I am a Clinical Psychologist with many years experience working with adults and children with mental health difficulties. These include but are not limited to anxiety, depression, fluctuating mood, low self esteem, specific phobias, OCD, stress, trauma, anger, adjusting to physical illness or pain, dissociative disorder and rarer but disabling conditions such as Functional Neurological Disorder.
Clients come to see me because life is being hindered by whatever it is that is bothering them. This interferes with life in some way, be that an inability to function well at work or school, or causing disruption to relationships or family functioning.
Sometimes clients are confused and stuck, and are not sure what the problem actually is, they just know they are not settled, content and are miserable a lot of the time. Clients often want help to understand why they are feeling the way they do, why they are stuck and to find new ways of coping.
I work with individual adults (not couples) who experience a range of psychological difficulties. Some clients have longstanding problems and have struggled for years with intermittent bouts of mood disturbance, anxiety, or confidence issues. They may have experienced physical or emotional abuse that has left them feeling insecure in their relationships with others. Other clients may have functioned very well in life but then experience a sudden dramatic trauma that is difficult to cope with. Some clients have ticked along following a path in life that they knew was not for them, but were carried along to keep others happy. It is not uncommon for clients to decide during therapy that they will change their work, or leave relationships or move somewhere else. Some describe feeling empty and not having a sense of who they are a person. Whatever it is that is that concerns you, you will be treated with compassion and listened to. This is what underpins my philosophy to Held-in-Mind.com
Children and young people experience a similar range of emotional difficulties to adults. However, the cause of these may have some specific differences. As children and young people are still developing, emotional difficulties may appear in different ways. Younger children may communicate their distress through tantrums, challenging behaviour and anger outbursts. Older children and teens may become withdrawn, moody, and reluctant to go to school. Children and young people are navigating the challenging business of growing up, understanding relationships, and establishing their identity. This can be stressful, and difficulties may arise from additional stressors such as bullying, family breakup, death of a love done, family illness, learning difficulties, school pressures, or trying to please or meet the expectations of others. This may affect their confidence and self esteem. They may experience stress, fear of failure, anxiety, mood and sleep disturbance, or anger.
I have training in a broad range of therapies including Cognitive Behavioural (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation & Processing (EMDR) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). All my clients are treated as individuals irrespective of a diagnostic label. I believe there is far more to a person than a label and use an integrative approach to therapy that reflects what works best for the person. Many people become depressed or anxious for example, but how they get to that point will be different for each one. Understanding a persons unique story is therefore vital in helping a person to make positive change and improve quality of life.
When you come to see me, I will listen to your concerns, and then use my knowledge and experience, alongside your own story and experience, to create bespoke interventions and therapy. We usually need to meet a few times to build an understanding of what’s been going on, and how best to help. We then agree a therapy plan.
It is important to understand that Clinical Psychologists are NOT a diagnosis based profession. We work using a process called Clinical Formulation. What this means, is that whilst a person may have a diagnosis or symptoms of anxiety or depression, or some other condition for example, that diagnosis tells me nothing about the person behind it. It is the person rather than the diagnosis that I, as a Clinical Psychologist place emphasis on. I am interested in you; your story, how has this problem developed and why it persists.
If my client is a child/young person I would usually see him or her with you (parent/caregiver) for the first appointment, irrespective of your child’s age. This is because, children and young people live in a family environment and parents are experts in their own children. You have a lot of valuable information about your child that is essential to my understanding of the problem that you and your child would like to discuss with me. I would then see your child by themselves on a further two occasions, and then on a fourth meet with you all to discuss my opinion about what may be most helpful. I would then see the young person by themselves for a therapy intervention.
Understanding your child/young person, and how they make sense of the world around them and the people in it, is crucial to figuring out the best way to help your child, irrespective of the diagnosis. Lots of parents will ask me things like, is there a strategy we can use to fix this now? what can we do now? The answer is, that quick fix strategies used in isolation without understanding the person seldom work. Once therapy is in progress, I check in with parents periodically to update on progress. I use a variety of methods to engage children and young people in conversation; Youtube videos, drawing, and play based work with my youngest clients. Children are given the same right to confidentiality as adults unless there are safeguarding concerns.
Sessions typically last about 50 minutes, and are strictly confidential. I have a 48 hour cancellation policy, sessions will otherwise be charged in full.
Please be aware, that even if you are being referred to me by another professional, I will still need to undertake my own assessment.
Sometimes it may be helpful to share information with your GP, school, or employer, but this is only done with your consent. The only time confidentiality cannot be assured is if I have concerns about your welfare or that of a child. I will have to refer you to other services if this is the case, and work alongside safeguarding policies.
I work within good practice guidelines and have regular anonymised clinical supervision. I follow safeguarding practices and have enhanced DBS clearance.
I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and the British Psychological Society. Clients can either fund sessions via private medical insurance or self pay. I am registered with several insurance companies including BUPA, VITALITY, AXA, AVIVA.
© 2023 Dr Susan Bruce. All Rights Reserved