Areas of expertise
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD symptoms often show up as feelings of restlessness, a habit of fidgeting, and trouble staying focused. People with ADHD might also do things on the spur of the moment without fully knowing why. They could begin many tasks but lose focus quickly and leave them unfinished. Some might be excessively active, easily irritated, or have quick tempers, leading to issues in their personal and work lives.
If you have ADHD, it might feel like that's just how you've always been, but remember, it's not all negative. With the proper guidance, the high energy associated with ADHD can be channelled into sports or motivating oneself to start new projects and bring about change.
While ADHD can definitely be disruptive, especially in personal relationships, the good news is that effective treatment can bring about significant improvements. Many positive traits might be hidden behind the symptoms of ADHD. As we address and manage these symptoms, we can bring to light and nurture your positive qualities. This can lead to a more satisfying life overall. We can work together to explore your strengths and how we can build on them.
Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC)
Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning the type and intensity of symptoms can vary from person to person, which sometimes makes diagnosis challenging. If you're autistic, you might find it hard to understand other people's thoughts or emotions or decipher why they behave in specific ways. This can sometimes make you feel disconnected from the emotional world around you, posing challenges in your relationships. You may have specific interests or routines that bring you comfort, and disruptions to these can cause stress. Similarly, you might feel anxious in highly stimulating environments or when things change unexpectedly. Autism can also coexist with ADHD, depression, or anxiety, so it's beneficial to consider other conditions during the assessment process.
Receiving an autism diagnosis can bring immense value and a sense of relief. It helps people understand why they may act or feel a certain way. For example, it can answer questions like, "Why do I struggle with this?" or "Why does this happen to me?". During the assessment, I consider you a key partner because you are the expert of your own life. Our main goal is to gain a deep understanding of how autistic characteristics specifically impact you. Doing so will help us to identify strategies to enhance your well-being and navigate life's challenges more effectively.
When it comes to treatment, it's important to acknowledge that each individual's experience with autism is unique - the condition doesn't have a 'one-size-fits-all' solution. We'll explore many options together - such as therapy, learning about your condition, changing behaviours, medication, or a combination of all these. Our main goal is to help you do your best and learn how to make your autism work for you rather than against you.
Over the years, I've worked closely with many people grappling with addiction. Seeing a loved one struggle with addiction can be extremely challenging, often leaving family and friends feeling helpless. However, I can guide you on how to best support and motivate your loved one towards positive change. It's important to remember that addiction is not a moral failing but a medical condition that can be treated and managed. I adopt a supportive approach to understand the coping mechanisms and behaviour underlying substance use. My aim is to help minimise harm and, when they're ready, assist them through the stages of detoxification, change, and recovery. I stand ready to help individuals on their recovery journey, but it's crucial for them to acknowledge and understand their situation first.
Addiction in the LGBTQI+ Community
One of my areas of specialisation is working with addiction and mental health issues prevalent within the LGBTQI+ community, particularly the phenomenon known as 'Chemsex.' In Chemsex scenarios, drugs like methamphetamines or GHB are often used in a sexual context. This can happen more frequently among gay and bisexual men, or men who engage in sexual activities with other men, often facilitated by gay dating platforms. Combining sex with drugs in this way can quickly escalate into addiction, affecting an individual's mental health, social relationships, job performance, sexual health, and overall well-being.
Long-standing stress and trauma associated with concealing one's true identity can be a reality for many within the LGBTQI+ community. This often translates into self-negative perceptions, such as internalised homophobia, leading to addictive behaviours or other mental health challenges. Even after disclosing their sexuality, individuals may still encounter societal stigma, reinforcing fears of being targeted or marginalised. In such scenarios, the use of substances and engagement in certain behaviours often become coping mechanisms to deal with these difficult feelings and to seek connections with others sharing similar experiences.
My commitment is to offer support to individuals in these circumstances, helping them feel safe and guiding them on a path that acknowledges and celebrates their true identities.
My approach to treatment
It takes a lot of courage to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist. The initial step can be challenging for many, but I want to acknowledge this bravery and ensure you feel safe discussing sensitive topics with me. My role is to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for you to talk about your problems. Our conversations are private, and I am here to listen and help, not to judge.
I want to reassure you that mental health problems are common, and many are easily treated. If you’re suffering, remember that it's okay to reach out for help. You don't need to struggle alone, and I'm here to work with you to find solutions that fit your life.
During our first consultation, you can tell me about your problems and why you've chosen to seek help. You will have the chance to discuss your problems and how they impact your life. This will be an opportunity to talk with someone who knows about these kinds of problems, and together, we'll figure out the best way to help you. Confidentiality is fundamental to our relationship; everything we discuss stays between us. Afterwards, I'll ask you more questions to better understand what you're dealing with and how to create a treatment plan for your needs.
Personalised treatment plans
Given the complexities of mental health, developing a treatment plan that is individualised and responsive to your needs is essential. I firmly believe that you are the expert on your life and health. My role is to guide you through potential changes that may benefit you. Our treatment plans are collaborative, designed to evolve over time depending on your progress.
Although I’m a psychiatrist, I am highly interested in psychological approaches. While I can provide a psychotherapy-informed approach, I will refer you to a psychologist or therapist if I think you would benefit from additional therapy sessions.
I like to take a holistic view of mental health issues as they can come from many areas in life and show up in different ways. I believe in looking at the whole person, not just one part. Besides medication, lifestyle changes like a better diet, more exercise, improved sleep, and building a good support network can help improve your mental health. Together, we'll explore these areas to help you feel better. By understanding you and your interests, I can guide you towards activities to boost your mental health and wellbeing.
For example, we can explore improvements in your:
- Diet: What we consume directly impacts our mood and overall health. Unhealthy food choices, like high-fat foods, can contribute to weight gain and negatively affect our mental well-being. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy diet can improve our mental health by providing a sense of routine and discipline.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is excellent for mental health as it triggers the release of mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins. It also serves as a useful distraction from upsetting thoughts or issues.
- Sleep: Restful sleep is restorative and healing for both body and mind. However, stress, depression, and certain lifestyle habits can disrupt sleep. It's advisable to adopt sleep hygiene techniques and other psychological methods like mindfulness to enhance sleep quality before resorting to medication.
- Social support: Dealing with mental health issues can often lead to feelings of isolation. Creating a plan that includes potential people to contact during crises is helpful. Furthermore, developing supportive relationships or strengthening existing ones is beneficial as part of the recovery process.
Medication is one of the many tools we can use to address mental health problems, but it's not always the first solution. Sometimes, simply talking about your concerns with a mental health professional can help ease your distress. Where suitable, I often advise exploring talking therapies or lifestyle changes for dealing with mental health issues before considering medication. However, I acknowledge that these methods might not suit everyone, and other strategies might be needed. Once we've thoroughly assessed your mental health situation, we can discuss all potential treatment options.
If we believe medication could help you, it’s an important decision which should not be taken lightly. Medication can sometimes have side effects, and you may need to take it for many months. However, it can be very helpful for many people with mental health issues. If we agree to start medication, we will make a plan together. We will decide how to check if the medication is working, if you need any health checks, and what we can do if the medication isn't helping.
Education & Training
I’m a Consultant Psychiatrist with 20 years of clinical experience in general psychiatry. I’m registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine Royal College of Physicians, the Medico-legal Society of London, and the British Academy of Forensic Sciences. I am also the Chair of the London Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a member of Council.
I’m currently a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist to the States of Jersey, Channel Islands. Previously, I was Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in the Medium Secure Acute Male Admissions department of the West London Forensic Service, where I assessed and treated men. During the pandemic, I was a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist performing forensic and addiction services in three large mental health trusts in the criminal justice system. I worked for the NHS as the Lead Psychiatrist in Europe’s largest detention centre at Heathrow. I’m proud to have worked for the United Nations in Mental Health. I’ve volunteered all over the world, teaching healthcare professionals in low and middle-income countries about common mental health problems and how to treat them with the World Health Organisation.
I’m a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a Member of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine in the Royal College of Physicians. I’m also an Honorary Consultant at West London NHS Trust. I hold a Degree in Medicine and a Master's degree from Trinity College, Oxford University. I completed my psychiatric training at the Maudsley Hospital in London and other central London hospitals and community services in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden and Islington. I’ve also held various national and international roles, including the Chair of the London Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
I’ve been teaching medical students and supervising junior doctors since 2006. I’ve also been a teacher, trainer, and lecturer to numerous forensic and psychiatric organisations worldwide, including Health Education England, the Forensic Psychiatry Faculty of Denmark, medical professionals in Myanmar and the West London NHS Trust.
Alongside my clinical work, I’ve also presented my research for many organisations, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Psychiatric Association, for my work on personality disorders, secure psychiatric settings, and forensic patients. I’m the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Medical Leadership and Management. I’ve authored and co-authored several publications in psychiatry, criminal behaviour, and mental health journals. In 2015, I spoke in a BBC Radio 4 programme called Sexual Offending and Families.
In addition, I hold several notable positions, including:
- Consultant to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime in Forensic Mental Health
- Chair and Executive Committee Member of London Division, Royal College of Psychiatrists UK
- Expert Advisor for the Committee for the Prevention of Torture at the Council of Europe
- Chair, Health and Justice Liaison Group to Project Sagamore, Chemsex Offending Programme
- Clinical Lead, Tropical Health Education Trust and Royal College of Psychiatrists International Division Collaborative with Ghanaian College of Physicians and Surgeons
- GMC Accredited Medical Trainer – Educationally Appraised as Clinical and Educational Supervisor
- Mind to Mind Myanmar INGO Volunteer; Trustee since 2017
- Lead Reviewer, Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Outside of work I enjoy my many animals, diving, travelling to unusual places, swimming and am generally addicted to ballet.