Psychotherapy by Zoom – what is different?

Preparing for psychotherapy by video: Before, during and after …


There is a natural and understandable reticence about undertaking psychotherapy by video link. We intuit that it will feel different. It is different in important ways. It cannot be the same as a face-to-face session in the usual clinical setting.

So let’s think a little about why this move from a personal meeting to a ‘remote’ meeting is different and use this knowledge to help ourselves optimize the therapy-via-video experience. Continue reading

New technologies offer challenges & opportunities to psychotherapy

Contacts between psychotherapists and clients have been changed by the increasing use of new communication technologies. Sometimes the benefits and pitfalls are obvious, some are more unexpected. A group of us explored this in the following article in the British Journal of Psychotherapy 33, 1 (2017) 63–76:

Advancing Telecommunication Technology and its Impact on Psychotherapy in Private Practice. Christopher Vincent, Mary Barnett, Louisa Killpack, Amita Sehgal and Penni Swinden.

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Group Analysis – Difference is welcome

Group Analysis – analysis of the group, by the group including the group conductor:

Groups in general, and psychotherapy groups in particular, affect us in some ways that we are immediately aware of and in other ways that are completely outside of our awareness. We affect others in our turn – a group’s behavior is surprisingly responsive to any new member. The complexity of group processes means that group analysts refer to a group as if it is an entity in its own right. Just as we might refer to an ‘organization’. Continue reading “Group Analysis – Difference is welcome”

Why Join a Psychotherapy Group? 2 Scariness


Our felt experience of groups as scary and exclusionary:

We all will be able to point to experiences in groups that confirms the truth that groups can be scary. It may arise from our everyday experience of not fitting in with a social group or work team or from our past experiences in school or college. It may arise especially in situations where we are not known personally at all but others are pre-judging us on our outward appearance – our gender, our skin tone, our sexuality, our age, our clothing, our language or accent or any one of the numerous other signifiers that a group reads as ‘You are one of Us, you belong here’ or ‘You are Other, you don’t belong here’. In such situations, a group of people can feel like a gang – a gang that doesn’t welcome strangers. Continue reading “Why Join a Psychotherapy Group? 2 Scariness”

Why Join a Psychotherapy Group? 1 First Questions


Groups are scary! We all know the truth that groups can be very scary when other people treat us in ways that we don’t like and they seem to be indifferent or even take pleasure in our discomfort and vulnerability. So why would one join a psychotherapy group with six or seven group members who are strangers to us and whose motivations and personalities we know nothing about? We might perhaps trust the group psychotherapist who will be conducting the group for the 90 minutes meeting every week but what to make of the expectation of sharing difficult experiences and emotions and making known one’s thoughts about oneself and others? How could this most scary of places possibly be helpful? Continue reading “Why Join a Psychotherapy Group? 1 First Questions”

Online Rating of Therapists

It can be a minefield trying to find a good therapist in the private sector, the voluntary sector or the NHS. That’s not to say that there are not very good ones in all these areas, but how do we know? Organisations such as the NHS will be setting their internal standards and will have ways of managing underperforming therapists, so the standards in the NHS are usually pretty reliable. But what about the private sector? I recently found my name on a rating site and had it removed. Does that sound dodgy? Continue reading “Online Rating of Therapists”

Beautiful Restoration

When we seek help for our psychological distress we may hope the outcome will be a return to our “old” self. This may happen, but some of us may become changed, in a good way.

The term “kintsugi” means ‘golden joinery’ in Japanese and refers to the art of fixing broken ceramics with a golden lacquer resin. Broken pots which have been fixed using kintsugi are often thought to look more beautiful than before the breakage, and often their value is increased too. Continue reading “Beautiful Restoration”

Modern communication technologies, how are they changing practice?

Using video conferencing in therapy…

I am sometimes asked to consider using Skype for a therapy session with an individual or a couple, or for consultations. I have thought about this at some length and explored the issue with colleagues. A group of us are embarking on a study to look at the advantages and pitfalls.  Continue reading “Modern communication technologies, how are they changing practice?”

Some tips for facing our fears

The idea of facing our fears has always been with us and has been much written about in ancient and modern scripts. Jim Morrison, of The Doors, said “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” I like this quote as it acknowledges the existential fear of freedom and is in keeping with a CBT approach to facing fears. Continue reading “Some tips for facing our fears”

Will my therapist talk to other people about me?

We all want to know that when we choose to speak with a therapist about intimate aspects of ourselves this will be treated with confidentiality. But if our therapist is unable to talk about us then how can we be assured that the therapy is going as well as possible? Continue reading “Will my therapist talk to other people about me?”


If you are alert to the presence of spiders you will know that there are still plenty of them around in the home and garden. And if you are alert to their presence this may be because you love them or because you are afraid of them. If you are afraid of them you are not alone, many of us find spiders’ long legs and their hairs brings up a feeling of disgust and anxiety which then renders us unable to cope, and with the best thing seeming to be to avoid the leggy arachnid.

Continue reading “Arachnophobia”

CBT and NICE Guidelines – a good thing?

How helpful are the NICE Guidelines when it comes to psychological therapies?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence provides guidelines for good practice in all health care based on systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials. In the world of mental health some therapies have been very on the ball with outcome measures and lend themselves well to being developed into treatment protocols for specific sets of problems, or diagnoses. CBT is one of these, which is why CBT is still the main therapy on the menu in the NHS. CBT does not have to be delivered in protocol fashion, but to be NICE Guideline compliant it does. Continue reading “CBT and NICE Guidelines – a good thing?”

CBT keywords or a description of psychotherapy?

Using the right keywords for CBT web pages may not be the best way to describe the therapy.

Of the BABCP accredited cognitive behavioural therapists in East Sussex, I am one of those who have been accredited the longest. This is not me blowing my own trumpet; I know many of those whose websites appear before the Brighton Therapy Works website with a Google search, and can vouch that there are many good therapists to choose from. No, my Googlepride is hurt. Continue reading “CBT keywords or a description of psychotherapy?”

Top tips for staying well

What better evidence than that of fellow travellers. As I was having an administrative tidy up recently I was looking at some of the notes I have written about clients at the end of therapy.

The ending of CBT and other therapies is a time when we often consider how to stay well in the broadest sense.

Guess what? Several themes emerged so I have counted them up and offer them to you here in order of popularity: Continue reading “Top tips for staying well”