Frequently asked questions
You probably have a million questions whizzing round your head.
I’ve tried to cover most of my frequently asked questions here. If there’s anything else you’re worried or concerned about, get in touch.
about my services
What is Birth trauma?
Trauma is caused by a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, and in some cases people can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). An Anxiety disorder or trauma symptoms are common for women who have suffered a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, the termination of the pregnancy for medical reasons (TPMR) or a difficult birth. While some people are able to process what has happened, there are many who can’t and so may develop symptoms such as reoccurring dreams or flashbacks to the events, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, irritability or physical sensations such as pain, sweating, feeling sick. People often develop negative thoughts about themselves or others and can avoid talking about what happened, or even avoiding places or people that remind them of the event. This all may lead to fears around the next pregnancy.
However, the symptoms of trauma and other related issues such as loss of confidence, impact on relationships and work can be resolved with the use of CBT and EMDR.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT)?
CBT is a talking therapy and can help people who are experiencing a wide range of emotional difficulties. CBT can help you identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviour responses and challenge and change them to have better outcomes. Unlike some talking treatments, CBT focuses on the “here and now”, although when working with trauma, we will revisit the past events to be able to make sense of the impact of the “here and now”. Talking about the past traumatic event allows the memory to be processed, which will in turn reduce reported symptoms and provide a greater understanding of what happened.
By understanding how our thoughts affect behaviour, we can also interrupt the cycle of negative thinking and learn how to better cope with challenging situations. CBT is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care excellence (NICE) as an approved treatment approach for trauma, depression and anxiety.
If you would like further information about Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, please click the link here.
What is Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)?
When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like they would with a less threatening situation. As a result, the distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When the person recalls the distressing memory, they can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted and felt and this can be quite intense. Within EMDR, the therapist helps the patient to alternate left, right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps. This can stimulate the information processing system in the brain and in the process, the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity and can be processed as past memories, as opposed to feeling like they are happening in the present. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid eye movement) when your eyes move rapidly from side to side.
It’s a very popular and powerful treatment that has been used by trauma specialists since 1988 and can be just as effective over video call as in person. EMDR is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care excellence (NICE) as an approved treatment approach to treat trauma. The direct difference between CBT and EMDR is that EMDR can be less invasive and can be easier on the individual as it does not require repeated detailed discussion of the traumatic event. There is also no direct challenge about beliefs and the treatment approach does not just concentrate on thoughts. There is also no structured homework task after the session.
If you would like further information about Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, please click the link here
I have a child. Is therapy with you still appropriate?
Yes, therapy can still be appropriate for you if you feel that you have experienced pregnancy loss or birth trauma. I would normally recommend that if you have recently had your baby, that we would not work on any trauma until 6 months after the birth, but this does not mean we cannot work on other issues.
I am pregnant but want to work on my last trauma before I give birth. Can you still work with me?
Depending on where you are with your pregnancy, it may not be appropriate to work on the last traumatic event but work on how you can cope with the upcoming birth. This is something that will be discussed within the initial assessment.
how i can help
What happens during the initial consultation?
The initial consultation helps me complete an assessment of your current situation and difficulties. As a result, this may take place over one or two sessions. During the initial consultation, I’ll work to understand what your specific problems are, and understand your goals for therapy. We’ll also complete clinical outcome measures that will determine your level of anxiety, low mood or trauma. After the initial consultation, I’ll put together a treatment plan based on your unique experiences.
How much does a psychotherapy session cost?
The initial 60 minute consultation is £149; subsequent 50 minute sessions are £110 each. Sessions can vary between 50 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on what therapeutic approach we are using and are priced accordingly. Payment is required before each session. I am also registered with Bupa, AXA PPP, Nuffield Health and Aviva, so you can also access therapy with me by being funded by these providers. If you are unable to attend a session, 24 hours notice is required, otherwise you will be charged for the session.
How often do the sessions run?
Private, 1:1 sessions are held once per week in blocks of 6 weeks. At the beginning of therapy, we establish treatment goals that we are going to work on. We review these goals every 6 sessions and so therapy will continue for as long as the goals need to be worked or when you feel you are in a good place to end therapy. In the later stages of therapy, some people like to gradually reduce their therapy sessions, so they may reduce to fortnightly sessions. This allows them to see how they feel without therapy. After discharge, some people also like to book in for a booster session, if there have been other life changing events since discharge.
Where are the sessions held?
All sessions are held online or face to face. When completing online I use Zoom, a popular video conferencing software with a high level of security, so you can be confident that our sessions remain confidential.
Do I need to do anything outside of the session?
At the end of every session, we’ll agree on a homework task that you can be working on. This may be based on something we have worked on within the session and is very much something that we both agree on. It is not like school and so I am not the teacher dictating what you must do. People find that they get the most out of sessions when they take an active role. Homework, alongside taking notes in the session or after the session, can be really helpful in establishing links and new understandings to what we have spoken about.
How many sessions will I need?
Each person is different and so this can vary. On average, most people can find benefit from therapy with 12 to 16 sessions, as long as there are no other issues. If there are other issues, or other trauma, this can take longer.
Is what I share with you confidential?
The information you share with me in your sessions is confidential, unless I am concerned about a direct risk of harm to yourself or others. This is something that would be assessed. If it was felt that there was risk of significant harm to yourself, for example active suicidal thoughts, or thoughts or plans to hurt yourself or someone else, I would have to let someone know. This may be your GP who can offer you some additional support. However, I would always advise you that I am going to do this.
What do I do if I am feeling really low or at crisis point in between my sessions?
Whilst my role is to support you, I am not an emergency service and will not always be able to respond to phone calls or emails outside of our sessions. So it is really important that you have support outside of our therapy. This may be via family, friends, neighbours, religious figures. If you are feeling really low, it is also important to contact your GP. In times of severe distress, you should call your out of hours GP, local crisis team or 999 emergency services. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Both myself and my partner feel that we have both been traumatised by our loss. Can we both work with you?
I completely understand the need of partner’s, as they often go unnoticed. Unfortunately, I do not offer couple’s therapy and I cannot work on an individual basis with both of you at the same time. However, I can work with one of you and make recommendations of other therapists’ who may be of support for the other.
What qualifications do you have that makes you a specialist?
As well as lived experiences and numbers of individuals that I have successfully treated, I also have several diplomas, a BSc and a MSc. I am a member of the HCPC (as a Social worker) and on a yearly basis I have to provide proof of my ongoing CPD commitment. I am a member of the BABCP and I am accredited by this organisation. In order to remain accredited, I have to provide evidence of my level of competence by evidence of regular clinical supervision and CPD. I have to adhere to their ethical framework and guidelines. I am also a member of EMDR UK. I have three specialist Clinical supervisors who I meet with on a monthly basis.
I also complete regular CPD training courses to maintain my knowledge and understanding.