About Ann

It seems important at the outset to elucidate how I got here; writing about myself on this webpage. I hope that this account might help you to make your decision about choosing the most appropriate psychological therapist for your needs. This is my second occupation as I decided to change my professional career in business to become a Counselling Psychologist in my thirties. This change was prompted by a nagging, enduring curiosity about the perplexing question, ‘What makes a human being’?

Let me tell you about some of the main influences that have shaped my development as a Counselling Psychologist. The history of psychoanalysis and more recently a psychodynamic understanding of human distress, are particularly important to me, with an emphasis on relational dynamics. Through my training and professional career as a psychologist I have also developed a special interest in developmental psychology, attachment theory and neuroscience which helps me to better understand what factors are important is understanding myself and others. In particular these interests help me to engage with the major debate about how nature and nurture interact to mould the biology of our psychological and emotional well-being at any point in time. This leads me to the perspective, that I take in my personal and professional life, that our emotional wellbeing is an embodied-state-of-being, to include the mind and the body, which are not separate or split, but must be integrated, explored and nurtured as central part of our endeavours to maintain a ‘healthy-state-of-being’.

Specifically, I embrace the understanding that development matters and that our development takes place across the lifespan. Developments in neuroscience, especially the concept of neuroplasticity (captures the mutability of the brain), provide me with a lot of hope about the work I do and that through psychological therapy we can shift the process of how we engage with the world at a fundamental level, including shifts in our biology. My understanding of this research is that neural connections, activity in the brain and levels of neurochemicals are some of the fluid processes that are constantly changing in response to our experience of the world. In short, experience, development and personality are important, but are dynamic rather than fixed notions.

My approach to psychological therapy is to take a relational (social emotional) understanding of human distress with the premise that the ‘illness’ is not placed within the individual mind, but within the relational and social context of the individual’s life story, namely a complex tapestry of past, present and future intersubjective experiences. In the session I take a mentalization approach to therapy which is an active, explicit, collaborative, non-directive and experiential stance. Using this approach, I explore the interpersonal context of the self and other, while maintaining a focus on the individual’s subjective experience.

The evidence base for Mentalization Based Therapy is rapidly expanding beyond its inception within the specialist field of personality disorders. There is currently extensive clinical research and clinical anecdotal evidence to indicate that it is an effective approach for a broad range of presentations, including depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, post-natal depression, anger management, substance misuse, emotional regulation and working with adolescents and families.

Qualifications

  • PsychD Psychotherapeutic & Counselling Psychology, University of Surrey, 2009
  • Counselling Skills Cert, National University of Ireland Maynooth, 2005
  • BSc in Psychology, Oxford Brookes University, 2002

I’m a Counselling Psychologist with almost 10 years work experience (training and post qualification) with the NHS, in secondary care mental health services. I currently work with a specialist community mental health service for patients with a diagnosis of a personality disorder. I have previously worked with a community based mental health team at the Maudsley Hospital in London and two sexual health clinics in Surrey.

In my current role, I am acting lead for a specialist intensive longer-term psychological therapy programme for patients with long-term emotional, relational and behavioural instabilities, which tend to start in late childhood and early adolescence. I work as part of a professional healthcare multidisciplinary team to help patients to formulate a psychological understanding of their longstanding difficulties, reduce risk factors, to include suicidal ideation and self-harm and create a shift in their mentalizing process in current relationships and daily life.

What I Treat

What I treat can only be understood within the context of what I say above about me! My work is focussed on the ‘here and now’ of the patient’s life, where I help the patient to understand and better manage a range of current issues, including anxiety, depression, relationship and emotional difficulties, stress, self-harm, substance misuse, trauma, behavioural instabilities, sexual health and psychosexual relationship problems.

I take an unstructured, experiential, active, non-directive, relational approach to my contact with patients, using the therapeutic relationship/alliance to inform the interventions used.

Professional Accreditation and Affiliation

I am a Registered Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council who are responsible for the statutory regulation of the profession. My registration number is PYL15408 which can be found on the public register at www.hcpc.org.uk.

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I am also a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society. This professional organisation has a longstanding record of providing guidance and support on best practice, research updates, ethical guidelines, training opportunities etc. My registration number is 099029 where my details are available on the public register at www.bps.org.uk.

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Useful information

Fees

  • Session Fee £110 (50 minute individual session)
  • Written feedback is available on request and charged separately
  • Couple Rate £120 per session
  • Family consultation work negotiable depending on specific requirements

On requesting an appointment via our online booking system, the practitioner may well call you to confirm details before you  meet. This initial telephone discussion of up to 10 minutes is free of charge, and is designed to  confirm that it is indeed appropriate to proceed to a full consultation and is not designed to replace a consultation.

Terms and conditions, including payment and cancellation policy (48 hour notice), are discussed during first consultation.

I am available at the Eastgate Gardens clinic in Guildford on Wednesday and Friday by appointment.  Other times, including evenings and weekends, can be arranged.

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT WITH THIS PRACTITIONER

Email: afitzgerald@HealthcareOnDemand.org.uk

Telephone: 01483 33 88 50