Areas of Expertise
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on how thoughts can affect behaviour and the effect that these processes can have on our emotions. During therapy, we will focus on changing thought patterns and cognitive processes to subsequently change behaviour and improve emotional stability. I have extensive experience using CBT as my university degree focused on the application of CBT in clinical psychology.
CBT can be particularly helpful if someone has negative beliefs, dysfunctional schemas or attachment styles that could have been shaped since childhood. These negative thoughts can cause anxiety and destructive patterns of behaviour. CBT helps to identify negative self perception and how this can influence an individual, whether it’s related to their relationships, work or lifestyle habits.
CBT can be particularly helpful in addiction because it helps to uncover the core reasons for addictive behaviour and what led to it. The underlying reasons for the addiction are addressed and replaced with healthier coping mechanisms.
Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT)
MBT is based on the principles of mindfulness, where you learn to observe what is happening in the present moment from a non-judgemental, open and curious point of view. During the therapeutic process, I’ll guide you to observe your thoughts and emotions with kindness and acceptance so that you can see them objectively.
Often, depression can cause people to focus on the past, while anxiety can make people preoccupied with the future and ‘what if’. MBT is helpful because it allows patients to focus on the present and enjoy moments as they happen. Similarly, with addiction MBT is helpful because it assists individuals with gaining control over cravings and urges.
“We can’t stop the waves, but we can learn how to surf”. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting or feeling guilty for them. ACT is a process of accepting existing thoughts, emotions or circumstances that are causing suffering or difficulties, rather than trying to stop them altogether. By accepting and acknowledging anxious or depressive thoughts it prevents them from taking over, allowing you to move past them with compassion and kindness for yourself.
This will help you to live a more meaningful life, enjoying the things you truly value. This helps you to live and behave in ways consistent with your personal values while developing psychological flexibility and resilience.
“A unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.” – Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
My approach to mental health
I believe that therapy starts with getting to know my patients before tackling any difficult issues. My ultimate goal during therapy is to create a comfortable, trusting and non-judgemental space to talk about any issues or difficulties at your own pace. Therapy will be tailored to your preferences and there is no rush to talk about anything until you feel completely comfortable.
My therapeutic approach is focused on emotions and their interaction with our thoughts and behaviours. By learning how to identify, understand and regulate our emotions this can significantly improve the symptoms of most mental health conditions. This is why I integrate acceptance and mindfulness approaches into therapy, as they are based on improving emotional intelligence.
I also have extensive experience in group therapy, so if you are currently engaging in group therapy (for addictions or other mental health conditions) I can provide you with advice and guidance on how to get the most out of these sessions.
When developing your treatment, I believe in a creative and human approach and I consider myself compassionate, empathetic and open-minded when developing treatment strategies with you.
A key part of my therapeutic approach is psychoeducation (psychological education) about the mental health condition that is concerning you or your loved one. Psychoeducation is crucial as it allows you to better understand your symptoms, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms and increase self-awareness. This is important for both patients and their families, as improving understanding of the condition will help with treatment.
I will provide easily understandable information during the sessions, personalised to your unique symptoms and circumstances. I’ll also recommend a range of simple and informative resources, including websites, videos and podcasts. I can also recommend a range of applications (accessed by smartphones or tablets) that can help with symptoms or creating healthy habits.
Training and education
I’m a registered Clinical Psychologist, with over seven years of clinical experience. I completed my Psychology degree at the University of Psychology of Málaga in 2013, after which I specialised in Clinical Psychology through the Sanitary Master in Clinical Practice (2014, AEPCCC / European Foundation of Psychology). My professional experience is versatile, I’ve worked as a Clinical Psychologist in several residential outpatient treatment centres for psychotherapy, general psychiatry, addiction recovery, eating disorders and rehabilitation. I keep up to date with the latest scientific studies in psychology by researching academic journals and publications, attending workshops and courses, as well as listening to TED talks and podcasts. I love to discuss new ideas and research with my patients. More recently, I have obtained other qualifications by enrolling in courses; I try to maintain up to date by attending frequent online events and self-studying on topics that I find interesting. Some of the courses I have gained accreditation in are:
- Existential well being counselling, a person-centred experiential approach, KU Leuven (2020).
- Identifying early signs of Psychosis in adolescents and young adults, Stanford University (2020).
- Introduction to Mindfulness-based Emotional Regulation, UAMx University of Madrid (2020).
My personal interests
I’m originally from Belgium but consider Andalucía, in Spain, my home. I moved to Spain with my parents when I was only ten years old, and very soon I fell in love with the culture, beautiful nature and weather, and the passion and warmth of the people. Due to my multicultural background, I grew up multilingual, speaking Dutch, Spanish and English and understand the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity for each of my patients.
Some of my favourite hobbies include travelling, cooking, gardening, music and yoga. In my free time, every weekend, I go for long mountain walks. I find this contact with nature relaxes me and makes me feel whole, it creates an inner sense of peace. In October 2020, I started with a new project (something that was on my bucket list), which involves having an allotment (piece of land). The land is in a little community of people, and I grow my vegetables and herbs. It’s a challenge, but the beauty of it is the fact that everyone helps each other.
My interests in mindfulness-based activities and nature influences my treatment approach as I believe these activities can be extremely helpful in relieving stress and fostering a healthy relationship with one’s emotions. I encourage my patients to find their way of developing activities that calm and relax them, to help them gain an inner sense of peace in a way that they find enjoyable.