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What is counselling psychology?

Psychologists study human behaviour, conduct research, and apply research findings in order to reduce distress, behavioural and psychological problems, and to promote mental health in individuals and groups. Psychologists work on a broad range of issues with clients including children, adults, couples, families and organisations. Counselling and clinical psychologists have a degree in psychology and then at least a further three years of post-graduate training including a Masters, Post-Graduate Practitioner Diplomas or Doctorates; and completion of a minimum of 400 hours of supervised client contact. Counselling psychologists tend to have a more holistic and interpersonal approach to conditions, whereas clinical psychologists have a more clinical/medical perspective. Both counselling and clinical psychologists share training in several psychotherapeutic models, primarily with: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Systemic Psychotherapy, Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), and with a lesser emphasis on Person Centred Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Why is Chartered status important? When a psychologist is registered as a Chartered Psychologist members of the general public can be confident that he or she is properly qualified and experienced in the treatment of psychological problems. The title 'Chartered Psychologist' is protected by the privy council and is a guarantee that the person you are consulting is fully qualified.  

What is CBT?


Cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to solve a variety of problems, many of which my CBT infographic here explains. It addresses dysfunctional emotions, behaviours and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic process. There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, CBT for anxiety and stress, personality, eating disorders, insomnia,  substance abuse, and psychotic disorders. The particular therapeutic techniques vary within the different approaches of CBT according to the particular kind of problem issues, but commonly may include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviours; questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques are also commonly included. Social phobia, also known as social anxiety, has often been treated with exposure coupled with cognitive restructuring, such as in Heimberg's group therapy protocol. Evidence suggests that cognitive interventions improve the result of social phobia treatment.*

What is EMDR?


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)  is a therapeutic technique that uses eye movements to reprocess traumatic memories and takes approximately eight sessions. This form of psychotherapy was developed in order to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unresolved life experiences. It uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of these memories. EMDR has been shown in numerous clinical trials to be one of the best therapies in dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.    

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Client testimonials


“I have found Vanessa extremely helpful in overcoming my difficulties and helping me challenge my negative thoughts during a particularly difficult time in my life. Vanessa is extremely approachable and easy to talk to and you can be assured she will always be available to offer you help and advice.”

“Before I started working with Vanessa, I was in a very bad place with my claustrophobia. Over a period of 3ish years, I had deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t get on the tube, lock a toilet door, get in a lift. At one point, I couldn’t even go through revolving doors or get on a bus, resulting in missed business meetings and a lot of anxiety. Vanessa’s gentle and supportive demeanour, coupled with a rigorous program of challenging my phobia and going on tubes and in lifts together, was a game changer. Prior to working with Vanessa I had tried everything from hypnotherapy to EFT without any success. I’m ecstatic to say that I’m now as good as cured, and it’s thanks to Vanessa. If you’re struggling with a debilitating phobia and it feels like nothing will help, give Vanessa a try. She truly gave me my life back”

“Vanessa helped me to move on from my spirals of negative thinking by using rational thought and reviewing the evidence. She was sympathetic and positive and helped me to recognise my successes. I only needed a few sessions to regain my confidence and joie de vivre.”


Can therapy help you?

If you live in the capital and are motivated and ready for change, then therapy with a psychologist in London can benefit you. It is important to work on everything discussed inside the therapy room outside in daily life for the new thoughts and behaviours to generalise. It is also very important that you have a good therapeutic relationship, it is therefore advisable to shop around for the therapist you feel most able to relate to. The number of sessions needed depends on the issues brought in to therapy. A simple phobia could take six weeks to overcome whereas reprocessing a traumatic childhood could take years. It is important to be realistic about expectations in therapy. This process is not a quick fix and is often difficult and painful. Change takes time.

TV & Film Consulting

I now offer psychological consulting on scripts and on set for TV and film production. This involves helping productions to portray mental health themes in ethical and realistic ways.

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