The Emotional Health Service offers a few different evidence-based therapeutic interventions:
- Group work
- Art psychotherapy
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
- Systemic Family Therapy
- IPT-A (Interpersonal Psychotherapy)
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming)
The different kinds of intervention that may be suitable for you will be discussed in your appointments. We aim to always make shared decisions with our clients so your options will always be explained with you and you will always have a say in what intervention you choose to take part in.
Online Anxiety Groups for young people
We offer a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Online group for young people aged between 12 to 14 years and a group for young people aged 15 to 18 years who are experiencing difficulties with anxiety (social and generalised anxiety). The groups are facilitated by two members of our team and there will roughly be 6 to 8 young people per group. The groups are 6 sessions, with an additional 1-1 introductory session with a facilitator, a 1-1 session mid-way through the group and a 1-1 follow up session after the group. The groups cover psychoeducation, thinking styles, thought challenging, practice tasks and problem solving. There will also be some emotion regulation and relaxation strategies included throughout. The sessions will be interactive, with activities to get the young people to practically apply the strategies. We would encourage young people to contribute to the sessions but it is not about divulging personal information. There is often a misconception about group work being like a “support group” where people discuss their problems. Whilst we will be tackling problems, we will be focusing on solutions and strategies that the young people can utilise to help them tackle their anxiety. We would encourage the young people to practice what they have learnt in between the sessions.
Online Low Mood Group for young people
The online low mood group uses the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach. Its aim is to offer young people aged 15 to 18 years, psychoeducation on understanding low mood and depression and develop skills and strategies on managing the impact of low mood on their well-being and everyday life. The aim is for young people to be able to use these skills and practice them on their own and be able to manage their difficulties independently using the material we share with them in between sessions.
This group is for 6 to 8 young people presenting with similar difficulties and it’s a safe space to share their thoughts and experiences on subjects we discuss. The group runs on a weekly basis for 6 sessions online (Google Meet) that last between 60 to 90 minutes. During these sessions we introduce young people to the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the impact of low mood on thinking and behavioural patterns as well as the body’s responses to low mood and ways to self-sooth. We also look at using the relationships around the young person and appropriate ways to seek help as well as creating a staying well plan.
In addition, young people participating in this group will be offered 3 one to one sessions with one of the group facilitators in regular intervals; once before the start of the group, halfway through the group and at the end of the group to get feedback from them and respond to their needs.
Online group for Parents of Anxious Primary Aged Children
The group for parents of anxious primary aged children is offered to parents whose children experience mild-moderate anxiety. It follows a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) model along with evidence based ideas for the whole family system. The group presents the same content that would be experienced in individual CBT sessions, but with the added benefit of receiving support and being able to learn from parents in similar situations. Both research and the clinical experience of our team have shown that offering CBT via parents can often be as effective, if not more so than working individually with children.
The group lasts 8 weeks in total and involves a combination of receiving material provided by EHS in the format of a pre-recorded presentation, and live online sessions attended by two therapists and other group members. Parents will be expected to read and listen to the material at their leisure each week, with a fortnightly task set at the end of the presentation. The material guides parents through a number of CBT techniques and skills, with each task setting an achievable goal to try out the new learning with children. The live sessions then provide an opportunity to review how the work is going and problem solve any difficulties using the strategies.
No existing knowledge of CBT is required prior to attending the group, and parents are supported by an allocated clinician throughout. Two further individual sessions are offered at the end of the group, as a chance for parents to discuss any ongoing concerns or difficulties in applying the strategies, with their allocated clinician.
Art psychotherapy is an accessible and inclusive form of therapy that works by offering a safe and confidential space where young people can explore their thoughts, emotions and relationships through pictures and words. Children and young people referred to an art psychotherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in art. In art therapy the therapist is not concerned with making a beautiful or ‘good’ image.
We celebrate creativity and enjoy the sensory process of art making which can be a playful way of starting communication and building relationships and trust.
The Art Psychotherapy model is non-directive. This means that the child and young person are given a lot of control in how they want to run the session but are guided and kept safe by the therapist. This can help develop a sense of freedom as well as self-control and confidence.
Art psychotherapy is not dependent on spoken language and can therefore be helpful to anyone who finds it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings verbally. In the Emotional Health Service children/young people can be referred to the art therapy group, be seen on an individual basis or with their parent/carer. This is depends on what works best for them.
IPT-A is a form of therapy for adolescents who have depression. IPT-A helps you make sense of the difficulties you are experiencing by looking at how your relationships with others is affecting you. We can sometimes feel low in response to what is going on in our relationships whilst others find that their relationships can become more difficult when they are feeling low, as they can lose interest in people. IPT-A will help you make sense of the difficulties you are experiencing by helping you understand how your relationships contribute to your mood. In helping you to resolve the difficulties that you have with others, we expect your mood and interest in things to improve.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a talking therapy. It has been shown to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. CBT looks at how we think about a situation and how this affects the way we feel and act. In turn our actions can affect how we think and feel. The therapist and young person work together in changing behaviours, thought patterns, or both.
Behavioural work is helpful if you display distressing or upsetting behaviours when you are upset. For instance, hitting out at other people. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know why you act in this way so it can be helpful to meet with a psychologist to think about the function of this behaviour. Once this has been identified, this understanding can be shared with other people (parents or perhaps school) so that they can understand you better too and all work together to come up with some solutions about what to do to help.
Systemic Family Therapy
Family Therapy helps people in close relationships to help each other. It is a way to help family members to understand each other’s different experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.
Research shows Family Therapy is useful for children, young people and adults experiencing a wide range of difficulties and circumstances. These include:
- Family communication difficulties,
- Child and adolescent behaviour difficulties and
- Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and eating difficulties.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming. It is an evidence-based intervention and is one of the treatments which is recommended in NICE Guidelines, for the treatment of trauma. When one experiences traumatic events the thoughts, feelings and memories from it can become difficult to move forward from. With EMDR, the aim is to help the brain process difficult and distressing memories, thus reducing the influence it has and can allow a person to develop effective ways to move forward with their lives.
In treatment, you are supported by your therapist to recall a traumatic event and at the same time receive bilateral stimulation. This means receiving stimuli in a rhythmic left-right pattern. This can be something you can hear, see or feel. For example, moving your eyes from side to side, tapping movements to the left and right side of the body or noises alternating between your left and right ear.
At the start of treatment your therapist will support you to imagine a safe, calm or protected space and combine this with bilateral stimulation. This is a helpful way to become familiar with the process and in supporting you with feeling comfortable to process the trauma that has been experienced.
You might find it helpful to watch this short animation:
Video courtesy of the EMDR Association UK