Areas of Expertise
The term “Medical Psychotherapist” is used for Psychiatrists such as myself who are registered by the General Medical Council as having specialist expertise in Psychotherapy. This expertise includes assessing what therapy would be most helpful for a particular patient at a particular time, and being able to deliver, oversee and supervise a range of different therapies.
The advantage of being a Medical Psychotherapist is that I can objectively assess what the best psychotherapeutic approach is for your personal circumstances and symptoms. Rather than being tied to one particular model of therapy which might not be right for everyone, Medical Psychotherapists have training in a range of therapies so that we can try to ensure that the therapy offered is the right approach for the patient. I have specialist training in psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and mentalisation-based approaches, as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Family therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). I will also make recommendations for other types of therapeutic approach when needed, such as Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and can refer you to psychologists, psychotherapists or treatment programmes in my professional network who specialise in the right sort of therapy for you.
Mood disorders with emotional difficulties
In addition to my interest in mood disorders (such as depression, dysthymia and bipolar disorder) I also have a specialist interest in working with people who are experiencing emotional, personality or relationship difficulties. Sometimes these issues might not fall easily under a specific diagnosis, but they will frequently still benefit from professional assessment and support.
Performance and achievement
I also help professionals, creatives and sportspeople with sustaining high-level achievement and performance, as well as the pressures associated with high-level performance.
I have extensive experience working with people suffering from ‘complex’ or ‘treatment-resistant’ conditions, including medically-unexplained physical symptoms. In these more complicated cases, I believe it’s crucial to take the time to understand the whole person and go beyond the diagnostic labels which have often accumulated over time. A thorough and holistic assessment can frequently then provide new angles of approach in the treatment plan that can frequently help address any difficult symptoms. I regularly supervise other clinicians and provide expert second opinion consultations.
I also have specialist experience in forensic psychiatry and frequently act as an expert witness for the courts.
My approach to mental health
I understand that it’s normal to feel anxious about talking to a psychiatrist. My goal is to create a non-judgmental environment where you feel entirely comfortable and where your feelings and symptoms will never be dismissed.
As a psychiatrist specialising in both general psychiatry and medical psychotherapy, I will always take into consideration as many possible treatment options as possible to suit your needs and preferences.
When creating a treatment plan, I believe an integrative and holistic approach can lead to a significant and sustainable improvement. I’m a firm believer in tailoring treatment plans so that they are realistic and achievable. I won’t ask you to live a completely different lifestyle as this isn’t a long-term solution but I will try to encourage us to think together about what changes you would like to make and what are the barriers that make this difficult and how might we make these more possible. I’ll also provide you with multiple treatment avenues so you can choose what approach suits you best. Some of the approaches I use include:
- General psychiatry: diagnosis and assessment of mental health conditions.
- Psychoeducation: support and information about the condition so that symptoms can be managed better.
- Psychotherapy: psychological talking therapies. I predominantly use psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and mentalisation based therapy (MBT) approaches, but also integrate principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and family (systemic) therapy.
- Psychosocial: focus on interpersonal relationships, support networks and understanding yourself better.
- Lifestyle interventions: exercise, nutrition or supplements. Other evidence-based treatments could include things like using a lightbox for depression or integrating time for hobbies, music and the arts which frequently help in managing and expressing emotions.
- Medication: the need for medication will be assessed depending on the severity of symptoms and taking into account your personal preferences.
My approach to medication
I don’t believe in taking medication any longer than necessary and will always try to use as little medication as possible, while being guided by the latest evidence and guidelines as well as your symptoms, lifestyle and preferences.
I understand that some patients may have tried many different medications before coming to see me, and I understand that for many patients taking medication isn’t ideal. However, I do believe that in the right circumstances medication can substantially help to alleviate symptoms and provide enough relief for you to explore other treatment avenues.
Research shows there is usually a better chance of improving symptoms by combining psychotherapy with medication, so I will always recommend the appropriate therapy for your specific needs if you need to take medication for your condition.
When prescribing medication, I’ll discuss your options in detail, combining the latest scientific evidence together with offering my own specialist opinion for your unique symptoms and circumstances. Together, we can weigh up the benefits and risks (such as medication side effects) to decide what the best treatment plan for you will be, which can then be adjusted over time depending on your feedback. For example, sometimes a low dose of medication in the short-term is a better alternative to prevent more severe symptoms in the future.
Similarly, rather than trying to treat multiple conditions with multiple prescriptions, I’ll do my best to find the right medication or treatment to help improve the symptoms of all conditions, if possible.
Training and education
I am a General Medical Council (GMC) registered Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Psychotherapist with experience in general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and medical psychotherapy. In addition, Health Education England appointed me as the Training Programme Director for medical psychotherapy at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
I have additional qualifications in mental health research and biomedical and health education and have held honorary research, lecturer and psychotherapist posts at the Institute of Psychiatry, St George’s University of London and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
I was educated at Winchester College, then went on to train as a medical doctor at Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’s Medical School, University of London, where I obtained a first class degree in Neuroscience before graduating in Medicine and Surgery in 2004. I then undertook specialist psychiatry training at the prestigious South London and Maudsley training scheme, then other renowned schemes at Oxford and South West London and St George’s. I qualified as a consultant psychiatrist in General Adult Psychiatry in 2012 and then undertook a further period of specialist training, qualifying as a consultant psychiatrist in medical psychotherapy in 2015.
I hold the following qualifications and certifications:
- Medical Degree (MBBS)
- GMC Registered Specialist in General Adult Psychiatry
- GMC Registered Specialist in Medical Psychotherapy
- Approved by the Secretary of State under S12(2) of the Mental Health. Act 1983, recognising that I have specialist experience in the assessment of mental disorder
My personal interests
The things I find most enjoyable when I am not working (or reading psychiatric or psychotherapy texts) are spending time with my family and friends, cooking, and enjoying music, arts and sports.
This has influenced my psychiatric practice because I feel that relationships, creativity, the arts and sports are all essential ways of helping us explore ourselves and what we find meaningful and that this then improves our mental health and wellbeing and that of those around us.