have extensive experience of helping people deal with a range of difficulties, including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood/depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger
  • Assertiveness
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Trauma
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Psychological effects of redundancy

and many more.  Whatever the problem you are facing, please ask us how we can help you.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone                                   07797 952 950

or email                                    info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk

or our contact page                    Psychologists London, Brighton, Jersey and the Netherlands

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

Psychologists and Psychology – how and why do they work?

We’ve regularly mentioned our team of highly trained expert psychologists and how they can help, but we’re conscious that we’ve never explained exactly what their field of expertise actually is.  So, at the risk of over-simplifying what is in fact a vast topic, here’s a brief summary which we hope you will find useful.

A good place to start is the British Psychological Society (BPS) who define psychology as the scientific study of human mind and behaviour: how we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups. Psychology is a science and psychologists study human behaviour by observing, measuring and testing, then arriving at conclusions that are rooted in sound scientific methodology.

One of the interesting components of this definition is that it is a science i.e. the techniques and methodology used, and the conclusions drawn, are based upon logic.  We recognise of course that not all of the problems that we encounter can be solved by logic alone – in fact often logic seems to be the last place where we feel that we might find an answer – yet there is no doubt that it can play a part.

How a psychologist can help

There is a huge range of areas where psychology can help, including:

  • Helping people to overcome depression, stress, trauma or phobias
  • Easing the effects of parental divorce on children
  • Speeding up recovery from brain injury
  • Helping to stop or prevent bullying at school or in the workplace
  • Ensuring that school pupils and students are being taught in the most effective way
  • Making sure that people are happy at work and perform to the best of their abilities
  • Helping the police, courts and prison service to perform more effectively
  • Helping athletes and sports people to perform better

The thinking is that many of the challenges we face in life are rooted in our behaviour – so if we can understand the behaviour and what causes it, we can help to meet the challenges.

Branches of psychology

Any attempt to explain why humans think and behave in the way that they do will inevitably be linked to one or another branch of psychology. The different disciplines of psychology are extremely wide-ranging. They include:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Cognitive psychology: memory
  • Cognitive psychology: intelligence
  • Developmental psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Occupational psychology
  • Social psychology

What all these different approaches to psychology have in common is a desire to explain the behaviour of individuals based on the workings of the mind. And in every area, psychologists apply scientific methodology. They formulate theories, test hypotheses through observation and experiment, and analyse the findings with statistical techniques that help them identify important findings.

How the psychologist works

Most commonly, the psychologist will use therapy (often referred to as psychotherapy). There are many different styles of therapy, but the psychologist will choose the type that best addresses the person’s problem and best fits the patient’s characteristics and preferences.

Some common types of therapy are cognitive-behavioural, interpersonal, humanistic, psychodynamic, or a combination of a few therapy styles.

Therapy can be for an individual, couples, family or other group. Some psychologists are trained to use hypnosis, which research has found to be effective for a wide range of conditions including pain, anxiety and mood disorders.

And to finish – 10 interesting facts about psychology

Psychology has a big impact on all different areas of life, from education and health, to the economy and crime. Below are some interesting facts that you might not know about psychology:

  1. Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. It is both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice.
  2. British psychological research was fundamental in challenging the view that autism resulted from poor parenting and has given us clearer understanding of autism and led to more appropriate care and support systems (Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith, 1985).
  3. A British psychologist, C.S. Myers, introduced the term ‘shell-shock’ during World War One. This condition is now widely known as post-traumatic stress disorder (Myers, 1915).
  4. British psychological research has contributed to our understanding of how to encourage people to participate in recycling schemes (Nigbur, Uzzell, Lyons & Muckle, 2005).
  5. Many manufacturers of children’s buggies and pushchairs are now selling more rear-facing designs following psychological research showing the importance parent-child communication helps in relieving infant stress (Zeedyk, 2008).
  6. Research by British psychologists on aircraft cockpit design has led to a reduction in air accidents (Craik, 1940).
  7. The design of British coins was based upon psychological research into which shapes are easiest for blind people to identify (Bruce et al., 1983; Bruce & Hellawell, 1988).
  8. Psychological research on interviewing has led to the use of video recordings of child witnesses in court (Davies et al., 1995).
  9. Psychological research on the accuracy of eye witness testimony has led to changes in the way evidence is obtained and used (Gudjonsson, 2003; Holliday et al., 2008; Loftus, 2005)
  10. Psychological research on how to communicate information the benefits and side effects of medicines to patients has led to significant changes in the wording on their packaging (Berry, 2006; Berry et al., 2002, 2003, 2006).

We hope that you’ve found this brief introduction interesting and useful.  If you have any questions on psychology – how it works and how we might be able to help you – please ask us.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone                       07797 952 950 or 07900 285 561

or email                        info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – what is it?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the premise that the way we think about a situation affects how we act. In turn, our actions can affect how we think and feel. It follows, therefore, that if we are to overcome difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression then it is necessary to change both the act of thinking (i.e. our cognitions) and our behaviour, at the same time.

If negative interpretations of situations go unchallenged, patterns in thoughts, feelings and behaviours can become part of a continuous cycle which can be hard to break:

cbt-diagrams_500x369

Image courtesy of the charity MIND.

Consider the following example situation, as explained by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

There are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to most situations, depending on how you think about it. The way you think can be helpful – or unhelpful.

The Situation

You’ve had a bad day, feel fed up, so go out shopping. As you walk down the road, someone you know walks by and, apparently, ignores you. This starts a cascade of:

cbt6

The same situation has led to two very different results, depending on how you thought about the situation.

How you think has affected how you felt and what you did. In the example in the left hand column, you’ve jumped to a conclusion without very much evidence for it – and this matters, because it’s led to:

  • having a number of uncomfortable feelings
  • behaving in a way that makes you feel worse.

If you go home feeling depressed, you’ll probably brood on what has happened and feel worse. If you get in touch with the other person, there’s a good chance you’ll feel better about yourself.

If you avoid the other person, you won’t be able to correct any misunderstandings about what they think of you – and you will probably feel worse.

This ‘vicious circle’ can make you feel worse. It can even create new situations that make you feel worse. You can start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about yourself. This happens because, when we are distressed, we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways.

CBT helps people deal with “large” or overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts.  The technique differs from some other forms of therapy in that it focuses heavily on current problems, instead of looking into the past.  Its aim is to find practical ways to improve our state of mind on a daily basis.

Problems are typically broken down into five main areas:

  1. the situation(s)
  2. our thoughts
  3. our emotions
  4. our physical feelings
  5. our actions

Having broken the problem down, each area is discussed in a structured way with the objective of turning negative thoughts into positive ones and acquiring coping skills.  Achievable targets or goals are sometimes agreed to help this process.

CBT is a highly effective way of treating a range of conditions.  Commonly used to deal with stress, anxiety and depression it can also help with:

  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • phobias
  • eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia)
  • insomnia
  • alcohol misuse

Our highly skilled psychologists at Vivamus have vast experience in helping people achieve positive outcomes using cognitive behavioural therapy and a range of other treatments – working with you we ensure that the most effective treatment is adopted for each individual’s unique circumstances.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone         07797 952 950 or 07900 285 561

or email           info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

The benefits of child counselling

Counselling can help anyone, whatever their age, but children are a very special case.  For one thing, they may not yet have the vocabulary adequately to describe their experiences, or they may be too upset or traumatised to do so.  We must remember that they are not merely young adults – they must be listened to and treated very carefully indeed.

The difficulties that they face may also differ from those that adults face, and we should also recognise that they may react to them differently.  If there are problems or arguments at home, for example, or a death in the family, the upset that the children feel may lead them to become withdrawn and uncommunicative, making it even more difficult to understand their concerns fully.

Children may also communicate their difficulties in other and sometimes non-verbal ways, perhaps through their play which might be aggressive.  Unusual misbehaviour can be a sign that something is wrong.

Being able to talk to someone other than a parent can sometimes be very helpful to children.  This might be another family member – an aunt or uncle or grandparent perhaps – or potentially a trained child counsellor with years of experience.

If you do consider child counselling, then rest assured that the assistance your child will receive will probably differ from counselling for adults.  Factors like the child’s age, their development, the difficulties they are facing, and their behaviour, will all be taken into account.  In addition to talking things through, activities like play, drama, painting, storytelling and art may be used to encourage the child to express themselves.

Ground rules for children

The same ground rules apply as for adults, with added dimensions relating to the child’s maturity, their ability to understand what is going on, and what the desired outcomes are.  The counselling will be safe for them, with a heavy emphasis on empathy.  Thus the treatment will be:

  • confidential
  • respectful
  • non judgemental
  • uncritical
  • empathic
  • constructive
  • helpful

The counselling may be provided to the children on their own, or it may be provided as part of family counselling.  Either way it can be enormously helpful.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone                       07797 952 950 or 07900 285 561
or email                        info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

Effective stress management

Stress.  It’s a word many of us hear – and use – frequently, and it isn’t usually when things are going well.

The interesting thing is, we actually need a certain amount of stress to be at our most effective.  The “right” amount of stress will help us to prioritise and handle many situations in the most productive way.  It’s when it gets too much that we tend to run into difficulties.  But what actually is it?

What is stress?

In straightforward terms, it’s when we feel under too much mental and/or emotional pressure, and as a consequence feel unable to cope.  Numerous things can cause it – work demands, relationship issues, money problems, looming deadlines – leading to a degree of feeling overwhelmed and simply unable to deal with whatever challenge is facing us.

Not only does stress affect different people in different ways, but some situations that cause stress in some people can be motivating for others.  There is no doubt that it’s a complex topic, often with no ready-made solutions.

What are the effects of stress?

They are several and varied, but can include some or all of the following:

  • sleeping problems
  • sweating
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty concentrating
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • low self-esteem
  • headaches
  • muscle tension or pain
  • dizziness

Stress also causes the release of the so-called “fight or flight” hormones in our bodies, preparing us to take action.  The longer the levels of these hormones are raised, the longer we will feel stressed.

In itself, stress is not an illness, but if it continues unchecked it can lead to serious illness and/or behavioural problems such as drinking too much.

What can be done to minimise stress?

Essentially, it’s about trying to feel calmer about the challenges and getting them in perspective.  Quite often the “worst case” is not only extremely unlikely but not all that bad, but it doesn’t always feel that way.  So if we can’t always eliminate the original cause of the stress, we can at least try to minimise our reaction to it.

Relaxation, exercise, and time-management can all help – as in so many other areas of leading a healthy life – but one of the best ways to solve any problem is to determine what causes it.  With stress this can sometimes be difficult, as there may appear to be multiple causes, so a good starting point is to keep a diary of when you feel stressed, which are known as “stress triggers”.  This might help:

  • the date, time and place of the stressful episode
  • what you were doing
  • who you were with
  • how you felt emotionally
  • what you were thinking
  • what you started doing
  • how you felt physically
  • a stress rating (0-10 where 10 is the most stressed you could ever feel)

You could then use the diary to:

  • work out what triggers your stress
  • work out how you operate under pressure
  • develop better coping mechanisms

Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress.

The 10 wonderful “stress busters”

NHS choices have a list of 10 things we can do to minimise stress, underpinned by the positive view that there is always a solution to a problem.  It will all be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end …

Here they are:

  1. be active
  2. take control
  3. connect with people
  4. have some “me” time
  5. challenge yourself
  6. avoid unhealthy habits
  7. help other people
  8. work smarter, not harder
  9. try to be positive
  10. accept the things you can’t change

Here’s a link if you would like more detail.

How Vivamus can help with stress management

In addition to our counselling sessions, our team of expert psychologists have developed an application (app) which you can download to your mobile device, enabling you to function at an optimal level of stress.

You will find more details of the app, and how to download it, here.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

The benefits of counselling  

We all live in an increasingly complex world, with numerous factors – many of which are beyond our control – affecting how good we feel and how well we function within it.

Within this world things don’t always work out as we want them to: illness, bereavement, loss, relationship issues, redundancy, stress, depression – the list of reasons why we might need help seems endless …

… and talking of help, it sometimes feels as if asking for help is demonstrating some sort of weakness.  If only we could deal with it ourselves!  We perhaps believe that asking for help, and receiving it, might reinforce our feelings of weakness, dependency, lack of confidence and uncertainty – and exacerbate the original problem(s).

It’s good to talk

The fact is, asking for help is actually a strength!  It demonstrates that we wish not only to take control of the situation but to make it better.  And an excellent starting point is by telling someone else about the problem:

  • the simple fact of talking about it – opening up to someone – can be a relief and provide some catharthis
  • you will quickly realise that you are not alone
  • the people you talk to may be able to empathise …
  • … or offer guidance or advice …
  • … or share their own thoughts and feelings …
  • … or simply “be there” for you (which is not to be underestimated)
  • all of which can help enormously

And then there is counselling.

What is counselling?

It is one thing talking about problems to family members and close friends, which we reiterate can be enormously beneficial.  For various reasons, however, this may not be possible, or you may not feel ready for it.  It is another thing to talk to expert, professional counsellors who have vast experience in helping people deal with problems of various kinds and whose expertise is underpinned by years of high quality training.

Counselling is a type of therapy that allows people to talk about their problems – however serious or seemingly insurmountable they may be – in a environment that is entirely safe.  By safe we mean:

  • confidential
  • respectful
  • non judgemental
  • uncritical
  • empathic
  • constructive
  • helpful

You will be encouraged to express your feelings honestly and openly.  It’s ok to cry, to be silent, or just talk!  You won’t be offered direct advice, but you will be guided towards finding your own solution to your problem(s) through a greater understanding.

It can be a great relief to share your worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.

Who provides counselling?

We mentioned the high quality training that counsellors receive, thus ensuring that they can provide the therapy effectively.

Different healthcare professionals may be trained in counselling or be qualified to provide psychological therapies.  These include:

  • counsellors
  • psychologists
  • psychiatrists
  • psychotherapists
  • cognitive behavioural psychotherapists

We’ll be talking more about these in future articles.

Qualifications and regulations for counsellors

Most counsellors will be registered with a professional organisation that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) (a government body), such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or The National Counselling Society.

Counselling and clinical psychologists must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), and may also be chartered with The British Psychological Society (BPS). The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) maintains a list of accredited CBT practitioners.

Therapists registered with a professional association have met the PSA’s high standards for governance, standard setting, education and training, information, management and complaints. They must also maintain high ethical and professional standards. This gives the public greater protection, and guarantees a minimum level of training and continuing professional development.

We are here to help you

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please see our contact information on our contact us page

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!

Trauma & Violence: Working with both the victim & perpetrator

I have recently given a presentation for the BPS South West event Psychology in the Pub on Trauma and Violence. One of the main questions throughout the presentation was ‘Is there ever senseless violence?’ Often in the media and on a political level we talk about the crime of violent offenders but often ignore there background history and why someone would resort to violence. There are some interesting statistics Is it easier not to make sense of their violence – to categories them as inherently bad rather than try and formulate their difficulties? Does this make it easier for us as a society also as it disowns us for any responsibility?

As Psychologists our role is to attempt to understand another individual’s behaviour – to try and understand the communication behind the violence and provide/teach/model to the patient a way of verbalising their feelings rather than acting out on them. A quote I used in the talk which concisely summarises the trauma based theory of violence is:

‘Some of us use the body to convey the things for which we cannot find words’ Hornbacher, 1998

There are some interesting statistics on this topic:

    • Sexual abuse histories and physical abuse histories among 46% and 92% of violent offenders respectively (Beck-Sander, 1995)
    • 48% of women in prison suffered domestic violence (Women In Prison charity)
    • 53% of women in prison have experienced physical/emotional or sexual abuse in childhood (WIP charity)
    • 31% of women in prison have been look after children (WIP charity)

My summary from my presentation – or take home tweets were: 

  • Unless we listen to the communication behind the violence we will not reduce risk
  • Clinicians need to manage their own conflicts working with violent offenders
  • Importance of working with trauma victims – especially in the rehabilitation of offenders.

Dr. Katherine Boucher

Clinical Psychologist

Technological Toddlers!

As a psychologist, clients and friends, often ask me my opinion on children development and what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for them.

In the December 2011 edition of the Psychologist Magazine, Natalie Kucirkova, examines babies and toddlers use of technology (The Psychologist (2011), vol 24 (12), pgs. 938 – 940). An interesting statistic she quotes is that in 2009, more than 47% of the top 100 selling Apple apps were targeted at preschool or elementary aged children (Shuler, 2009), and that designers of apps are free to define how ‘educational’ their apps are themselves. Kucirkova reports that there is a lack of longitudinal research in this area and thus there are not publicised guidelines for parents. The article discusses why there may be a lack of research (technology changing too quickly, adult researchers not being up to speed themselves etc.), professionals/childcare providers’ approaches to new technology and some of the skills that digital literacy might promote. Kucirkova concludes that professionals working with children need to recognise the role of digital technologies on children’s lives and the advantages of acknowledging digital media in childhood research.

So my first advice to parents would be to try to learn with their children about new technologies, and to research the impact themselves by listening and observing their children, as each child learns and responds in different ways.

Dr. Katherine Boucher

Clinical Psychologist

Introducing Mindfulness

Many of the Psychologists at Vivamus include Mindfulness techniques in their therapeutic approach. Mindfulness has been defined as an ‘awareness of present experience with acceptance’ (Germer, Siegal & Fulton, 2005) or ‘the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding experience moment by moment’ (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Psychologists offering a mindfulness-based intervention should seek to promote seven key qualities: non-judging, patience, having a beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go (Kabat-Zinn, 2001).
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002) combines principles of cognitive therapy with mindfulness techniques (such as meditation skills that focus attention). MBCT has a growing evidence base with a range of conditions, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2004) has recommended that MBCT should be considered for people who have had three or more major depressive episodes.
If you are interested in exploring mindfulness techniques with a psychologist do contact us on:info@vivamuspsychologists.co.uk or if you have any feedback about your experiences of mindfulness please tweet us @ VIVAMUS_Psychs

Dr. Katherine Boucher
Clinical Psychologist