We work with a wide range of mental health challenges and physical health issues, as well as supporting people through times of stress and difficult life transitions. People also engage in therapy to develop a better understanding of themselves and be as psychologically healthy as possible.
Therapy can be most effective when you are not “feeling bad.” People don’t go to the gym just because they’re suddenly unhealthy and need to make some changes. They go to the gym to stay healthy. They exercise in part to be prepared for more serious health challenges, just as therapy can help us be prepared for the emotional challenges that are an inevitable part of life.
Whatever the reason that brings you to this website, we know how powerful psychological therapy can be in transforming peoples lives and helping people thrive.
We treat clients in our clinics in the Godalming and Guildford area in Surrey, along with Petersfield and Southsea in Hampshire, and Haywards Heath in West Sussex.
Many of our psychologists offer online therapy as well.
Some of the common questions people ask us are:
- “What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel so bad?”
- “Can you help me?”
- “What can I expect my therapy sessions to entail?”
- “Can you help with physical difficulties like pain management?”
- “How will I know when I’m better?”
These are common questions people ask themselves when they are struggling. We can say with certainty that there is nothing “wrong” with you. In all our years of working with many, many people, their difficulties always make sense when you seek to understand rather than judge.
Your psychologist will help you to better understand why you are feeling the way you are and will talk with you about what changes you want to make in order to develop a specific individualised therapeutic plan.
Although people come to therapy for a variety of reasons below are some common examples of what brings people to contact us:
- Depression/Low mood
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Personality Disorders*
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSD) and Complex Trauma (which typically refers to trauma that occured in childhood/adolescence and is usually protracted in nature rather than a one off event)
- Relationship Difficulties
- Feeling unhappy, lonely and empty, despite having on paper what looks like a rich life.
The reasons behind these difficulties are often multi-faceted. Some difficulties may originate from childhood. When most people hear this, they think about physical or emotional abuse or family conflict — but the emotional needs of children are complex, and families can be very loving and well intentioned and yet may not fully meet these needs.
We may also be left with painful memories from school which can leave lasting wounds. Looking at our past isn’t about blaming parents or others for our difficulties, but it is about developing a psychologically sophisticated understanding of the impact our formative years had on us.
Of course there are also circumstances in our adult lives that can exacerbate or trigger psychological distress, some examples of which are below:
- Sitting exams
- Leaving home
- Starting university
- Breakup and divorce
- Marital affair
- Stress at work
- Unclear direction or purpose
- Financial difficulties
- Moving (home or work)
- Changing job or career
- Becoming a parent
- Juggling too many demands
As human beings we are hardwired to want to understand and make sense of things (including ourselves!). Many clients tell us how helpful it has been to develop a rich understanding of themselves, which has enabled them to make sense of their struggles in a new and often less judgmental light.
We are always moved by the unique human stories we hear (the unique human story that is inside us all), we admire the courage and bravery people show in sharing their stories with us and feel very privileged to be able to help people grow and thrive.
All our psychologists are highly trained and have many years of experience working with clients with a wide range of mental health and emotional challenges.
We have all worked in public sector services including NHS mental health teams and secure hospitals as well as working in private practice helping clients work towards building a meaningful life.
We also work with psychologists/therapists both qualified and in training.
Whilst no two peoples therapy will ever look the same, there are some common components to structured psychological therapy that go beyond simply having a safe reflective space in which to talk openly and honestly… as important as this is. These components may include:
A psychological assessment is where your psychologist will spend one or maybe two sessions with you fully exploring the reasons that bring you to therapy. Assessment sessions may also involve completing some questionnaires to help clarify the severity of difficulties such as anxiety and depression. The assessment session helps identify for both you and your psychologist the pertinent things you will need to work on together.
A psychological formulation is central to how psychologists work. Psychologists use formulations rather than diagnostic labels to understand people’s inner world and behaviour. Whilst a diagnosis can sometimes be very helpful, human beings are extremely complex and a formulation is more sensitive to this fact by providing an individualised understanding of your difficulties.
A formulation will outline the key factors that bring you to therapy (which may or may not fall under a diagnostic category), consideration of key pre-predisposing factors (such as your own temperament and life experiences), precipitating factors (what may have triggered the onset of a particular difficulty) and perpetuating factors (what things might be happening in your current life that keep your difficulties going). The formulation is then used to create a very individualised and personal therapeutic plan.
Your psychologist is likely to spend time during your psychological therapy explaining important psychological concepts that will help you to better understand yourself and what it means to be human.
You may, for example, learn about how the brain and nervous system work. Psychoeducational aspects of therapy drawn upon the disciplines of evolutionary psychology, cognitive psychology, interpersonal neurobiology and attachment theory.
Your psychologist is likely to spend time helping your understand the role cognition (which includes attention, thoughts, beliefs and memories) plays in psychological distress. You will also learn skills and strategies for working with all aspects of your mind.
Your psychologist is likely to introduce you to aspects of behavioural psychology, helping you to overcome avoidance which often perpetuates are difficulties.
The relationship between our body and mind is much better understood nowadays, and it is essential to stabilise our body if we are going to stabilise our mind. Your psychologist will help you better understand the role our nervous system and vagus nerve play in emotional states such as anxiety, stress and anger and and will give you techniques to support body awareness and cultivate a balanced body and mind.
Human-beings have rich and complex emotional lives and to make deep and lasting change we often have to work with emotion not just cognition in therapy. Your psychologist may bring emotion focused strategies into therapy to help you connect with and process the deeper layers of your emotional life.
Many of our Psychologists help clients cope with chronic pain, work with weight management, and address other physical health issues.
We have experience with NHS pain management, weight clinics, oncology services, and more.
Unlike Physical health, with our mental health we do not have clear definitions of illness and wellness. We feel it is unhelpful to view mental health in distinct categories of wellness or illness. Instead we see psychological health on a continuum which will likely fluctuate throughout our life.
Sometimes the benefits of therapy and the indicators of good mental/psychological health are less obvious and typically less familiar to most people than say the benefits of physical exercise. However research has shown that psychological therapy including compassion and mindfulness practices can bring about significant positive changes including…
- Developing a more balanced lifestyle, thus reducing the psychological and physical consequences of stress and burnout
- Increasing well-being and positive emotional states like satisfaction, happiness, peacefulness, gratitude, optimism and hope
- Reducing difficult/painful emotional states like anxiety and depression
- Increasing resilience so you can deal with the stressors and adversities of life
- Reducing perfectionism, self-criticism and shame
- Developing a less scattered, more balanced mind, which feels good in and of itself but also has a whole host of other benefits attached to it!
- Reducing rumination (getting caught in our thinking) thus freeing yourself up to be more present and engaged in your life
- Increasing emotional intelligence, which has been shown to benefit both physical and mental health as well as relationships
- Lowering stress levels and feeling more at ease within your own body
- Improving self-respect as you learn to set healthy boundaries and asset your needs in relationships
- Reducing emotional reactivity by understanding yourself better (including your triggers) and learning how to to step back from your thoughts and feelings so you are better able to wisely respond to life and relationship challenges.
- Strengthening of relationships
- Reducing unhelpful coping behaviours like comfort eating, self soothing with alcohol or other drugs, excessive television or computer use.
- Improving concentration, productivity and creativity
*Personality Disorder is a controversial diagnosis. We list it here because we work with the cluster of difficulties that make up various categories of Personality Disorder. Many of us have worked extensively with specialist NHS services for people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (also called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder).