Paul Lewis

Dr Paul Lewis

When something goes wrong with our physical health, we expect someone well-qualified and trustworthy to help. Yet when something needs to change in our personal lives, it can be unclear who to go to. That’s why professional accreditation matters.

Our Counselling Psychology training entitles us to Chartered Psychologist status, protected by the British Psychological Society which sets the highest professional standards for education, experience and ethics among psychologists. It also qualifies for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, set up by the government to protect the public by ensuring standards for NHS and private healthcare professionals.

As we have training and experience in several psychological approaches we will not insist you fit in with a single type therapy that we may be used to. Instead, we will base our approach on what works best. We will always treat you with respect and will always contribute and try actively to help – we are not ‘blank slate’, silent therapists.

Carrie Nakan, MSc

Not all problems can be described in a few words, but areas of difficulty we work with include:

  • Anxiety/worry (including stress, phobias, trauma and panic)
  • Low mood/depression
  • Low self-esteem/social isolation
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Interpersonal/relationship problems
  • Workplace issues
  • Obesity and eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Bereavement
  • Where growth rather than recovery is the aim, we also work on personal coaching

What you can expect

We prioritise respectful honesty and confidentiality at all times.

We know you will have tried to work things out before you come for therapy. Because we take your perspective seriously we start by looking at what has been happening and how you have been dealing with things. We can then discuss potential ways forward based on your self-knowledge and our training and experience.

If you are looking for clear advice and techniques, we can work in this way. If instead you are looking for a supportive space to focus on your thoughts and feelings, this is an equally valid approach.

We can work on symptoms that are interfering with your life and/or on understanding deeper causes (ie shorter or longer therapy). We can concentrate on rational thinking and behaviour to find solutions, or work on a more emotional and subconscious level. There are different routes to growth or recovery and we will work with you collaboratively to choose the best.

Models of therapy we find helpful include:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
  • Person-centred/self-actualisation
  • Mindfulness
  • Life coaching

See Types of Therapy for more on major psychological models.

Why Therapy?

Everybody benefits from honest discussion of issues in their lives and we all find things difficult at times. Speaking to friends or family can be helpful, but speaking to someone objective, who has experience and training in how to help others, is often the most effective thing to do.

Some people soldier on without this kind of support and may solve problems on their own. However, many struggle to do so, sometimes for years. We accept help from friends and family and medical professionals, and in the same way it makes sense to accept psychological support.

Often simply being able to talk about problems is hugely helpful, making issues clearer in your own mind, getting things out and working past circular, repetitive thinking towards conclusions. This is part of what we can do together. We will also help you understand and deal with problems, using methods that psychologists have developed and researched over decades. These include techniques to cope with stress, anxiety and low mood as well as specific advice on how to deal with patterns of thinking and behaviour.

The benefit of these elements of therapy has been demonstrated both in practice and through scientific study, as shown in a research literature spanning many years.

Therapy is a way to take back control, get past problems thrown up by circumstance and personal history and to achieve a more satisfying life.

Types of therapy

The major approaches I draw on are described below. They can be used separately or in combination. Whatever the style of therapy, we will be respectful towards you and treat you as an equal. we contribute and do our best to help (we are not ‘blank slate’, silent therapists). Our suggestions will be based on the psychological research literature (we believe in evidence-based practice). We will seek to understand causes whether they lie in childhood or later life, but the emphasis will be on moving forward.

Person-centred therapy: This approach aims to create the conditions in which people can lead themselves to recovery. Through empathy and honesty therapists provide the space for clients to find their agency, their own way towards growth. Person-centred therapists believe everyone has an innate drive towards self-fulfilment and that the therapist’s task is to nurture this.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT): This is a more structured therapy focusing on ways of thinking and behaving and the emotions these cause. Through identifying and testing these habits CBT aims to identify where we go wrong. Because thinking and behaviour can be so habitual and repetitive they are often automatic and unexamined. By practicing new actions, thinking styles and beliefs CBT replaces negativity with more realistic, ‘functional’ patterns.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: This is a less rational, less 'cognitive' approach, one that focuses more on behaviour. Through a variety of tools and techniques difficult emotions are better tolerated and managed and individuals are helped to live life according to their values.

Psychodynamic Therapy: Based on the writings of Sigmund Freud this approach aims to locate a client’s internal conflicts, to penetrate into the unconscious mind through careful attention to the client’s descriptions of his or her life. Where these deep-rooted problems are identified a process of ‘working through’ follows, aiming to reconcile unconscious needs with the real world.

Interpersonal Therapy: Some psychologists believe all mental health problems can be explained in terms of our relationships with other people. By examining the specifics of how we relate to others, Interpersonal Therapy aims to improve our satisfaction with both social and intimate relationships, and in that way with life overall.