How We Work
Our highly trained, multi-disciplinary team provides individualized psychological assessment and treatment to children, adolescents and adults for a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, stress related (psychosomatic) symptoms, chronic illnesses, pain related issues, OCD, trauma, low self-esteem, parenting issues, ADHD, sports psychology issues, life transitions, loss and bereavement and more.
We are here to help you get to where you want to be.
We offer Goal-Oriented Therapy, to help you tackle issues with your thinking and behaviour that cause emotional distress and perpetuate negative patterns. At the beginning of therapy, we often work on identifying the specific problem we want to focus on and acknowledge the goal of our work together.
Some of our clients come to us with distress but without a clear understanding of what they want to solve and where that distress originates. Some know what they are facing and would like to overcome. Together we will work on acquiring the tools that will help you to feel better equipped to cope with whatever it is you need help with and to learn how to overcome it. The result is a feeling of confidence and control and often a new lease on life.
We will usually start our engagement through an Initial phone call (free of charge), long enough to give you a chance to explain what made you decide to start treatment and for you to ask as many questions as you want about the process. You will get a chance to understand what we offer in full, and decide whether Bridges is the right place for you. If you decide to move ahead, we will schedule the first meeting, during this call.
Often we will send you information sheets and written background, to introduce you to what it is we are going to be working on, either during the initial session or immediately afterwards.
It will help you understand more about what it is you are dealing with, what we know about the condition and what we generally do during the treatment process in similar situations. Knowledge lowers anxiety and gives a sense of control, and often helps you to start therapy with more willingness and openness to explore, which can in turn improve results.
Learn more about the therapies we utilise
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
There are usually two phases to CBT, the first will help you to stabilise your symptoms so that you start to feel better on a day to day basis, the second will help you to identify what has made you vulnerable to developing the symptoms in the first place and work out ways of protecting yourself against these in the future so that your symptoms don’t return. Throughout therapy you will be taught a range of both practical and psychological strategies to practice and implement in between sessions.
An average minimum number of session for the first phase of CBT is 15-20, the second phase of therapy is dictated by you and your experiences. However, the most significant influence on progress is how much time you can dedicate to practising strategies and making changes outside of the session.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) looks at how our thoughts influence the way that we feel and what we do. It then helps us to identify thoughts that are inaccurate and/or unhelpful and causing us distress or resulting in problematic behaviours and replace them with thoughts that lead to an improvement in mood and the development of behaviours that get us to where we want to be.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on two principles:
1. Our thoughts and beliefs are connected to our behaviours, emotions and physical experiences. They are also connected to external events in our lives.
2. Our perception of events affect our emotional, behavioural and physiological responses to these events.
During treatment we try to focus on how problems from the past influence us in the present, or the “here and now”, and create a “toolbox” of new methods of coping and problem solving which we will be able to use in the future.
CBT aims to help clients learn new set of skills which they will then be able to use on their own to cope better in different situations.
CBT is the treatment of choice for most psychological disorders in children and adults.
ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an empirically based psychological intervention. It is the process of learning to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to action that will improve your quality of life by helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e your values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.
The aim of ACT is to help people effectively handle the pain and stress that is inevitable in our daily life by learning to identify unpleasant feelings and then learning not to act upon them and not to avoid situations where these feelings or thoughts appear. Rather than trying to control thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories, ACT teaches people to use mindfulness skills and to “just notice” and accept thoughts, emotions or even physiological sensations without necessarily acting upon them (especially those which were usually labeled as “unwanted”).
Parent Counselling (Non-Violent Resistance)
Non-violent resistance (NVR) is an approach that helps parents to manage violent and destructive behaviour of their children. It usually involves parent counselling without meeting the young person. It aims to ameliorate children’s behavioural problems, improve relationship between family members and overcome parental helplessness. NVR approach has 8 core elements:
1. Parental commitment to Non Violent Resistance; a commitment to resist and to avoid violence regardless of the provocation (including avoidance of any verbal or physical aggression).
2. De-escalation Skills: Parents will learn and implement self-management and self-calming skills to de-escalate and avoid unnecessary confrontations.
3. Parental presence: Increasing parental presence and refocusing interactions away from conflict by undertaking effective action, developing sense of moral and personal confidence and by being supported by others.
4. The Support Network: Parents are encouraged to give disclosure about the extent of the problem to significant people (extended family members, friends and so on) and to invite them to be a part of this social support network.
5. Family Announcement: Making an announcement to the family that violence (or other aggressive, unwanted behaviour) will no longer be tolerated.
6. Acts of Reconciliation: Offering unearned, spontaneous gestures of encouragement or “unearned” treats to the young person.
7. Refusing Orders and Breaking Taboos: Reinstating activities that parents felt that they were unable to do (going into their child’s room, talking to his/her friends and so on).
8. The Sit-In: A parental statement and demonstration of the commitment to non-violent resistance and of their presence in the young person’s life.
Biofeedback therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic technique which uses electrical sensors that receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). It involves training to control physiological processes which are normally involuntary such as blood pressure, heart rate variability and muscle tension. The feedback helps people focus on making subtle changes in their body and helps us understand how our thoughts influence our physiology. Biofeedback is a very effective tool when combined with CBT or ACT especially for problems such as anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, stress, chronic pain and other health conditions or physical performance issues.
Hypnotherapy utilises the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The process itself aims to alter our state of consciousness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind while simultaneously stimulating and focusing the subconscious part. This heightened state of awareness allows the therapist to then make appropriate suggestions.
During our first session we will prescribe a limited time, structured, goal oriented solution utilising the appropriate therapy, as needed.
Our focus is on giving you the tools and skills to overcome issues on your own, both current and in future, rather than initiate a long term open ended therapy. Knowing what you are working towards, and how a therapy engagement can be deemed successful, will help keep you motivated, with a goal in mind.
In line with our ethos of helping you build your own bridges,
we do some things differently
We will guide you through the practising of the techniques we discussed during the session ((i.e relaxation, mindfulness) – at home. Our objective is always to give you a sense of control in areas you once thought you can’t control. An important goal of the therapeutic process is to give you tools that you will be able to use on your own, allowing you to trust your ability to cope with different situations.
We will often offer worksheets and recordings (guided imagery, mindfulness or hypnosis), to allow you to bring elements from the sessions into your daily routine, and to help you to master the techniques before gradually doing them, intuitively, on your own.
Sessions outside the clinic
When needed, we offer sessions outside the clinic in what is known as ‘Exposure Therapy’. It is often used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and involves slowly confronting the objects or situations that provoke your anxiety. Doing this on your own might be very difficult and having someone who understands what you are going through is helpful and sometimes essential.
Liaising and referring to other professionals as needed
Our network of professionals allows us to discuss and recommend additional diagnostics or you can find additional help or diagnostics. Our clients often value the fact that someone who understands their full story is there to help facilitate the engagement with other professionals, and helps those professionals, in turn, see the entire picture, as well.