How I work

My initial CBT training and experience working in the NHS IAPT mental health service gave me excellent experience of working with a structured, diagnosis driven treatment approach. This can be very helpful for some people but treatment effectiveness can depend on a number of different things. What works for one person may not be the right thing for another. That’s why I try to take an integrative approach to treatment which draws upon my further training in the therapeutic approaches of EMDR & IPT, my clinical experience, regular supervision, training and CPD.

What to Expect - Following an assessment to gather information about the presenting problem as well as taking any relevant history, we will talk about goals and expectations for working together. Depending on this assessment it will inform the initial approach we take. Working together with the individual we will develop an initial understanding of their main difficulties as well as how these are being maintained. We may start with one approach but as treatment progresses it may be helpful or necessary to incorporate other strategies.

For example, an individual may come to treatment for a specific phobia such as claustrophobia. A CBT approach would work on strategies to overcome this phobia such as graded exposure (gradually facing the fear, spending longer and longer in a situation until anxiety subsides). It may become apparent that the person experienced a particularly distressed or unpleasant event in the past, such as getting trapped in a lift when a child. Using EMDR to process this event can complement treatment.

There are strategies from Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression that I feel are relevant across many different difficulties clients can experience and therefore drawn upon quite often. This includes keeping a focus on how the client is accessing and utilising their social support network to help in their recovery. As well as communication analysis, i.e. working on skills to share and help others understand how we feel through effective interpersonal communication.

Treatment can be short term lasting a few weeks or it may involve long-term therapy lasting months. People will often ask how many sessions will be needed or how long will they need to be in treatment. This is a very difficult question. I therefore work with what the individual can commit, focusing on getting the most from the sessions. If the individual is in a position to engage in treatment until they have gain what they need and met their goals, it is still important to have regular reviews through to ensure we are on the right track, they are continuing to make improvements and therefore finding it helpful.

I value being able to build a good therapeutic relationship to help the individual feel comfortable and able to share their personal experiences. This relationship is key and needs to be right. If after an initial telephone consultation, assessment or even treatment if this is not working I can often make suggestions about alternative approaches or put you in contact with another therapist.
How I Work Therapy-York | Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) & EMDR | Jemma Austin