We believe that emotional difficulties and mental health problems can be ordinary manifestations of life’s struggles. Careful, considered and contained therapeutic support can help people to develop lasting psychological change, a sense of emotional well being and a better quality of life, and can reduce mental health difficulties on an ongoing basis.
We do not recommend specific therapies until you have had an initial consultation to help you and us decide what would be the most helpful approach.
The services that we offer include:
Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy , Counselling, Person Centred Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy , Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Gestalt therapy, Arts therapy, EMDR, Couples and Family therapy, Therapy for children, Therapeutic Creative Writing, Integrative Therapy.
We offer both individual therapy and Groups.
Counselling and therapy can be helpful with a large number of different complaints including the following:
Depression and low self esteem
Anxiety and panic attacks
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Post traumatic stress disorder
The aim of psychotherapy of whatever kind, is to help people to better manage and deal with their feelings, to cope with relationships as effectively as possible, to change their behaviour and to generally feel better. Talking is an important part of our relationships. Talking about what is bothering us and sharing our thoughts and feelings can help us clarify things, understand more about what is going on, and help us to explore how best to manage. Being listened to helps us to connect to others and feel valued by them.
There is a link between our childhood experiences, how we relate to ourselves, how we relate to those around us, how we feel and how effectively we are able to function. Different therapies address different aspects of these issues.
Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Therapies tend to aim to help the individual to explore the links between the past and the present. To help the person to understand what they feel and why they feel it, and to see how this relates to their early childhood experiences as well as the current situation. The idea is that if we understand and see why we do things we then have a choice about whether we do them. Very often a person’s relationship to themselves (low self esteem, self criticism, self destruction) is mirrored in the way that they relate to those around them. Also, if we are negative towards ourselves , it is very hard to let anyone get close to us, for fear that they see what we think we see. This can become a vicious circle.
Very often we are afraid of our feelings because we have been taught that they are wrong and destructive. In fact, the destructiveness most often occurs when we try to deny, hide or repress our feelings. Through the development of a close therapeutic relationship with the therapist or counsellor, psychodynamic work can help explore and express feelings and work through them so that the person comes to accept themselves for whom they are and work through what they have experienced.
Psychodynamic therapy is unstructured and tends to be open ended. Emotional difficulties and mental health problems often develop over a prolonged period of time. Deep and lasting change can take time too. This kind of therapy provides a long term, safe and secure relationship in which unresolved conflicts can be explored in more depths.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the principle that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected, and that our perception has a significant impact on how we feel and what we do. What we think and anticipate can greatly affect our reactions to events and people.
CBT is an evidence-based talking therapy that is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (‘NICE’). It can help us to notice and understand our automatic thoughts, our beliefs (that have built up over time about ourselves, others and the world), and the vicious cycles (of reactive thoughts, feelings and coping behaviours) that we can all get stuck in sometimes.
CBT uses practical techniques to help you make lasting changes in the way that you think and behave, in order to help you feel better. You can continue to implement these new ways of being and thinking, long after your therapy has finished.
Your therapist may give you therapeutic tasks to complete in between sessions; for example, some reading about your presenting problem (which we call ‘psychoeducation’), or planning some self-care activities that you can do. CBT tends to be relatively present focused, although your therapist may explore aspects of your early life with you, in order to help you make sense of your reactions to certain things. CBT is a collaborative and interactive style of therapy. It is proven to be effective for a variety of mental health difficulties, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and sleep problems.
Integrative psychological therapy reflects the idea that different (evidence-based) therapeutic approaches are likely to benefit different people at different times, and that therapy models can be fruitfully integrated to meet the individual client’s needs and wishes. It is a flexible and inclusive way of working that is considered quite progressive by some. Different approaches may be used, one after another, throughout different stages of the therapeutic process; or they may be used as a single combined form of therapy throughout. For instance, CBT may be blended with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and elements of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Integrative therapy can be longer-term or short term, and it is delivered within the context of a strong, deeply collaborative therapeutic relationship. Empathy, authenticity, compassion, active listening and respect are cornerstones of this practice.
Integrative therapy can be used with children, adolescents, and adults, in individual practice or group settings. The approach can be helpful for a variety of psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and panic disorder. You can always ask your therapist what models of therapy they integrate if you’re curious to know.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an empirically supported psychotherapeutic approach for treating trauma – either a single event trauma resulting in post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or early relational trauma including emotional, physical or sexual abuse and neglect resulting in Complex PTSD. It is also applicable to a wide range of other experientially based clinical complaints such as phobias, anxiety disorders including Panic Disorder and Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Grief and Mourning, Depression and Addictions.
EMDR is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP), which conceptualises the effects of traumatic experiences in terms of dysfunctional memory networks in a physiologically based information processing system.
EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body. After a thorough assessment you will be asked questions about a particularly disturbing memory. Eye movements similar to those during REM sleep will be recreated by asking you to watch the therapist’s finger moving backwards and forwards across your visual field. Other forms of bilateral stimulation can be used such as auditory or tactile stimulation directing attention alternately to either side of the body and, by inference, to each cerebral hemisphere. Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements (bilateral stimulation) the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity becoming a neutral memory of a past event. Associated memories may heal at the same time. The linking of related memories can lead to improvement in many aspects of your life.
EMDR can stand alone or successfully be incorporated into the talking therapies.
Person Centred therapy is one of the Humanistic schools of therapy and it is derived from the idea of Existentialism. As the term ‘Person Centred’ or sometimes called ‘Client centred’ implies, this approach privileges the client as being the expert on their own experiencing. As such, it challenges the idea that the therapist is the expert on the client. Person Centred therapy is based on the premise that all people possess an innate tendency (known as the Actualising Tendency) to develop and express their potential and that it is the environment that we grow up in that will determine to what extent we will fulfil this potential. The Person Centred therapist strives to create an optimal therapeutic environment in which the client can learn to let go of parts of themselves that do not serve them and to allow more and more of their authentic self to emerge. The optimal environment is comprised of three Core Conditions, namely, Unconditional Positive Regard (a non-judgemental stance from the therapist towards the client), Empathy (an attempt by the therapist to step inside the client’s frame of reference and to understand their world) and Congruence (whereby the therapist presents their authentic self to the client rather than becoming a ‘blank screen’). More information on Person Centred Therapy can be found here: https://www.bapca.org.uk/about/what-is-it.html
Couples and Family Therapy.Very often within the course of couple or family relationships, difficulties emerge that need addressing. The difficulties presented may relate to one or more of a whole host of different matters: communication, intimacy, past relationships, separation and divorce, step-families, having an affair; young children, adolescent children, children who have left home; in-laws and grand-parents; being a single parent; bereavements; cross-cultural challenges; disability; elderly dependents; adoption; infertility; sexual problems; religion; financial, work, housing and unemployment problems; mental and physical illness; alcohol and drug misuse; past sexual abuse; domestic violence (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or financial).
The difficulties people encounter can often be resolved without outside assistance, particularly if those concerned are able to communicate effectively with each other, listen to each other’s points of view and varying perspectives etc. Sometimes, however, it may be useful, even necessary, to discuss these difficulties by enlisting the help of an outside professional person, for example a relationship counsellor or family therapist, who is trained to help people explore the issues affecting them, understand themselves and each other better, relate better to each other, work things out for themselves and make decisions about what to do next. The number of sessions needed may range from one to several, depending on the nature of the difficulties.
Creative Arts Therapy for children and adults intentionally includes arts-based activities within the psychotherapeutic relationship. Like many talking therapies, arts therapy is psychodynamic, seeking to gain a closer understanding of ourselves and what underlies our difficulties, emotions and experiences.
When words are not easy to find, the arts can offer a form or ‘language’ for expression and communication, allowing new perspectives to emerge. Sand- tray, Improvisation, Working with metaphor, Puppets, Movement, Working with myths and stories, Art-making, and Role-play may be used alongside verbal communication, in varying degrees. For some, the emphasis may be more with verbal communication and choosing to use the arts minimally.
Arts therapy can help to increase our insight and understanding. It can help develop a stronger sense of self and grow self-confidence and esteem. Working through the arts provides a way of ‘externalising’ a problem, allowing you and your therapist to jointly explore it together. The ‘safe distance’ that the arts provide can help us to regulate feelings so that we can more readily explore matters at a pace which we can manage. In this way, arts therapy can also be a helpful treatment for trauma.
There is no need to have previous experience in drama or art. The arts are used intentionally for clinical interventions and to achieve clinical goals.
It can be a helpful therapy for children as well as adults and families.
For more information please see the following link: https://youtu.be/Gd9HwHwafs8
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of talking treatment and based on cognitive behavioural therapy. It is an evidence-based treatment that help us improve our emotion regulation skills both in relationship to ourselves and interpersonally, therefore leading us to achieve a better quality of life. It was developed to help individuals who cope with distressing situations using self-destructive ways such as self-harm, substance misuse and eating disorders.
DBT was developed by Marsha M. Linehan, P.H.D., of the University of Washington. It aims to improve emotional responses that are poorly modulated and applies a range of Cognitive & Behavioural strategies and Mindfulness skills. These aim to help manage a diverse range of problems such as addiction, anxiety, mood swings, eating disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Bipolar Disorder, Depression and much more. The skills taught are effective in helping people to manage their emotions, their behaviour, their relationships and their distress.
DBT Sussex was formed in 2013 and we have been providing the full DBT programme on an outpatient basis since then. The DBT practitioners are Jacqui Paterson, Laura Findlay, Lisa Davies, Rachel Singh and Maz Michael.
At the Phoenix Therapy Practice we offer the full DBT programme, both individual and skills training as well as telephone coaching as needed. The DBT Sussex team recommend that individuals complete the full programme to benefit fully from the treatment.
If you are interested in DBT, you would be required to come in for a general initial consultation session first. There is no cost for this initial assessment appointment, lasting 50 minutes. Following this, if it is considered that a DBT assessment could be helpful, you would be referred for a DBT assessment, which would be arranged with one of our qualified DBT practitioners. There is a charge of £60 for all DBT assessments. Once both assessments have been carried out, you would be referred to a DBT practitioner when space becomes available.
The DBT team run a fortnightly consultation meeting where individual and group practitioners come together to obtain consultation, training and support from the team in order to work effectively and ethically with clients. By supporting each other, we are in a better position to support you. Only information about you that needs to be shared will be discussed within the consultation meeting.
The full DBT programme involves both individual and group sessions.
Individual DBT sessions ideally take place once a week and costs are on a sliding scale from £50-£80 per session. Sessions last 50 minutes.
Skills Training Group
These groups are 2 hours duration and run weekly for the duration listed next to each module.
The four modules of skills training are:
1. Mindfulness– 8 Week Module
Mindfulness skills are central to DBT.
Mindfulness training focuses on learning to go within to find oneself and on learning to observe oneself. The goal of this module is to develop a lifestyle of participating with awareness.
2. Emotional Regulation 10 Week Module
This module focuses on enhancing control of emotions, even though complete emotional control cannot be achieved. To a certain extent, we are who we are, and emotions are a part of us. But we can get achieve greater control over our emotions and impulses and can perhaps learn to modulate some emotions to make us calmer.
3. Distress tolerance 8 Week Module
This module focuses on learning to tolerate distress, of accepting, and finding meaning for one’s distress. The skills taught are about developing the ability to accept, in a non-judgmental way, both oneself and one’s current situation.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness 8 Week Module
This module focuses on relationships and on learning to deal with conflict situations, to get what one wants and needs, to say no to unwanted requests and demands. It focuses specifically on doing this in a manner that maintains self-respect and others’ liking and/or respect.
Group costs are as follows:
8 week module- £320
10 week module £400
All materials for the group are included in the cost. Some people may find it helpful to purchase the DBT workbook “DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets”, Second Edition, 2015 Marsha Linehan. Other recommended reading material can be provided by your individual therapist on request.