Areas of expertise
Trauma, PTSD, and Complex PTSD
I specialise in helping individuals overcome severe trauma and the mental health consequences that can result from it. As an Associate Professor at King's College London, I'm also involved in clinical research into psychological trauma in different populations, conditions resulting from trauma, treatment, and trauma-informed practice.
I understand how difficult and overwhelming it can be to deal with the psychological consequences of traumatic events, and how these experiences can affect a person's life. You may have experienced trauma in different ways - it could have been one or multiple experiences that were very stressful. What's important to understand is that everyone's perception of trauma is unique, and there's no right or wrong way to feel about it. Instead of experiencing recurrent nightmares or constant anxiety, you might feel detached, emotionally numb, or disconnected. You might have trouble remembering parts of a distressing event and find it hard to feel close to your family, friends, or partner. Whatever your experience, I want you to know that it's possible to recover and lead a fulfilling life.
I understand that discussing difficult and traumatic experiences can be anxiety-provoking. I approach the assessment process with great care, ensuring that you feel safe and supported throughout. I consider the impact of trauma on all aspects of your life during a thorough assessment. When it comes to treatment, it's important to understand how trauma affects our brains and our bodies and to consider treatments which acknowledge both. I also work closely with therapists specialising in trauma-informed therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SPT).
“People begin to heal as soon as they feel heard”
Complex emotional and psychological difficulties
Seeking help for complex or confusing symptoms can feel daunting, especially when you don't fit into a neat diagnostic box. Through my specialist experience in helping individuals who have experienced psychological trauma, I've worked with many people who struggle with very strong emotions, low self-esteem, and problems managing relationships. Often this can lead to difficulties in their family, social, and work lives, and can lead to alcohol and substance misuse. They may have accumulated multiple diagnoses, including Personality Disorder, and tried a variety of treatment approaches. A thorough and holistic assessment can help us understand some of the underlying factors contributing to your difficulties. Sometimes simply understanding the cause of your difficulties can be therapeutic, but this understanding can also inform a personalised treatment plan.
After the assessment, we'll explore different treatment options together to find an approach that suits your preferences and needs. In some cases, medication can be helpful, but I also have specialist knowledge of psychological therapies that are helpful for complex emotional and relational difficulties, such as Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), or Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT). I will recommend the best therapeutic approach and refer you to therapists in my professional network.
Medico-legal & Expert Witness Reports
Having trained in forensic psychiatry since 2007, I have specialist expertise in preparing psychiatric reports in connection with legal procedures. I regularly produce medico-legal and expert witness reports, as well as giving expert evidence in Court.
My experience working in the criminal courts with the Prosecution and Defence, in the civil courts with Claimants and Defendants, and in various Tribunals with Claimants and Respondents across a wide variety of offences and civil matters has equipped me with knowledge of relevant civil, criminal, and case law. My knowledge and experience enable me to produce comprehensive high quality reports.
My approach to treatment
I understand that seeking help for mental health difficulties can be an overwhelming experience, and you might feel anxious about opening up to a professional. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can invite a close family member or friend to join your sessions with me.
During your first consultation, I'll take the time to explain what the assessment process involves and ensure that you feel safe and listened to. The first session is an opportunity for us to get to know each other and develop a relationship based on trust and understanding. I can also guide you through calming techniques to help manage any fears or feelings of anxiety. These might include relaxation or grounding techniques to help you stay present and focused.
As part of the treatment process, I'll give you clarity and understanding about what might happen and what treatment options are available to you. Together, we'll work towards developing a personalised treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.
Personalised treatment plans
I believe in taking a holistic approach to treatment. Together, we'll develop a treatment plan that takes into account many aspects of your life, from your diet and lifestyle to your relationships and daily stresses. I will also listen carefully to your attitudes to different treatment approaches and how they might fit with your personal belief systems.
I believe in considering the mind and the body when recovering from mental ill-health. Activities and forms of exercise that promote greater awareness of your body and breathing, such as yoga, can help process psychological stress held in the body. It’s also important to consider a well-balanced and nutritious diet and how it provides the basic building blocks for healthy brain chemistry as well as maintaining good gut health, which we know is closely linked to mental health. Additionally, I may encourage patients to explore other therapeutic outlets that can help them process painful memories and emotions, such as art or art therapy.
If, together, we think you would benefit from psychological therapy, I can refer you to a therapist in my professional network who specialises in the right type of therapy for you. I will recommend the best therapeutic approach and refer you to therapists in my professional network. I work collaboratively with therapists who offer approaches such as:
- Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)
- Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT)
- Art Therapy
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
- Schema Therapy
I believe that medication can play a very important role in treating some mental health problems, and I stay up-to-date with the latest research and evidence-based practices. However, I also believe that medication should only be used when necessary and not as a first-line treatment if that's not what the evidence recommends. If I think medication would benefit you, we'll discuss all the different options, and I'll explain how each one works and the potential benefits and risks.
Education & Training
I’m a Consultant Psychiatrist with 18 years of clinical experience. I’m registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and am a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London (MRCPsych). I completed my specialist training in Forensic Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London. I’ve gained extensive clinical experience working as a psychiatrist in the NHS since 2004 in a variety of inpatient and community mental health teams, primarily within general adult and forensic services.
As a Consultant Psychiatrist I developed a special interest and expertise in assessing and treating complex mental health difficulties associated with psychological trauma. My previous roles have included working as Consultant Psychiatrist in a specialist NHS trauma service, the Traumatic Stress Clinic, in Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. I also worked as Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Trauma Lead at HMP Wandsworth Prison, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
I have a particular interest in military trauma and mental health. I was involved in establishing one of the first NHS specialist services for individuals who have experienced trauma during their military service. I am currently the joint Head of that service, the NHS London Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
Alongside my clinical training, I also completed a Master's degree in Forensic Mental Health Research and a PhD in Psychiatric Research, both at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London. I now balance my work as a clinician with an academic career undertaking research and education as an Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Science at King's College London, where I co-lead the Forensic Research Group.
I have received research funding grants from major research bodies such as the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). I have published widely in scientific papers and books and regularly present internationally. My research has led to changes in clinical practice and policy both nationally and internationally.
My key publications:
- Trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and violence in the prison population: prospective cohort study of sentenced male prisoners in the UK in BJPsych Open (2023).
- Help-seeking for Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: Experiences of Serving and Ex-serving UK Military Personnel in The Journal of Family Violence (2023).
- The Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Interventions in Prison Settings: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis in Trauma, Violence, and Abuse (2021).
- Domestic Violence and Mental Disorder in The New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (2022).