I am an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (BABCP) and a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol, BPS). My speciality is working therapeutically with children and adolescents, but I am also interested to work with families and people of all ages. I have more than 25 years experience operating within a number of healthcare settings in East Sussex, such as Brighton & Hove CAMHS, Lewes Health in Mind, Chailey Heritage, The Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital, Brighton General Hospital, Sussex University, Home-Start East Sussex, IESO online therapy as well as private practice. Before commencing my training as a CBT therapist I worked as a research psychologist focusing on parent mental health during their transition to parenthood (see publications below), and before that as an Occupational Therapist.
My private therapy room is located in Kingston near Lewes, East Sussex, about 15 minutes drive from Brighton. Plenty of free parking is available outside.
- PhD Psychology (University of Sussex)
- MSc Health Psychology (University of Sussex)
- BSc Psychology (Open University)
- BSc Occupational Therapy (Stockholm University)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Therapy - CBT for Children & Young People (University of Sussex)
- Diploma in Person Centred Counselling (Sussex Downs College)
As part of my accreditation and ongoing professional development, I regularly attend workshops and master classes to enhance my skills and knowledge of CBT practice. Recent courses include: CBT with children and young people, CBT for complex PTSD, CBT for insomnia, CBT with children & families, Using metaphor and storytelling, DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), Using behavioural experiments in cognitive therapy, Working with low self-esteem, Behavioural activation for adolescents, Compassion focused therapy, ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy) for teens, Body dysmorphia, Helping anxious parents to raise confident children, Using CBT to work with social anxiety, Using CBT with traumatised children and young people , CBT for complex OCD.
I use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help my clients understand and cope with a wide range of difficult life experiences and mental health struggles. The CBT approach is based on the notion that our thoughts and beliefs, behaviours, and emotions are all interconnected. Therefore helping a person become aware of their unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours under difficult circumstances and instead finding more helpful ways to think and cope, can have a positive effect and make them feel better. The focus is more on what is happening now rather than exploring the past, although sometimes past experiences may need to be addressed.
CBT is an evidence-based approach recommended by NICE, https://www.nice.org.uk/ . It has been shown to be particularly effective for depression & low mood, low self-esteem and phobias, as well as a number of anxiety disorders such as OCD, social anxiety, health anxiety, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), PTSD and panic. CBT is a relatively short-term therapy, with the number of sessions typically ranging between 6 and 20 depending on the individual’s specific needs, goals and wishes. Each session lasts for 60 minutes.
I really enjoy working in a 'team' with each of my clients to tailor the therapy specifically for them. This could mean using other related approaches such as mindfulness, CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy), and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). As a client, you are involved in deciding what works best for you, and you always have the final say.
To achieve maximum benefit from CBT it is important to complete 'homework' between sessions. This involves practising the new skills that we cover during our session time and can include anything from noting down your thoughts, to going to the gym, or to seeing friends. For more information about CBT please visit www.babcp.com.
I am fully insured, DBS checked (enhanced), and I adhere to the codes and ethics of the BABCP (British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies).
I am the main author of the following academic papers:
Parfitt, Y., & Ayers, S. (2014). Transition to parenthood and mental health in first-time parents. Infant Mental Health Journal , 35 (3) , 1 - 10.
Parfitt, Y., Ayers, S., Pike, A., Jessop, D.C. , Ford, E. (2014). A prospective study of the parent-baby bond in men and women 15 months after birth. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 32 (5), 441 - 456
Parfitt, Y., Pike, A., Ayers, S. (2013). Infant Developmental Outcomes: A family systems perspective. Infant and Child Development, 23 (4), 353 – 373.
Parfitt, Y., Pike, A., Ayers, S. (2013). The impact of parents' mental health on parent-baby interaction: A prospective study. Infant Behavior and Development (36), 599 - 608
Parfitt, Y., & Ayers, S. (2012). Postnatal mental health and parenting: The importance of parental anger. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33 (4), 400 - 410.
Parfitt, Y. M., & Ayers, S. (2008). The effect of post-natal symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression on the couple's relationship and parent-baby bond. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 27 (2), 127 - 142.
In addition I have presented my research at international conferences in England, Wales, Italy and Germany. I am currently part of an international team of psychiatrists and psychologists who have jointly developed a comprehensive psychiatric interview (The Stafford Interview) which helps to identify and give support to women who are suffering from mental health difficulties during their transition to parenthood.