Blog

Please bear with me whilst this page is under construction. Until the blog is updated, please find posts that are freely available on the web, and only the recent ones are ones that I have authored.

Ways to help your children develop self-esteem and confidence

Self-esteem and confidence are major traits in individuals that affect their success. While these are a lifelong process, the foundation of it needs to be established in early childhood. Building self-esteem will allow the child to deal with difficult situations that they will encounter during their lifetime. Since parents have the greatest influence on a child’s belief, it is important for them to let their child know where they belong, how well they are doing and contribute towards developing confidence and self-esteem. Read more
Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning Operant conditioning is a principle developed by the psychologist B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), who was responsible for a philosophy of science he called ‘radical behaviourism’. Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs as a result of rewards and punishments for behaviour. Operant or instrumental conditioning was Skinner’s term to describe the effects of the consequences of a particular behaviour on the future occurrence of that behaviour. In other words, the association that is made between a behaviour and the consequence of the behaviour. There are four types of Operant Conditioning: Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, and Extinction. Both Positive and Negative Reinforcement strengthen (or increase the likelihood of) behaviour, while both Punishment and Extinction weaken (or reduce the incidence of) behaviour. Some key concepts in operant conditioning: A reinforcer is any event that either strengthens or increases the behaviour it follows. There are two kinds of reinforcers:

Positive reinforcers are favourable events or outcomes that are presented immediately after the behaviour. For example: A hungry guinea-pig pushes its nose against a lever in its cage and receives food. The food is a positive condition for the hungry guinea-pig. It pushes the lever again, and again receives food. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pushing the lever is strengthened or increased by the consequence of receiving food.

Negative reinforcers involve the removal of an unfavourable events or outcomes after the display of a behaviour.

A guinea-pig is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the guinea-pig. The guinea-pig pushes a lever and the shock stops. The guinea-pig receives another shock, pushes the lever again, and again the shock stops. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pushing the lever is strengthened by the consequence of stopping the shock. In both of these cases of reinforcement, the behaviour increases.

Punishment is the presentation of an adverse event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behaviour it follows. In the case of punishment, the behaviour decreases.

A guinea-pig pushes a lever in its cage and receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the guinea-pig. The guinea-pig pushes the lever again and again receives an electric shock. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pressing the lever is weakened by the consequence of receiving the shock.

Within Extinction, a behaviour is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing a positive condition or stopping a negative condition. For example:

A guinea-pig pushes a lever in its cage and nothing positive or negative happens. The guinea-pig presses the lever again and again nothing happens. The guinea-pig’s behaviour of pressing the lever is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing anything positive or stopping anything negative. Subsequently, the likelihood of the guinea-pig continuing to push the lever is reduced

How to get a good nights sleep?

Oh to sleep like a baby
Oh, to sleep like a baby!!
  Some might sadly say that in today’s hectic world that sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity.  I often hear clients indicate how they lead such busy lives that they almost don't have time for sleep!  So, please read on for information about sleep improvement. Sleep is vitally important for the emotional and physical well being of us all. Sleep difficulties such as problems getting off to sleep, remaining asleep or waking up at 'stupid o'clock' can create lasting health and emotional difficulties. If you have been experiencing sleep issues, it may be due to a number of factors such as stress, anxiety, panic or depression. In order to address your sleep problem, it is best to consult an experienced CBT therapist who can assist you to change your behaviour, and to manage your thought processes and emotions that may interfere with your sleep. Read more

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD hand washing A clinical perspective on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions can be described as being those distressing thoughts, ideas, images, or impulses that seem to repeatedly and involuntarily enter the mind of the person with OCD. People with this condition often describe them as being repugnant, they are often recognised as being excessive or senseless and seem to occur against their will.  These are described as being intrusive and inappropriate, and cause marked anxiety or distress.  In order for a clinical diagnosis to be applied, these need to be  recognized as the product of one's own mind and  not simply excessive worries about real life problems, and are accompanied by efforts to ignore, suppress, or neutralize the thoughts. Compulsions are described as those behaviours or mental acts that the person with OCD feels driven to perfom repeatedly in response to an obsession, according to rigid rules , although they may be recognized as being senseless or not realistically connected to the obsessive fear, and excessive.  As they are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation from happening, it may be extremely difficult to resist doing them. There is frequently increased levels of anxiety that does not diminsh until the behaviour is completed. Common Compulsions
  • Checking
  • Washing and Cleaning
  • Repetition of Normal Activities
  • Ordering or Arranging
  • Saving or Collecting
  • Mental Compulsions
  • Special words, images, and numbers recreated mentally to reduce anxiety
  • Repetition of special prayers
  • Mental counting
  • Mental list making
  • Mental reviewing
Common Obsessions
  • Contamination: Dirt, germs, bodily waste, chemicals
  • Mistakes: Locks, appliances, paperwork, decisions
  • Impulses: Violent, sexual, religious, embarrassing
  • Order: Neatness, symmetry, numbers
Compulsions are intended to prevent harm, however all they do in reality is reduce discomfort, and tend to be performed automatically without purpose. Obsessions cause anxiety, causing the sufferer to engage in compulsions in an attempt to aleviate the distress caused by the obsessions. Carrying out these compulsions, or rituals, does not result in any permanent change, and in fact, worsens the OCD symptoms. OCD is Reinforced by Learning Theory
  • Obsessions give rise to anxiety or distress
  • Compulsions reduce obsessional anxiety
  • Performance of compulsions prevents the extinction of obsessional anxiety
  • Compulsions are negatively reinforced by the brief reduction in anxiety they engender
Obsessions and compulsions cause distress, are time consuming, and significantly interfere with functioning.
  • OCD has a one-month prevalence of 1.3%
  • OCD has a lifetime prevalence of 2.5%
Incidence of Comorbid Conditions
  • Depression: 30%
  • Simple Phobia: 30%
  • Social Phobia: 20%
  • Panic Disorder: 15%
  • Tourette's Syndrome: 36-52%
  • Sleep Disorder: 40%
  • Eating Disorders: 10%
  • Bulimia: 33%
There is a wealth of evidence to suggest CBT can be an effective treatment for OCD - Information from NICE can be downloaded here www.nice.org.uk/cg031

What are the differences between CBT and counselling

MentalPress 3 Whilst both counselling and CBT are talking therapies, there are a number of marked differences between them.  The most apparent is they have a differing Regulatory body, as counsellors are accredited and regulated by the BACP, who state "the counsellor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client's problems without becoming burdened by them" Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists are accredited by the BABCP.  In terms of practical differences Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy includes the following, which counselling may not offer:
  • Structure and active engagement
  • Working in the here and now
  • Looking at the interaction between cognition, emotion, behaviour and physiology
  • Empirical background, efficacy and outcomes
  • Time limited and brief
  • Collaborative
  • Levels of cognition
  • The use of Socratic questions
  • Guided discovery
  • Rooted in the scientific practitioner model
  • In vivo work
  • Behavioural Experiments
  • The use of case formulation
  • The use of objective measures
  • The setting of goals and targets
  • Implementation of homework
Please note, I am an accredited CBT psychotherapist, and I do not make any claims to be a 'counsellor', as I am not accredited with the body that regulates counsellors (BACP).  I believe if I were to claim to offer counselling it would be a breach of my ethical framework.  However, a number of 'professionals' claim to offer CBT when they are not qualified to do so.

Get the most out of your work day

There are many emotional issues that find a corner in our heart, and refuse to die down. With time, these issues can transform into a sort of emotional tumor that impacts negatively on our daily life, such as lack of concentration, enthusiasm, self respect, will to change, encouragement, and so on. These issues can spiral into our lives in various ways and gets channelled into other zones, which can create problems in the relationships, professional life, and health. Read more

Help your child find new friends

Anxiety is something that exists in everyone’s life to a certain extent, and in a way it is medically known to be helpful as well. Because, anxiety helps us stay alert and be reactive to our circumstances, whether joyful or painful. However, when the anxiety reaches the stage where it overwhelms you mentally and physically, and affects your normal routine of life, you need the help of a clinical psychologist. Read more

It is never to late to go to therapy

We define the goals and objectives of the counselling sessions in a very transparent manner to help patients overcome their problems quickly and effectively, and get the new lease of life they came looking for. We work with the patient as per their schedule, to fix an appointment that is mutually agreeable. We help you embrace life, the way it is meant to be. Read more

Put yourself on the first place

Individual treatment is often termed as psychotherapy, and is meant to help people with their emotional issues, which can range in order of their severity or intensity. The main aim of this form of therapy is to change the quality of life by defining the path of life clearly, and bringing in more clarity. Whether it is the problem of repressed childhood that you are facing, or an emotional breakdown due to divorce, failure or loss of a loved one, a professional psychologist can help you revive your mental health through systematic counselling. Read more

Anxiety treatment for better tomorrow

Anxiety is something that exists in everyone’s life to a certain extent, and in a way it is medically known to be helpful as well. Because, anxiety helps us stay alert and be reactive to our circumstances, whether joyful or painful. However, when the anxiety reaches the stage where it overwhelms you mentally and physically, and affects your normal routine of life, you need the help of a clinical psychologist. Read more

Don’t be embarrassed to go on couples therapy

We define the treatment path in couples therapy after patiently listening and carefully understanding the problems couple is facing. Our practical and scientific approach, while balancing and weighing the emotions at stake, helps us bring in the much needed transparency and attachment among the partners. It definitively helps in doing the right thing, and taking the right decision, not only for the relationship, but personally as well. Read more
Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a principle developed by the psychologist B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), who was responsible for a philosophy …

How to get a good nights sleep?

  Some might sadly say that in today’s hectic world that sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity.  I …

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A clinical perspective on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions can be described as being those distressing thoughts, …