• I offer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for common mental health problems. Most often I see people who are experiencing problems with anxiety, depression or low mood, panic, phobias, sleep problems, obsessions and compulsions (OCD), anger problems or stress.
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Private CBT

Accessing private Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) means you deal directly with your therapist – there is no need for a referral to be made from your GP, and, at least at the moment, I have no waiting list for private CBT clients. Waiting times for accessing psychological therapies can be up to a year in some cases, a few months on average. The NHS target is 18 weeks from referral to treatment. I would be able to see you at our soonest convenience – this week, next week… when are you free?

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) – YouTube Playlist

Often it is difficult to describe what Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) looks like or consists of. Especially when each person is different, and may benefit from different approaches and strategies.

You may wonder what a therapist looks like, what their room is like, and what therapy or CBT sessions may involve. Sometimes the best way of explaining something is to see it – so I have compiled a YouTube playlist of videos which I think accurately explain aspects of a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approach, and descriptions from Clinical Psychologists of common mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, anger, panic, phobias and stress.

www.youtube.com/jameshardiecbt

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SANE – Black Dog Campaign (Depression)

http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/black_dog/

“The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 depression will be the world’s most disabling condition, above cancer and AIDS. One in five people will experience depression at some point in their lives, and it underscores most mental illness. Suprisingly, we still do not know what causes the condition and therefore treatments and therapies vary.

2011 marks a significant milestone in SANE’s history – our 25th anniversary. Our focus, as ever, remains very firmly dedicated toward helping anyone affected by mental illness.

SANE has launched the Black Dog campaign to increase awareness and understanding of depression and other mental illness, to stimulate research, bring about more effective treatments, and encourage people to seek help.

The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from antiquity to the present day. To bring the campaign to life we have designed visually striking Black Dog statues (soon to be unveiled).  The physical presence of a Black Dog will help people to define their experience of the ‘invisible’ condition, which characterises mental illness, as well as promoting more open discussion, understanding and acceptance. In order to deliver a positive message of support, the black dogs will have a ‘collar of hope’ and wear ‘coats’ designed by celebrities, artists and members of the public.”

What a great campaign to raise awareness about depression! It sounds like it’s got a good number of high profile supporters too. The concept I should imagine was drawn from the success of the Cow Parade, as this campaign uses an iconic dog statue to raise awareness of an important issue.

I would personally tend not to use the phrase ‘mental illness’ quite so much – I think ‘mental health problem’ is a more constructive and less stigmatising concept to be discussing. After all, perhaps some of those ‘one in five people’ may be more familiar with dealing with a kind of greyish dog rather than a black dog.

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30 days

Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

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About me

I offer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for common mental health problems. Most often I see people who are experiencing problems with anxiety, depression or low mood, panic, phobias, sleep problems, obsessions and compulsions (OCD), anger problems or stress.

I’m a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology, trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). I’ve also authored some of self help guides on the Moodjuice website (Stress, Sleep Problems, Chronic Pain, Anger, Bereavement).

Posted in Anger, Anxiety, Bereavement, Chronic Pain, Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Depression, Moodjuice, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Sleep, Stress | Comments closed

Did you turn the gas off?

Sometimes in life we experience moments of uncertainty. Times when we cannot definitely be sure of something. There might be some element of doubt that creeps into our mind, even when it’s an every-day task.

  • Did I turn the gas off properly?
  • Were all the electrical sockets switched off before we left?
  • Did I lock the door properly?
  • Am I sure I didn’t knock someone over just back there?
  • Are my hands clean enough?

Having a healthy concern for cleanliness and hygiene, security or fire hazards is sensible. But what happens when this gets out of hand, perhaps when it becomes an obsession?

Anxiety that is felt when there is uncertainty in their mind can drive a person to a routine or ritual of checking. Until they are satisfied that they have checked, that anxiety may remain. Such compulsions can, if maintained, result in quite disruptive patterns of behaviour that would need to be overcome. This kind of problem might be described as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approaches can be helpful in addressing such difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

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Challenging Unhelpful Thoughts

Once you have recognised an unhelpful thought – the next stage is to challenge it.

To do this, you can ask yourself a series of questions…

You might find it difficult to identify an unhelpful thought – so try thinking about a time when your mood changed.
Consider what was running through your mind at that time:

  • What was happening?
  • How did you feel?
  • What thoughts were going through your mind?

Challenge any unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions:

  • Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
  • What would you say to a friend who had this thought in a similar situation?
  • What are the drawbacks of thinking this way?
  • What are the benefits of thinking this way?
  • Is there a proactive solution to this unhelpful thought?
  • Is there another way of looking at this situation?
  • What would be a more balanced way of thinking about this?

Try to apply these questions to the unhelpful thoughts that you notice.
It can help to improve your mood.
You can use this technique to test your thoughts are realistic and balanced.

Resources on Moodjuice Professional:
Identifying Unhelpful Thoughts Worksheet
Challenging Unhelpful Thoughts Worksheet
Challenging Unhelpful Thoughts Exercise (2mins)

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What stresses you out?

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10 questions about my use of social media

A key strategy that is used by practitioners delivering psychological therapies, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is reflective practice. It’s important to check, or audit your practises, and to make sure that they are effective and efficient in achieving their intended outcome.

I thought it would be helpful to list a few questions which may be helpful when checking whether an update is sensible, appropriate and ‘on-message’. It’s been interesting to consider what my goals and strategies have been when using social media platforms such as twitter (@jameshardiecbt).

  1. Why do I want to share this piece of information?
  2. What is the function of this update?
  3. Does this boost my credibility, reflect expertise and demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of my subject area? (ie anxiety, depression, stress, anger, sleep, self help, etc.)
  4. Will this help me to connect and engage with others to grow a positive community of followers?
  5. Is this update appropriate for my intended audience?
  6. Am I connecting with individuals and demonstrating that I am a real human and not some cliche or stereotyped therapist?
  7. Am I making best use of this platform?
  8. Am I doing too much self-promotion?
  9. Am I disclosing too much about myself?
  10. Is there a good reason to comment on the minutiae of my daily experience?

At the end of the day it is important to be mindful of what we share (about ourselves) on social media sites. It’s also good to consider how followers or readers may interact with or think about this content. If you are a psychologist or therapist using social media, why not get in touch? Especially if you think I’m going about this all wrong!

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Therapists on social media?

I recently came across this Psych Central article which talks about how there is an increasing number of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists venturing into the world-wide-web. Well, the author raises some really interesting points in this and a previous article, which I thought would be very relevant to discuss and comment on.

“Is it ethical for a therapist to publicly engage in social networking?”

Now, it’s important I think to clarify from the outset that this post is not about marketing. If you are interested in the use of the internet and social media for marketing then you’d be best to look elsewhere, mashable.com, for example, or look out for posts on my blog about this in the future. I am interested in focusing on the specific and unique issues that a psychologist / therapist might face when engaging with social media, and getting in touch with an online audience.

Confidentiality is a basic tenet of psychological therapies. It would therefore be an entirely reckless, inappropriate and unethical violation of this principle to, in any way, publicly disclose any information about an individual client or a problem which would make them identifiable.

Professional conduct on social media is important – I once heard a story about a trainee psychologist who was fired due to inappropriate comments (or was it drunken pictures?) posted on Facebook. This suggests that the individual lacked professionalism, maturity, awareness and a disregarded ethical conduct. I believe that it takes a degree of common-sense and self-control to publish appropriate content online to the masses.

Boundaries between the client and the therapist are also an important consideration relating to social media. There is an important distinction to be made between having a personal account that is identifiable vs having a personal account that is anonymous. Having said that, privacy settings are there for a reason. I have a professional profile, and as such, I will only share information that I would be prepared to discuss in a session with a client or with a professional colleague. If I share anything online, visible to the public, then I should expect that any client of mine will have seen the content of my profile as they engage with me in a session. That goes for those working in private practice, as well as those in the NHS.

The question is, how much information is it wise to share, and what does that say about me as a professional? I’m not engaging with social media in order to make friends, or follow friends, necessarily, but I am keen on networking, connecting with other professionals, and perhaps even clients. I want to listen out for helpful resources and stay up-to-date. I am also interested in extending my reach and profile, primarily by contributing quality content, comments, information and promoting useful resources. Of course all of this can only be done remotely and only as a communication to the general public – I am not writing advice to, or for, specific individuals like you. I’m a therapist who uses social media, I’m not providing therapy on the platform. If you want that kind of service, support and signposting, then why not consider making an appointment?

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