Areas of Expertise
Brief Psychodynamic Intervention (BPI)
I specialise in Brief Psychodynamic Intervention (BPI), which is a form of psychodynamic investigation that focuses on a brief course of four sessions. The goal of BPI is to develop a comprehensive investigation of the current crisis, by addressing symptoms of distress that arise as the expression of unconscious conflict provoked by a difficult situation. It also allows a clinical diagnostic assessment and an initial psychological and or pharmacological intervention.
The short-time span of BPI has the advantage of allowing me to assess your motivation for treatment and whether another long-term course of therapeutic or psychiatric treatment would be helpful and indicated. It also helps me as a therapist to understand you as a whole person and whether other subtle factors could be contributing to your symptoms. Sometimes, an initial dynamic interpretation of what past experiences or circumstances have contributed to the current problem can take place. This initial interpretation can be very beneficial and help a better understanding of the current crisis and difficulties (sometimes called psychodynamically “insight”), which can relieve some symptoms.
Although BPI is based on psychoanalytic theory, it is a much shorter version that is focused on improving the current situation or crisis. Sometimes the four sessions are sufficient to help the client to feel better with a notable reduction of distress, while sometimes a long-term approach might suit better. Regardless of the outcome, I’ll share my impressions, hypotheses and diagnostic assessment with you. Together we can evaluate the progress and discuss whether further treatment would be beneficial.
Occasionally it can be helpful to incorporate medication while carrying out the BPI treatment, but I will only recommend medication if I think it’s necessary or useful. Again, an open discussion at the end of the final session will allow you to make an informed decision about how you’d like to continue with your treatment.
My approach to mental health
I believe that the relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient is essential. I understand the importance of trust, empathy and partnership to build a personal and human connection. I’ll provide a safe, non-judgemental and open space for you to discuss any problems. During the first consultation, I’ll ask you specific questions about your symptoms and history so that I can build a complete idea of all the factors contributing to your symptoms. At the end of the session, I’ll provide my clinical impression, and we can formulate a treatment plan, with your input.
Rather than categorising you or your problems under diagnostic labels, I prefer to focus on specific symptoms when communicating with my patients. Together, we might explore why you’re experiencing fear, worries, paranoia or sleep problems and how to address these.
I employ the ‘bio-psycho-social’ model when formulating a treatment plan that focuses on three different factors that typically contribute to mental health conditions:
- Biological: dysregulation of biological processes (such as neurotransmitters or inflammation) that could be addressed with medication or other lifestyle interventions.
- Psychological:emotions, experiences or thinking patterns. These can be addressed with various psychotherapy (talking therapy) interventions.
- Social: family, friends and social context is critical, and the intervention will take your personal circumstances into account.
I believe that insight is one of the most vital components of any treatment, as understanding what is behind the symptoms and perspectives of the patient is essential to improving their mental health. Often, the insight itself can have a therapeutic value on its own.
If you’re going through a crisis, breakdown or suffer from anxiety, fear or ruminations, then please reach out for help. I have experience helping people who are still suffering the effects of difficult life events, flashbacks, sleep disturbances, persistent low mood, paranoia and perceptual abnormalities.
My approach to medication
Many people have a preconceived idea that seeing a psychiatrist will involve taking medication, but this is not always the case. The decision about whether to take medication is something that is discussed and agreed between the psychiatrist and patient, with all possible risks and benefits discussed openly so that the patient can make an informed decision.
As discussed above, sometimes there is a clear biological dysregulation that is playing a role where there are persistent and distressing symptoms, then medication can be a helpful tool to address this. However, medication is rarely the answer to the problems, and a combination of therapy and social intervention will provide you with the best chance of improvement.
Training and education
I’m currently working as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, as well as a PhD researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, alongside my private practice.
I’m registered as a General Adult Psychiatrist with a licence to practice as a Consultant Psychiatrist with the General Medical Council (GMC). I’m approved under Section 12 of the Mental Health Act and approved clinician in England and an associate member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Before coming to the UK, I completed my Medical Studies at the University of Seville (Spain). I completed my training in Psychiatry and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Switzerland and completed my thesis at the University of Lausanne.
My PhD research investigates the relationship between stress, trauma and mental health. I’m specifically interested in the mechanisms linking stressful or traumatic experiences to severe mental health conditions. The goal of my research is to improve treatment for patients suffering from severe mental health conditions.
As part of my academic career, I’ve published over 25 scientific articles in the most prestigious academic journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and Schizophrenia Bulletin. I was also awarded the prize for the best research paper of the year by the European Psychiatric Association in 2019 and the “Prix de la Faculté” given to the best thesis of the year by Lausanne University in 2015.
To find out more about my research, please visit Research of Luis Alameda.
My personal interests
In my spare time, I enjoy running and various other sports. I also love listening to music and watching plays.