• WomenintheNHS

Viv Ford, Psychological Therapist, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Different therapies to tackle trauma and depression, and how the pandemic has affected the relationship between therapist and client

Viv Ford is a Psychological Therapist in the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. She started her career as a forensic nurse in a secure unit, where she worked with complicated trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia cases to assess the risk of patients being reintegrated into society. Motivated by her passion to fully understand and help people, Viv decided to train as a CBT Therapist.


"Because of lockdown, people are more aware of domestic violence and we see people that have fled, or that want to flee."

A typical week consists of new client assessments and one-on-one therapy sessions. “We look at how people function in response to anxiety or depression. A lot of people suffer from trauma. Because of lockdown, people are more aware of domestic violence and we see people that have fled, or that want to flee.” The treatment Viv provides is mainly related to CBT therapy. “I offer Cognitive behavioural therapy for people with anxiety disorders, excessive worry or trauma.” She currently sees around twelve people a week.


"Eye Movement and Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)...sets off an adaptive information process, affecting the way memories are stored and processed in the brain. It can then spur emotional change."

As well as CBT therapy, Viv also practises Eye Movement and Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR). Originally pioneered by Francine Shapiro in the 1980s, EMDR is a treatment available for people who have experienced trauma. The treatment uses bilateral stimulation, typically eye movements — as in the normal movements we make during REM sleep — which allows people to process intrusive traumatic memories. “We help them do the same kind of bilateral movements while they’re awake, as they focus on their traumatic memories. For example, they might tap from one leg to the other. The technique sets off an adaptive information process, affecting the way memories are stored and processed in the brain. It can then spur emotional change.”


"We ask people to make sure their kids are out but you can’t expect that. People are more guarded and it’s difficult to have the same quality of relationship."

The pandemic has affected therapy in different ways. “The emotional consequences on people are significant, including increased intolerance of uncertainty and a rise in panic and agoraphobia, as well as depression due to loss.” Like many, now Viv works from home, providing therapy sessions remotely. “Nuances that are there in a face-to-face session are lost. I often get breaks in the internet connection at critical points, which can be disappointing because you miss something and have to go back.” Before the pandemic, when clients attended therapy sessions in person, confidentiality was guaranteed. “It’s not like that anymore. We ask people to make sure their kids are out but you can’t expect that. People are more guarded and it’s difficult to have the same quality of relationship.”


"In our service, all the top-level managers are women.”

Viv notes that women tend to be predominant in therapy. “Women relate to each other in a special way. We get proportionately more females that want therapy. And in our service, all the top-level managers are women.” #womeninthenhs #nhsheroes #nhsuk



 

Genevieve Shaw, editor

g.shaw@womeninthenhs.co.uk