Helen Maharaj BABCP Accredited CBT Therapist / EMDR / Couple Therapy
The Southdown Clinic
136A Southdown Road
I am Helen Maharaj a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist who helps people build their self confidence and overcome depression and break free from anxiety.
I provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Integrative Couple Therapy for Depression, and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
As an experienced and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, I enjoy empowering people to achieve their goals.
I am passionate about supporting people to learn ways of coping with their experiences and overcome problems.
While following the latest research evidence, I am able to adapt therapy to you, as I understand that each person is an individual who requires a tailored approach.
I provide Therapy in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. My aim is to help you improve your self confidence, achieve your goals and live the life you want. This includes helping recover from problems such as:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) & Worry
- Panic attacks & Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety
- Health Anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic Births
- Car Accidents
- and more
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Low Self-Esteem
- Low Self-Confidence
- Insomnia and sleeping problems
- Compulsive Hoarding
- Postnatal Depression
Appointments are available face to face in Harpenden, on the telephone and by Skype.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short term (usually 6-12 weekly sessions), evidence based form of talking therapy.
CBT works on the idea that the way you think and what you do affects the way you feel.
Thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical sensations are all connected and influenced by the situation we are in.
As a CBT Therapist I will help you make small changes to your thoughts and behaviours, which in turn will affect your emotions. Changing one area will lead to a change in the other areas.
A key aim of treatment in CBT is to teach you to become your own therapist and independently maintain your wellbeing. We will do this by working together to plan tasks for you to do between the sessions. Such as writing down your thoughts, testing your fears and trying out new things to work towards your goals.
If you were learning to play the piano and had weekly lessons, you would be asked to practice your skills between lessons. CBT is similar in that you are training your brain to think differently. Expect to be doing something in relation to your therapy most days a week.
CBT is different from some traditional forms of talking therapies in a few ways. In CBT we will focus on the here and now, to see what is keeping your problems going. While we will talk about the past, this will be used to understand how it is influencing your current problems.
If you had fallen into a hole it would be better to first get out of the hole rather than to spend your time analysing how you got down there. Once you are out of the hole you can work on not falling in again.
Research shows CBT is effective for many mental health problems and is recommended by the NHS for problems including depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, OCD and PTSD.
Your first appointment will be a chance for us to discuss your current difficulties and your expectations for treatment. I may also ask you to complete some questionnaires to help us measure the symptoms you are experiencing.
Together we will use this information to develop a formulation. This is a shared understanding of where your problems started and most importantly what keeps the problems going. Then we will use this formulation and your goals as a road map, to accurately plan interventions and tailor treatment to you as an individual.
In each appointment we will discuss steps you can take to feel better by changing the thoughts and behaviours that keep your problems going.
Treatment is usually between 6 and 20 sessions, at first this will be weekly then spread out to fortnightly then monthly as needed.
In your final sessions we will develop a plan so you can continue to maintain the benefits of therapy.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. It is especially helpful for people experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sessions last between 60-90 minutes and overall therapy can be as short as 4 or 5 sessions up to 20 sessions depending on the type of problems being worked on.
What is Integrative Couple Therapy for Depression?
Depression and relationship problems often come hand in hand. In this therapy you and your partner will attend together. We will understand how the patterns in your relationship are keeping the problem going. Then you will work together to change these patterns.
Contact me to arrange your free initial telephone consultation to discuss if which therapy is right for you. In this 15-20 minute call you can also ask any questions you have about therapy and what therapy will involve. Contact me now by phone or email.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am a fully accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology where I learnt the underlying psychological theories of mental health and human behaviour. Following this I completed a PgCert in Mental Health to use CBT to help people with milder symptoms of depression and anxiety. Then following gaining experience in that, I have completed a PgDip in CBT during which I learnt advanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques from national and international experts. I have completed Parts 1 & 2 of EMDR Training. I have trained at Tavistock Relationships to provide Integrative Couple Therapy. While I have been qualified for many years I recognise the importance of continually building my knowledge and experience as detailed at the end of this section.
Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Royal Holloway, University of London
Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health (Primary Care) - University of Hertfordshire
BSc Hons Psychology - University College Northampton
EMDR Part 1 and Part 2 - EMDR Works
- Couple Therapy for Depression - Tavistock Relationships
I have worked in the NHS for many years. Gaining experience as a High-Intensity CBT Therapist, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Supervisor and Line Manager within busy psychological therapies services in Hertfordshire, London and Bedfordshire.
I have experience using CBT to help people experiencing common and complex mental health and physical health problems.
This includes depression, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, low self-esteem, perfectionism, OCD, PTSD, chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome. As well as, slightly less common difficulties, such as excoriation disorder (skin picking), compulsive hoarding, and blood injury phobia.
I have experience providing CBT to individuals in person, over the telephone, on video chat (Skype) and in running group settings.
Through my NHS work, I have been involved as a therapist in the RAPID research trial which is investigating innovative CBT based treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
As part of this trial I have received in-depth training and supervision from the PTSD experts at the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, and from experts at the University of Cardiff.
Academic and Teaching Experience:
As well as practising as a therapist I have worked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey.
My main role was training Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners to assess and treat people experiencing depression and anxiety, using a low-intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach on the Advanced Practice in Psychological Wellbeing Course. This course is part of the government's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative.
Furthermore, I have taught Practitioners, Therapists and Psychologists on the IAPT supervision programme. As well as teaching other mental health related modules to therapists, mental health nurses and other healthcare professionals.
As well as individual therapy I now provide bespoke training in CBT and mental health to individuals and services.
In addition to the qualifications listed above, I attend regular workshops and conferences run by national and international experts in CBT. Recent topics have included:
- An Introduction to CBT Supervision with Helen Kennerley
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder with Professor Paul Salkovskis
- Cognitive approaches to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- CBT Boot Camp 2.0 with world leading CBT expert Dr Christine Padesky
- Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Exposure and Response Prevention for Tics and Tourette Syndrome
- Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT)
- Solution Focused Brief Therapy
- Supervision of low intensity and high-intensity therapists
While I am trained, qualified and experienced I know that you are the expert on your own life. Therefore in my practice I seek to bring these together so we can work collaboratively and help you overcome your difficulties.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Carer support
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Feeling sad
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
Other areas of counselling I deal with
- Health Anxiety
Photos & videos
Initial telephone consultation lasting 15-20 minutes Free
Face to face
CBT Therapy Session lasting 50 minutes £80-£100
EMDR Session - Price available on request
Couple Therapy - Price available on request
Telephone and Skype
CBT Therapy Session lasting 50 minutes £70-£90
Supervision, Training and Consultation
Costs available on request
Payment is accepted by cash, cheques and bank transfer.
For much more information about my practice visit the website in the top of this profile.
I work with adults aged 18 and over.
Contact me to arrange your free 15-20 minute initial telephone consultation to discuss how CBT can help you.
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Face to face appointments are available evenings and afternoons. Telephone and Skype appointments are available evening, afternoon and during the day.
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|
Supervision & training
Clinicians practicing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are required to have regular supervision with an appropriately qualified and experienced supervisor.