Areas of Expertise
Treatment-resistant symptoms or conditions
Many patients with long-term conditions, or treatment-resistant symptoms, struggle with low self-esteem and lack of independence. I help patients and their families to better understand and cope with these difficult symptoms by evaluating previous treatment strategies and using my psychopharmacology expertise to optimise medications. Beyond simply managing symptoms better, I believe it’s crucial to design treatment plans that improve overall wellbeing and help patients recover their independence. Metacognition training is particularly helpful in this context, as it involves addressing and overcoming negative biases and perceptions that may be affecting how we perceive the world, ourselves and our experiences. I work collaboratively with patients to establish life goals, support positive behaviour change and encourage fulfilling self-development.
Psychological issues associated with giftedness and high intelligence
I have a special interest in helping people with psychological issues associated with giftedness. For some patients, this may mean having a high IQ, artistic talent, or unique creative abilities. Some people with giftedness may also identify as a highly sensitive person (HSP), which means they have an increased physical and emotional sensitivity. While it may sound surprising, scientific research shows that giftedness can increase one’s vulnerability to depression, anxiety, loneliness and existential crises. This may lead to someone being diagnosed with multiple conditions that don’t quite fit or seem to have a clear cause. Fortunately, psychoeducation and therapy can help to address incorrect diagnoses and help patients to reflect, understand and better cope with the increased emotional sensitivity associated with giftedness. Treatment helps to foster understanding and self-awareness, which leads to greater resilience and a stronger sense of self.
My approach to mental health
As your Psychiatrist, my goal is to help you to better cope with any difficulties you’re currently facing. I always provide a non-judgemental and supportive environment for you to discuss any of your symptoms or difficulties, so that I can understand how to best support you. I believe that understanding your thoughts and how your mind works is often therapeutic in itself, which is why I integrate metacognition training into my approach.
During your first consultation, we will begin by exploring the circumstances and experiences that made you want to seek help in the first place. This can sometimes seem like a daunting task, so if you prefer to have one or two introductory sessions then this can be arranged. After finishing the initial assessment, we’ll be able to set some initial treatment goals based on what areas or symptoms you want to address first. I’ll also share my clinical impression and suggest a personalised treatment plan, which can be adjusted according to your feedback over time.
My approach to treatment is always based on the latest clinical guidelines and scientific evidence that combines psychoeducation, psychotherapy, lifestyle interventions, goal setting, behaviour change techniques, and medication (when appropriate). I also use behavioural activation techniques designed to empower and motivate you to make positive lifestyle changes designed to improve your mood, which could relate to physical activity, sleep hygiene, hobbies, or social support.
I use a holistic and personalised approach when designing your treatment plan. This includes taking into account any underlying biological vulnerabilities that could be interacting with psychological factors, as well as the influence of important relationships (with a partner, family, colleagues, or friends). I also consider your environment and whether there are any factors that could be influencing your symptoms, such as how to promote a more restful sleep and reduce stress, in ways that suit your lifestyle and schedule. One of the most important aspects will be setting clear and realistic goals together, so that you can feel safe and assured you’re getting the right support from the beginning. As time goes on, we’ll keep adjusting the treatment plan according to your goals.
My approach to medication
I believe that going to a psychiatrist doesn’t necessarily mean you should have to take pills for your symptoms. However, some mental health symptoms can be significantly improved by medication, when prescribed at the right dosage and right time for the individual. When deciding whether to prescribe medicine, I always consider the evidence base for that specific medication, along with the personal preferences and needs of the patient. I encourage all of my patients to take an active role in the treatment decision-making process, which includes when to start medication and how to better decrease or discontinue it. Treatment plans involving medication will also be personalised and use a flexible strategy that can be altered or stopped depending on how you respond to the medication.
Training and education
I’m a Consultant Psychiatrist, registered with the General Medical Council (GMC, UK) and Royal College of Psychiatrists (London, UK). I currently work at St Ann’s Hospital and a community Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team, as well as seeing patients in private practice. In addition to my specialist psychiatry training, I have a PhD from King’s College London.
Previously, I’ve worked as an Honorary Psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, which is the largest mental health training institution in the UK. I have also collaborated as visiting psychiatrist for Bethlem Royal Hospital’s National Psychosis Unit, within the Affective Disorder Service. I have worked as a locum specialty doctor at various practices throughout London for agencies such as Athona and Medacs Healthcare. My varied positions have given me excellent insight into the public and private healthcare systems in the UK, which I combine with my expertise and training in academic psychiatry to provide my patients with the highest quality of care.
Alongside my clinical work, I’m passionate about mental health research and have published multiple academic papers in several prestigious psychiatry and neuroscience journals. I’ve also presented my work at several international and national conferences and have attended the prestigious workshop on Schizophrenia at the Cold Spring Harbor Lab, New York, USA.
Qualifications & Training:
- PhD in Psychosis Studies
- Medical Degree (MD)
- Masters Degree in Clinical Medicine Research
- Metacognition Training
- Social Cognition in Severe Mental Disorder Training
- Schema Therapy training
- Environmental Risk Factors in Bipolar Disorder and Psychotic Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies in Schizophrenia Bulletin (2021)
- Exploring the Interplay Between Adversity, Neurocognition, Social Cognition, and Functional Outcome in People With Psychosis: A Narrative Review in Frontiers in Psychiatry (2021).
- Jumping to conclusions at first onset of psychosis predicts longer admissions, more compulsory admissions and police involvement over the next 4 years: the GAP study in Psychological Medicine (2018).
My personal interests
Outside of work, I love playing tennis, and following sports like football and motoGP. My favourite genres of music are rock, metal and indie and when it comes to reading I enjoy science fiction and various types of novels. I currently live in London but grew up on the east coast of Spain, and always enjoy travelling to see new places.