Frequently Asked Questions

What will talking therapies actually give me? 

Many people wonder what they can get from a talking therapy, particularly if they are experiencing difficult life events. It is true that therapy will not necessarily change the situation that you find yourself in. However, the aim of therapy is not to change your circumstances (unfortunately that is not within our control) but rather to change how you cope with distressing events. We can help you to make sense of why you are feeling the way that you are and help you to develop practical strategies that will help you to feel more confident to deal with whatever obstacles that you are facing in life. 

How do I decide the right approach for me? 

Choosing therapy can be really overwhelming. That is why we offer a free consultation over the phone to help you to think through your options and match you to the therapist who is most skilled in dealing with whatever problem you might have. We will help you to think about what the different approaches might offer and which treatments have been proven to work with the problems you describe. This will also be based on preference. Sometimes you might opt for a particular therapy and other times you might work with someone who will draw on lots of approaches to develop something truly bespoke for whatever your needs are. 

Is face to face therapy better than online? 

There is no difference in the quality of therapy that you will receive online and in person. Online therapy is often chosen because of how convenient and accessible it is. However, some people prefer to be in a room with their therapist, so it is largely a decision based on preference. All of our therapists offer both but currently are practicing online as this is what we have been advised by our accrediting bodies as a result of the risks of COVID 19. We have also made this choice as we feel that it is easier, certainly in the early stages of therapy, to see someone's face as a means of developing trust and rapport which cannot be established in the same way with the use of a PPE mask.  

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and how will it help me? 

CBT is a very popular therapy that has been proven to work for lots of problems and is routinely used in the NHS. It helps you to to understand patterns that form between your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and bodily responses. It looks at how certain thought processes influence how you experience yourself, others and make sense of situations you find yourself in. CBT will help you to break those cycles and form new, healthier patterns that will improve the overall quality of your life. 

Isn't CBT just positive thinking?  Why would I need a therapist to do this with me? 

This is a common myth about CBT. One of the outcomes might be that you think more positively but this is not the aim. The aim is to help you to develop a more balanced way of looking at things and helping you to identify and address traps or patterns that you might be finding yourself in that are causing you distress. An example might be helping you to balance out overly critical beliefs and to learn new ways of communicating with others, that makes you feel more confident or empowered. Another example might be helping you to make sense of why your attempts to be perfect or to please others keep leaving you feeling inadequate and unappreciated and helping you to find better ways of building self-esteem and getting your needs met in relationships. Whilst it is true that some people could do this for themselves, or by reading a book, a lot of these patterns are so ingrained that you can struggle to notice it even happening or you might have a good understanding of the patterns in your head but it just doesn't translate into action. Your therapist can help you to develop plans that will keep you accountable to your goals and help you to develop strategies that make it more likely for you to feel equipped to make the changes that you want for yourself.      

What happens when you have Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy? What can I expect? 

EMDR can be delivered as a therapy or used as a technique when you are having a different therapy. It involves stimulating the right and left sides of the brain whilst processing distressing or traumatic experiences. Traumatic experiences are events that change the way that you see yourself, others or your worldview in general. Traumatic experiences one off events like major disasters, car accidents, a sudden loss but also includes things like bullying or abuse of any kind that happens over time. Your therapist will help you to work out which events need to be processed, and in what order, based on the impact that they have had on you. 

How do you do EMDR?   

There are lots of ways of doing the reprocessing in EMDR. This might includes eye movements (your therapist might ask you to follow their finger with your eyes whilst waving it in front of you), sometimes the therapist might use special equipment like a light bar that flashes lights from side to side and sometimes they might ask you do tap your shoulders or another part of you body. As with all of our treatments, this would be determined based on what you and the therapist agree would be the best approach for you. 

Can I do EMDR online? 

EMDR is an extremely accessible therapy which can be done as effectively online as in person.

 

How do you do EMDR online? 

There are lots of ways that EMDR can be done online either using tapping, eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. There are lots of programmes that can be used to generate eye movements (i.e. ones that generate a light that flashes across your screen). However, tapping is also often used as this is really effective. Whatever the approach, it would be determined based on your preference and discussions with your therapist.

 

Can I do EMDR on myself?  

EMDR can bring up some really strong feelings and past traumatic events. Your therapist is trained to help you to manage this and has lots of techniques to make sure that you do not become overwhelmed or retraumatised by your experiences. For this reason, it is not recommended to do EMDR on yourself. 

Is there any proof that EMDR works? 

Most of the original research for EMDR looked at its effectiveness on highly traumatised groups of people like war veterans, and it was found to be very effective. Since then, it has been researched when used with lots of different problems like: 

> anxiety and panic attacks
> depression
> stress
> phobias
> sleep problems
> complicated grief
> addictions
> pain relief, phantom limb pain
> self-esteem and performance anxiety

Because it was so effective EMDR is now widely used for lots of problems and is recommended by NICE as an evidence based treatment for Trauma and PTSD. Because of this is it also widely used in the NHS. 

How can I find out more about EMDR? 

Here is a link to a helpful handout on EMDR https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/EMDR.pdf

© 2018 Sussex Psychological Therapy Centre