Around 1% of the world’s population may experience psychosis or a psychotic episode at one point in their lives.

Hi my name is Sam.  I just wanted to introduce myself as the newest member of the Heswall Hills Counselling Centre team.  I am a chartered clinical psychologist and am very passionate about my work.  I work with many mental health difficulties including anxiety and depression.  I currently support people experiencing a first episode psychosis in the NHS, including those diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and personality difficulties.

What is a first episode psychosis?

Around 1% of the world’s population may experience a psychotic episode at one point in their lives.  Psychosis is a mental health problem, often involving voice-hearing experiences, persecutory beliefs and racing thoughts.  Psychosis can involve a detachment from reality for some people.  If it is detected and treated early enough, clients can make a full recovery.

What causes psychosis?

Medics often believe that a dysfunction in ‘brain chemistry’ causes clients to hear ‘voices’ or become extremely paranoid.  Although there may be some truth in this theory, evidence suggests it is childhood adversity and subsequent additional traumatic events that are the main causal factors to the development of a psychotic episode.

 How can therapy help?

The first line of treatment in the UK and most other countries is medical.  NICE guidelines also recommend, in addition to medicine, a very popular therapy called cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to help clients challenge their belief systems and overcome their distress.  As the links between trauma and psychosis are very strong, many of my clients undertake trauma-focused CBT when their psychotic symptoms have passed to try to understand their distress and how it came about.  My reward as a therapist comes when my clients tell me they are no longer distressed when they hear a ‘voice’ or see something unusual, due to having new beliefs about the experience and being able to alleviate their distress themselves.

In my current private work, I work with trauma but also personality and interpersonal difficulties. I am very happy to support anyone with depression or anxiety too, including OCD, health anxiety and social anxiety.  CBT is highly effective in alleviating anxiety and depression.  I also use a further therapy for depression, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).  I regularly use mindfulness to alleviate distress and compassion-focused therapy (CFT) for self-criticism and shame-based difficulties.

If you are feeling distressed or anxious, contact me at the centre and I will do my best to help.  I can normally see you within the week for assessment and then we can decide on the way forward.

if you would like to get in contact with Dr Samantha Fitzpatrick or any of the other therapists work from Heswall Hills Counselling Centre please get in touch,