I am a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with a full-time Private Therapy Practice offering psychotherapy sessions in Middlewich, Cheshire, alongside phone CBT and online therapy.
"Despite everything, I still feel like I'm not good enough"
"My anxiety is exhausting me; I don’t know how to relax"
"I don't even know what happy feels like anymore"
"I don't know how to stop getting angry"
"I'm fed up of feeling this way"
Do these thoughts sound familiar?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy encompasses a large range of Cognitive Therapy strategies utilised to help you change the way you think, and Behavioural Therapy strategies to eliminate destructive ways you act and introduce new helpful ways to respond to your emotions.
I will create a tailored plan just for you selecting the strategies that are effective for your symptoms and that you can connect with.
CBT Therapy focuses mainly on the here and now and how to move proactively forwards. At times when it is appropriate, we do look to the past as a context for understanding why we think and act how we do right now. This is more commonly looked at when working on Depression, Low Self-Esteem, and Confidence.
CBT Therapy is used to treat a variety of symptoms including most frequently Anxiety, Depression and Anger. All techniques I use in sessions have been researched and tested in trials to ensure you are provided with the most up to date and effective treatment for your symptoms.
CBT for Anxiety is highly effective.
Anxiety is a horrible emotion. It is often very physical with symptoms such as sleep problems, poor appetite, headaches, digestive problems, feeling sick, difficulty relaxing, being on edge, panic attacks and more. It makes sense then that we would want to avoid that feeling, or to try to control it any way we can, right?
Unfortunately the more we avoid something or try to excessively control it, the more our brain sees it as a danger or threat and starts to fear it. This vicious cycle of Anxiety is so destructive, often taking us far away from our real desires and the real us.
Alongside the desire to avoid situations that make us feel anxious will be lots of unhelpful thoughts. You will likely know that a good proportional are irrational or do not make sense, but that does not matter when you do not know how to control them. They are in charge, and it is exhausting.
Anxiety encompasses a range of symptoms including excessive worry, stress, perfectionism, panic attacks and fears and phobias amongst others. You can read more about the different types of anxiety on my blog page. Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I will help you to learn effective strategies for overcoming your Anxiety. You will gain an insight into what you are experiencing, be taught how to face and overcome your avoidance, to let go of control, and how to gain power over your thoughts.
"I would urge you to give Hannah a try - her no-nonsense, sensible approach helps you to find the 'real you' again. I Couldn't recommend her enough; she just helps you to get perspective again and realise where you were going wrong in your thought process. Her aim is to 'make herself redundant' by getting you back to where you want to be and she certainly did that for me! Give it a try - you won't regret it." - Feedback from a client who completed treatment for Worry. Provided March 2020
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD for short, is a type of anxiety that deserves a special mention. The recommended therapy for OCD is CBT.
The obsessional thoughts experienced can be highly distressing, and due to this people who suffer OCD will go to great lengths to try to control, supress or stop these thoughts. Unfortunately, although this might work in that moment, the thoughts will boomerang back very quickly. As time goes on, the list of compulsions you will need to do gets longer and longer, and your ability to function will become increasingly difficult.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the most used Behavioural Therapy approach within CBT for OCD. This approach teaches you step by step how to overcome the anxiety/fear without engaging with the compulsion. I also incorporate newer Cognitive Therapy approaches in my treatment for OCD.
Those experiencing OCD will usually have done so for many years before seeking therapy, so it can be particularly overwhelming. I want to assure you that Therapy for OCD is done at your pace.
So many people experience phobias and never seek treatment. Yet treatment for Phobias is highly effective.
Common phobias include animals/insects (such as spiders, birds, butterflies, frogs, dogs etc), heights, confined spaces (claustrophobia), driving, flying, vomiting (emetophobia) and many others.
These phobias can massively disrupt our lives, causing us to avoid all sorts of things and miss out on opportunities.
Treatment involves a variety of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy strategies, looking at helping you deal with irrational thoughts, and overcome the fear response.
I enjoy delivering treatment for phobias as it is typically short-term work, and the difference it makes can be huge. In 2019, there was a local press article on my work with Spider Phobia. https://www.winsfordguardian.co.uk/news/18033268.frightened-spiders-therapist-can-help-conquer-phobia/ *please be aware the article includes images of spiders.
Depression sucks away our happiness, it creates a lot of self-hatred towards ourselves, it can be truly soul destroying. CBT for Depression can help you to find a new way forward.
The natural inclination of most people when they feel depressed is to withdraw, to stop doing anything other than the essential things. This can often mean reduced personal care, reduced socialising, reduced engagement with hobbies and generally spending more time hiding away from the world. The difficulty with this, is that the more we withdraw, the more our mood drops. But it is really tough to break that cycle, and that’s where CBT for Depression comes in.
For others, they are functioning depressives. This means you will still be doing everything as normal in your life, but you are still missing the enjoyment. I see this quite regularly, particularly with successful business men and women. I will work with you to understand why this is, and what changes you need to make. I draw techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and use analogies and examples that you can connect to.
CBT for Depression also looks at your beliefs about yourself. Often these are false beliefs like “I’m not good enough” “I’m a failure” “No-one likes me” “I’m un-loveable” “I’m ugly” “I’m stupid”. Without realising it you are reinforcing these beliefs to yourself every day either through thoughts in your head using these words, or by acting as if these thoughts are true. Treatment will look at a range of strategies to help you to think more rationally and gain control over your thoughts.
Low Self-Esteem is particularly difficult as it often combines symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This creates a battle between feeling like you do not want to do anything and worrying about what you are not doing or what people are thinking about you.
Low Self-Esteem is an increasingly present problem in my therapy room. Each generation seems to have its own challenges that affect our confidence. For some it is the high expectations and pressures of being a partner or a parent, for some it is the unwavering work ethic, others it is the issues caused by social media and an image focused press. There are certain phrases that are said that make it even more difficult “Pull yourself together”, “You will be fine” “You just need to …” “You should thank yourself lucky, others have it much worse”.
Therapy for Low Self-Esteem will help you to understand why you act how you do, to recognise when this no longer serves you, and to make changes to the way you live your life that have a negative effect on your emotional wellbeing. CBT will also help you to deal with your unhelpful thoughts, whether these are self-critical, or worry thoughts.
Most people that lose their temper do not mean for it to happen. The situation escalates quickly, and before they know it, they now have a bad impact of their actions. If you are seeking Therapy Treatment for Anger Management, CBT is an effective approach.
I have done work for a number of years in the area of anger management, having worked with offenders or those on caution from the police as well as people that know their anger is out of control and have so far been lucky to avoid police action.
A common trigger for Anger is relationship conflict. Often it is feeling not listened to, or disrespected, as if someone is doing something deliberately to annoy you.
Treatment for Anger Management will help you to understand what is happening with your anger, to learn how to process your thoughts in a different way, and therefore prevent situations escalating. The work is not easy, but it is highly rewarding.
"You explained to me what was happening in my world so that I could understand and deal with it better. Nobody has done this before. My advice? Be totally honest and open. Be prepared to be told what you don't want to hear" - Feedback from a client who completed Anger Management Therapy. Provided August 2019
A lot of people wonder what the difference is between the different types of therapy. There are lots of different types of psychotherapy available, with Person-Centred Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy being the most accessed.
Counselling sessions are typically unstructured, this means that you take the lead in what is discussed, with some gentle guidance from the counsellor. Topics discussed will often cover a lot from the past, but also current problems in things like relationships. The emphasis is on sharing and talking things through to help you process your emotions.
This is different from CBT which is more structured. Each therapy session in CBT typically has a plan. Treatment will start with an assessment/information gathering section, then will move onto an educational section, and then the bulk of treatment will focus on teaching practical strategies to target symptoms and achieve change.
CBT can have a crossover with Counselling as we will at times discuss the past. However, the difference is that in CBT, this discussion is done only to enable a better understanding of your current behaviours and thoughts, to put things into context to then allow us to move onto the change process elements of treatment.
There is not a right or wrong choice for therapy or how to improve your Emotional Wellbeing. Whether it is CBT, Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy or Alternative Therapies, it should be a type of therapy that you believe in.
There are certain problems or symptoms that certain types of therapy are recommended for over others. For example, Counselling is typically recommended for bereavement, CBT is typically recommended for anxiety. If I do not think that CBT is best suited for you, I will be honest about this. I have a network of local counsellors, therapists, EMDR practitioners, Couples counsellors and others that I happily refer onto.
Therapy Sessions are typically booked as a 1-hour appointment. There are occasions when longer sessions are useful, and therefore I also offer 90-minute sessions.
The initial therapy session(s) will focus on me asking questions to understand you, your life, what the problems are, and what your goals are. For some people this will focus on the here and now only, for others where they recognise experiences or events in their past have shaped them, this may be discussed to provide me a context to your present.
The number of therapy sessions vary but are typically between 6-20.
I do not believe in using lots of jargon or complicated worksheets. I will explain things in a way that you can connect with and remember. I use a lot of analogies, and clients find these are powerful in giving them an insight into their symptoms and problems. They are also extremely memorable as most of us learn better visually. There are times when I use examples from my own life in therapy sessions, but only if I think it is relevant and will be of benefit to you.
I believe that my role first and foremost is to help you to find a new way forward. I am full of compassion and care for each of my clients, but I also highly value straight-talking and honesty. After all you are not paying me to sit and listen and be nice, you are paying me for therapy sessions to help you make big changes.
Therapy is hard work of course, but so many of my clients tell me how they look forward to and enjoy our therapy sessions, something I am immensely proud of.
There are testimonials provided by current and previous clients:
"With her I feel that I can be completely open and that I am given absolute freedom to express myself knowing that I will not be judged in any way whatsoever."
"You got straight to the point. Very practical and realistic solutions"
"Friendly. Practical solutions suggested"
"Very understanding. Helps me to see things from a different perspective"
"She has an amazing gift of being able to unravel complex and faulty thought processes and to make sense of them. As my problems are complex and diverse it is extremely helpful to know that here is someone who is not fazed by whatever is thrown at her."
100% of clients said they would recommend the service to others.
100% of clients said they thought the service was good value for money.