Providing psychological treatment for adults with:
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What can you expect?
Feeling down and flat, hopeless, lacking energy and motivation, & post natal depression. Learn More
Health and Illness Anxiety
Excessive Worrying and Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- avoiding social situations (work events, parties) which could be of benefit to you
- not contributing or asserting yourself at work, which may limit career progression
- avoiding parts of your job role
- spending long periods worrying about social situations and analysing them afterwards, and
- not being able to go on dates or form friendships, due to feeling too anxious.
When people feel very anxious about a social situation it is very common for them to worry about the situation days or weeks before it happens. On the day they may procrastinate about getting ready, perhaps changing their outfit many times, or they may try to avoid the situation thinking up excuses why they can not attend. During the social situation, strong thoughts of being judged negatively are present, thoughts like ‘he is thinking I am an idiot, I am too quiet- they are wondering why I am not saying anything, I am going to say something stupid, why can’t I think of something to say, they are noticing that I am shaking and blushing and that is so embarrassing – this is a normal situation what is wrong with me?’ ‘I need to be interesting and engaging’ ‘I sound like an idiot’. During the social situation, physical sensations are often experienced, such as: tightness in the chest, feeling hot, butterflies in the stomach, palpitations and a shaky voice. These situations feel so awful that people with social anxiety find different ways of coping with them where they are trying to feel safe. Some common safety behaviours include: avoiding talking, looking at the ground, leaving the situation, drinking lots of water, fidgeting, and looking at the exits. Social anxieties can be particularly difficult to talk about where people can feel embarrassed, ashamed or alone with them, however it is important to remember that social anxieties are very normal. Most of us have fears of being judged negatively and we all have vulnerabilities. MindFrame Psychologists are very accustomed to helping people with social anxiety and offer a non-judgemental approach. MindFrame Psychologists offer you Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which has found to be the most effective psychological treatment for Social Anxiety. This therapy will help you change your unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. We will work with you on your individualised treatment plan to achieve your goals so that you can feel more comfortable and confident in social situations empowering you to lead a better quality of life.
Body Image Difficulties
Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD)
People who have Body Dysmorphic Disorder are constantly worried about the way they look and are obsessively preoccupied with real or perceived flaws in their appearance. People with BDD commonly find flaws with their hair, skin, nose and chest, however they can focus on any body part. The perceived defect may be a very small imperfection or it may be imagined, however for the person with BDD it is very significant and causes them great emotional distress. It becomes the focus of their life. The severity of BDD varies – some may know that their feelings are not entirely rational, whilst others are entirely set in their convictions. Some people are able to work and function despite their BDD, others may struggle to leave their house because of it.
Symptoms: People with BDD find it extremely difficult to control their negative thoughts and perform compulsive or repetitive behaviours to hide or improve their perceived imperfections. These behaviours include hiding their body with hats, using make up, clothing, or sitting in certain body positions in an attempt to conceal the imperfection. They may engage in excessive grooming, mirror checking, and frequently undergo cosmetic surgery. They may find themselves constantly comparing their body part to others, and may seek reassurance from others, but they do not believe other people’s reassurances. Furthermore, they may engage in skin picking or excessive exercise. These behaviours only give temporary relief, and serve to keep the obsessional thoughts going. Impact: Due to the obsessional nature of the thoughts, people with BDD can find it difficult to maintain normal daily functioning. They may miss work or school, and withdraw socially because they fear others will notice and judge their flaws. BDD can be linked with low self-esteem, and often significant embarrassment and shame is experienced. It is common for people with BDD to experience other mental health problems including: Depression, Social Anxiety, Eating Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Causes: A number of factors may contribute to the development of BDD. It may be due to chemical imbalances in the brain, and some people are predisposed to this due to their genetic make-up. There are environmental factors including western society’s narrow standards of beauty. Life experiences including trauma and personality characteristics of perfectionism and low self-esteem can contribute to BDD. Certain drugs (e.g. ecstasy) can trigger the onset in vulnerable people.
Treatment: There are effective treatments for BDD. Anti-depressant medications including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help relieve the obsessive and compulsive symptoms of BDD. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective for treating BDD. This therapy focuses on ways of changing thoughts and behaviours in order to think and feel in different ways. Mindframe Psychologists are trained in CBT, and would be very happy to work with you if you are experiencing BDD. It can be a debilitating disorder, but it can be treated to help you live a full and happy life again. Feel free to make an appointment now to find out more.
It is not uncommon for people to pick their skin on occasions, perhaps picking pimples or scabs. However, for some people, skin picking is much more severe, frequent and problematic. This is when people have skin picking disorder, also known as excoriation disorder and dermatitillomania. Skin picking disorder involves the repetitive picking, rubbing or scratching of skin. Some people with skin picking disorder pick without being aware they are doing it, which is known as automatic picking behaviour. They may engage in this behaviour while: watching TV, reading or studying and may describe it as being in trance. People who have skin picking disorder may pick skin from one or various parts of the body. Commonly skin can be picked on the face, head, back, arms, legs, feet and hands including nail cuticles. Often people use their fingers or finger nails to pick, but they may also bite, or use tweezers or scissors. After picking, some people remove the skin and put it in the bin, and others may eat the skin.
Skin picking disorder can be classified as a type of obsessive compulsive disorder. People may have thoughts that they have an imperfection either, on or underneath, their skin, and there is a corresponding urge to remove the imperfection by picking the skin. While acting on the impulse by picking, people may feel relief, however this is usually short lived, and followed by feelings of guilt and shame. People may engage in this focused picking behaviour to avoid intense emotions, or to relieve difficult emotions including: sadness, worry or stress. Often people with skin picking disorders have other psychological problems including depression and anxiety.
Effects of Skin Picking Disorder: People who engage in skin picking may experience pain during or after picking. It can lead to the occurrence of sores, scars and disfigurement. In some cases, medical attention is needed to treat infections and wounds. It is common for people with skin picking disorder to feel a loss of control, embarrassment and shame regarding their behaviours. They may attempt to hide the evidence of the skin picking using bandages, clothing and make up. The pre-occupation with picking can make it difficult for people to work, or socialise optimally, and it can lead to social isolation. Frequently, they have tried to decrease or stop these distressing behaviours, and consequently can feel hopeless and ashamed that they have managed to stop it.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be effective treatment for skin picking disorders, and there are also some medications that can help. MindFrame Psychologists are highly trained in CBT and can help you if you are struggling with skin picking.