Dr Jo White
Advanced Schema Therapist
I have been working with adults with emotional and mental health difficulties since 2007, in the NHS and now in independent practice.
Understanding your Difficulties
I was drawn to psychology because I have always been interested to understand people’s feelings and thoughts. Psychology helped me to make sense of what I found confusing about myself and other people. Understanding your difficulties, why you feel, think and behave the way you do can bring such relief. This part of the therapy, where we understand the challenges that have brought you to therapy is called psychological formulation. You can find out more about formulation in the resources section.
Facing Difficulties Together
Another important aspect of psychological therapy and one that feels such a privilege is to work closely alongside individuals. In our work together I will come alongside you, without judgement and we can work together to face and overcome your struggles. Feeling alone with your difficulties can trigger self criticism and bring about feelings of shame. Psychological therapy gives you the opportunity to find out that you are not alone in feeling the way you do, you are not the only person who has had the thoughts you have had or has managed their feelings in the way you do. Not only have other people struggled in very similar ways to the way that you are struggling, but there are effective therapy tools we can use to help you move forwards and I always hold hope that things can be different. I have seen many people change their lives with the help of therapy over my career.
Significant changes are possible in psychological therapy and I have trained in evidence based approaches to enhance the therapy I offer and support my clients to meet their therapy goals.
My role in our sessions might be helping you to identify particularly emotions that cause you distress and you struggle to manage, then helping you to process the intensity of the emotion and find new ways of managing your feelings.
We might work on understanding difficult or traumatic events from the past, processing the parts of the memory that are stuck and reaching less shameful or scary beliefs about the event.
We could look at the ways you relate to yourself in your life, perhaps noticing self criticism, self abandonment or dismissing your feelings and work on finding ways you can take more care of yourself and show yourself more compassion.
Our work may focus on patterns of behaviour and feelings in friendships or intimate relationships which get in the way such as fears of abandonment or a lack of closeness and intimacy.
I will draw from my knowledge of different therapies to tailor a treatment just for you.
Therapy Tools and Approaches
I am an Advanced Certified Schema Therapist, which means I have worked through an in-depth and rigorous training programme in the approach. Schema therapy is a beautiful approach that prioritises the therapeutic relationship to ensure that the person I am working with feels safe and cared for. It is an approach which is helpful for people who have had difficult experiences in their life and may have had traumatic things happen to them. Schema therapy can be helpful for people who have not benefitted from therapies like CBT. For a more detailed description of Schema Therapy have a look at my FAQs and if you would like to read self help material about Schema Therapy you can find resources here.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy tool that is effective for working with difficult memories and traumatic events. It has also been found to be helpful for other anxiety difficulties such as phobias, panic and OCD. You will find a leaflet and video describing EMDR here and a more detailed description of the approach in my FAQs.
Compassion Focused Therapy
I have been running compassion focused therapy groups for over 8 years. When you struggle with self compassion (showing yourself understanding and care) life is hard. Through developing self compassion and working in a group of other people struggling, group members have experienced more connection in their relationships, better ability to manage difficult thoughts and feelings, and less feelings of shame. Working in a group is scary at first, but the support and care that I see growing between group members is such a privilege to witness every time. Find out more about group therapy.
There are many good self help books written from a Compassion Focused Therapy perspective and you will find a list here.
Working Towards the End of Therapy
As we approach the final phase of our work, I hope you will feel more confident in your ability to understand what is going on when you are struggling and what you need to do to manage the situation. We may decide at this point to meet less frequently as you spend time practising your new skills between sessions and learn to manage with less frequent support.
Endings can bring up mixed feelings including pride and joy at the changes you have made and sadness and anxiety about the loss of our relationship. I will support you through these feelings, helping you to have confidence in your ability to manage without my support.