Vrinda Sharma Integrative psychotherapist ,


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My approach

I use an integrative approach in therapy, using a variety of techniques to suit the needs of individual clients.

My working model ranges from Solution-Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to mindfulness meditation. I enable clients identify their blind spots, helping them gain new perspective on their problems in order to reach their potential.

The basic principle of CBT is that it is not difficult situations themselves which cause difficult emotions and unhelpful behaviour, but rather it is our interpretation and thoughts about  situations that lead to difficult emotions (and behaviour). I would thus work with the client to help them evaluate whether their thoughts and beliefs about an event are accurate. This can lead to powerful shifts in the client's emotions. CBT also involves working on physiology and behavioural patterns. So for instance, for clients experiencing anxiety, I often teach anxiety reduction techniques (such as progressive muscle relaxation) in the course of the session itself and encourage clients to practice such techniques in between sessions.
 
As an integrative therapist, I also use techniques from modalities such as Solution Focused Therapy, which focus on identifying a client's existing strengths and resources, or strengths which they may have used in the past, and to use and build on such strengths and resources.
 
I also use mindfulness-based approach as part of therapy if helpful. I have practiced mindfulness meditation for several years, and been on several retreats.
 
My style of working is very collaborative, so the client and I jointly decide which modalities may be worth trying, and we would continuously evaluate them for effectiveness.
 

Areas of expertise

I have extensive experience of helping clients with issues such as work related anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, depression, family issues, bereavement, addiction, depression, life transitions, interpersonal relationship issues, work related stress & separation and divorce.

My background

I initially studied law at university and a BCL and MPhil in law from the University of Oxford. My legal career began at the law firm Slaughter and May, where I gained first-hand experience of the extreme pressures and anxiety that can come with working at one of the top corporate law firms in the UK.

My experience prompted me to research latest theories in psychology and neuroscience, which inspired me to enrol in a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of East London. I now support people from a wide variety of backgrounds, in navigating psychological challenges in their work and personal life.

Other details

I abide by the ethical framework of the BACP, am committed to my Continuous Professional Development and am subject to supervision.

My practice is located in Islington, London. I also offer Skype or FaceTime sessions.

Please feel free to contact me to arrange a complimentary 20 minute initial consultation for further details.

I HAVE SET OUT BELOW CERTAIN ARTICLES PUBLISHED BY ME ON TOPICS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST.

ARTICLES AND RESOURCES (© VRINDA SHARMA)

MANAGING ANXIETY IN THE SHORT TERM

Why do we experience anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural reaction to perceived threat. A bit of anxiety and stress can be useful- they can prepare us for action and help us perform better. However, when anxiety levels exceed a certain threshold, it can be very distressing and prevent us from engaging with a situation in an optimal way.

Some people might inherit a genetic tendency to be more anxious than others. Adverse childhood experiences, such as  trauma, abuse, or neglect have also been strongly linked to anxiety. 

Techniques for managing anxiety

We can experience anxiety cognitively (e.g. racing thoughts), physiologically (e.g. shortness of breath) or behaviourally (e.g. escaping from the perceived threat). Thus it follows that in order to tackle anxiety, we can address our thoughts, physiology or behaviour.

Some of the following techniques can help address the immediate physiological distress of anxiety. If practiced regularly, they weaken the anxiety pathways of our brain and body so that we respond to perceived threats in more adaptive ways.

i.  Grounding: Grounding is the first tool which can help in the moment as we are experiencing anxiety. Grounding is about finding safety and connection in the present moment. Essentially, grounding is about connecting to the body. For instance, if you are experiencing anxiety at work in an office, feel your feet under the desk. See if you can connect to the sensations of your feet making contact with the floor, or the feeling of your skin against your shoes. Alternatively, try to make your out-breath long, slow and gentle. Slow down your breathing with special attention to the out-breath. Another grounding technique is to slowly turn your head to take in the space around you- notice things you can focus your eyes on in the immediate vicinity. Try again, more slowly. Doing this reduces the body’s anxiety response.

ii. H.A.L.T: “HALT” is an acronym for Hungry/Angry/Lonely/Tired. Regardless of the complex forces acting within us, we have to satisfy our fundamental human needs. When feeling anxious, check whether you may be hungry, angry, lonely or tired. See if you can satisfy the simple needs for food, connection or rest. The connection or rest you may need to quell your anxiety does not have to be long drawn out or extensive. We can fulfil our immediate need for connection with something as simple as a casual chat with a sympathetic co-worker or friend about our weekend. A short walk (ideally in or around nature) can be deeply restorative and can slow our nervous system down.

iii.  Mindfulness of the body: This is a tried and tested technique for lessening anxiety, used by psychotherapists and mindfulness practitioners. When you feel anxious, note the nuances and details of the sensations inside you. Try asking yourself “where do I feel that in my body right now?” and not “why do I feel anxious?”. Keep noticing the most pressing physical feelings in the body, without getting caught up in thoughts about those sensations. If your mind races off, very gently bring your attention back to the physical sensations. The physical sensations may shift and change as you notice them, keep your attention on the pure sensations for a few minutes until you feel better.

 iv. Mindfulness of thoughts: Notice the thoughts that you are experiencing while feeling anxious. Note them down, either using pen and paper or an app. The thoughts in question are the rapid, spontaneous thoughts that you may not be aware of until you consciously try to identify them. Remember that thoughts are merely thoughts, not reality. If you are full of catastrophic thoughts, explore them but do not trust them. Know that your primitive brain is mistakenly predicting life or death type worst case scenarios. Anxiety is an over-protective feeling. Have compassion towards the cautious, fearful parts of you, but do not feed the flames. Become aware of your inner critic without necessarily believing it.

 

In addition, we could choose to explore the underlying issues that may be causing our anxiety, through psychotherapy or otherwise. But in the meantime these techniques can form a toolkit of immediate responses to alleviate our distress and bring our anxiety down to manageable levels.

 

Training and qualifications

Member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)

PG Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy, University of East London

BCL, MPhil (law) University of Oxford

 

 

Fees

£60 per 50-minute session.

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