I believe in taking a person-centred and personalised approach to treatment and therapy.
I’m one of very few psychiatrists in the UK to be recognised by the General Medical Council as a registered specialist in both General Adult Psychiatry and Medical Psychotherapy (fewer than 1% of psychiatrists have both qualifications). This means that I can provide expert recommendations about what kind of approach will suit you best and tailor therapy according to your personality style, symptoms and lifestyle. I have specialist knowledge of multiple types of psychotherapy approaches, including psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mentalisation-based therapy.
Personality, emotional & relationship difficulties
Experiencing negative thoughts and feelings can cause many people to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that negatively impact our relationships, friendships, home life, work or school environment. Often, those closest to us don’t understand why we are struggling or how to help, which can frequently lead to communication issues, arguments and misunderstandings. Sometimes people try and cope by pushing their loved ones away, unintentionally hurting them in the process. Sometimes this might manifest as taking unnecessary financial risks, damaging one’s career, having affairs, or alcohol and substance misuse.
I specialise in helping people to uncover negative thoughts and feelings which are underlying problematic, self-defeating or damaging patterns of behaviour. Sometimes these issues might not fall easily under a specific diagnosis, but people can still benefit greatly from professional assessment and support. I employ a wide range of psychotherapy techniques to help people understand what triggers these negative thoughts and feelings and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Gaining insight and awareness can be therapeutic in itself, leading to improved communication, better relationships and the ability to resolve lifelong problematic patterns of behaviour.
Many people with personality disorders suffer from overwhelming and intense emotions that they find difficult to control. Experiencing such strong emotions can make it feel as though the world is a frightening and dangerous place, making it much harder to navigate relationships and cope with life’s challenges. The highly distressing nature of these emotions and subsequent behaviours may also cause people to unintentionally develop unhelpful communication or attachment styles as a coping mechanism.
Therapy is particularly beneficial in this context, as patients can safely uncover unconscious patterns of thought or behaviour within a supportive, understanding and non-judgemental environment. I’ve helped many patients to develop the resilience and confidence to face adversity and stressful circumstances without relapsing into unhealthy coping mechanisms so that they can feel secure in their relationships and live a more fulfilling life.
Complex and co-occurring conditions
I have specialist experience treating complex cases that usually involve co-occurring or overlapping conditions, including personality difficulties, mood disorders, psychosis, depression or trauma. Many of my patients have also had difficulties with substance or alcohol misuse, which is usually a symptom of, or an attempt to manage the underlying issues. Often, patients with complex conditions can accumulate many diagnoses, leading them to feel helpless and confused.
As a psychiatrist with a strong psychological focus, I draw on a wide range of models and treatment approaches to develop a personalised and adaptive treatment plan. My first goal is to provide crisis management and stabilise distressing symptoms, after which I work collaboratively with patients to identify and address the underlying factors that contribute to the root cause of their complex symptoms.
My approach to therapy and treatment
When new patients come to see me, my first priority is to put them at ease because it’s very common to feel anxious and uncertain about what will happen during the first appointment. My goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where you feel comfortable sharing anything on your mind and asking questions freely without any fear of judgment.
I believe that a thorough assessment is essential before treatment starts, as gaining insight into how your mind responds to stress and what type of treatment approach will have the highest chance of success. We can take as much time as we need to discuss your life story and experiences, as this helps me identify the context of your specific symptoms and why you’re currently experiencing them now. Developing an understanding of you as a whole person allows me to get a sense of your personality style and preferences before we make a plan for moving forward.
We will work together collaboratively on developing a treatment plan that’s in line with your goals and easy to implement within your daily routine. I also consider your life circumstances, social support, occupation, health, diet, hobbies and interests and individual personality traits. Psychoeducation is an important early stage of treatment, which might include information about your diagnosis or symptoms and the rationale for the treatment approach. I believe in being fully transparent with my patients about any potential hurdles we might encounter or side effects of treatment so that we can discuss strategies to support you through these. I highly respect and value my patient’s perspectives and opinions on how their treatment is progressing so that your treatment plan can progressively become more sophisticated and meaningful as we work together.
My approach to medication
I believe that medication isn’t always necessary, but it can be beneficial when used in conjunction with psychological and lifestyle interventions. Medication can be particularly helpful if your symptoms are severe or if your symptoms are impacting your mood, motivation, anxiety, or causing difficulty with impulse control. Research shows that combining psychotherapy with medication usually gives patients a better chance of improving their symptoms, as sometimes these symptoms can be a barrier to in-depth psychotherapeutic work. When discussing medication options, I will always explain any benefits and risks so that you are fully informed before making any decisions.
Education & Training
I’m a Consultant Psychiatrist, and Medical Psychotherapist registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). I have specialist qualifications in forensic psychiatry and medical psychotherapy. I’m a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych). Currently, I see patients in private practice at the London Psychiatry Clinic in Harley Street, London.
As a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, I specialise in explaining complex psychiatric formulations and ideas to a lay audience. I have extensive expert witness experience consulting for legal professionals and giving evidence to the Courts, including The Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey) and Court of Appeal.
I’ve gained extensive clinical experience working as a psychiatrist in the NHS since 2004. My previous roles have included working as a Consultant in Forensic Psychiatry & Medical Psychotherapy at several units and hospitals throughout the UK. In my most recent position at the East London NHS Foundation Trust, I worked with patients in one of the three national specialist hospital medium secure units within the Offender Personality Disorder pathway. I provided treatment for severely personality disordered (and frequently comorbid) men with a history of serious violent offending.
I’ve also held multiple leadership and teaching positions in my clinical work place and nationally. I collaborated on the National Strategy for Forensic Psychotherapy Reference Group and Forensic Psychotherapy Special Interest Group with the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I’ve developed clinical guidelines for improved care pathways both for local services and nationally with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and the Home Office. I have presented on practical, ethical and medico-legal issues at international conferences.
I enjoy family time, food, wine and the arts, particularly film. I also love to travel (when the pandemic allows). Additionally, I continue to persevere at being an exceptionally bad amateur beekeeper!