Dr Laura Onens HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologist
Introduction to my Services
Often taking the untrodden road can feel difficult, and this may reflect your feelings about starting therapy. Even scrolling through profiles to find the right therapist may feel like a challenging first step. Understandably, you may be feeling daunted about the prospect of confiding your thoughts and feelings. Alternatively, perhaps you are feeling uncertain and frustrated about having already had therapy but with limited progress.
Whatever your position, your courage to take that first step to contact me will be met with the greatest respect. Following an initial consultation to ensure therapy is suitable for your needs, you will receive a commitment from me to support you in making positive change in the shortest possible time.
My services are based at The Moat House in Sutton Coldfield. As a fully qualified clinical psychologist I offer consultation and therapy in a containing, comfortable and calming space in order to help you feel at ease. Additionally, you can choose to see me at your convenience online through a secure video link.
I am a recognised health care provider for a number of private health insurance companies including AXA PPP, Aviva, Vitality Health, Healix, Allianz Care etc.
You can book an appointment with me directly and instantly by visiting https://www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk or clicking the 'visit website button' above.
Why see a Clinical Psychologist?
Private therapy is an investment of your time and finances so you need to be sure you are employing a suitably qualified clinician. The term 'Clinical Psychologist' is a protected title (it is illegal to describe yourself as this unless you are a regulated doctor of clinical psychology). All clinical psychologists are trained and rigorously assessed through a competency based framework to provide evidence based psychological assessment and therapy across the lifespan. They also have extensive experience working in the NHS as part of their standard qualification. This includes a variety of specialist settings with different client groups including children, adults, older adults, people with learning disabilities and neurological conditions. By choosing to see a clinical psychologist you can be confident that your clinician possesses both breadth and depth of knowledge about a wide range of difficulties. A clinical psychologist is therefore expertly placed to make recommendations and offer therapy from a broadly and comprehensively informed perspective.
I believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from psychological therapy. Mental health doesn't discriminate, we are all susceptible to the possibility of facing personal difficulties at some point in our lives. Prioritising mental health and wellbeing shouldn't be a luxury, or indulgence. Investing time into your mental health is one of the most important things you could ever do. Sometimes we can often get swept up in the whirlwind, without capacity to identify the issues that may be 'keeping us stuck' in difficult patterns of relating to ourselves, others and/or our daily life. I believe in offering more than just a safe space to offload and talk. As a clinical psychologist I have been trained to support clients to move forwards with evidence based active psychotherapies. Assisting them to develop meaningful insight into their experiences and lifelong skills in coping with difficulties, ultimately working towards new permanent and positive change.
What will an initial consultation be like?
The process of the initial consultation will be collaborative, as we work to explore and make meaningful sense of your experiences and understand more about what may be contributing to emotional difficulties or limiting your capacity for growth and change.
Once we have established a shared understanding of your difficulties, I will be able to recommend appropriate support. On occasion, it may be the case that I identify that I am not best placed to help. Due to my extensive training I will be in a favourable position to be able to offer further advice or signpost you to where you will find most benefit.
Although as a clinical psychologist I am trained to work across the life span with a broad range of difficulties, I have benefited from additional training and pre/post-qualification experience in a number of specialist areas.
- Adult mental health (I have over a decade of experience working in NHS adult mental health services)
- Anxiety - I have specialist interest in working with generalised anxiety and also more specific types of anxiety e.g. phobias, health, social situations, performance, relational etc. This also includes symptoms that may manifest from repressed affect e.g. OCD, panic, cognitive difficulties, unexplained physical symptoms, dissociation, disordered eating, body dysmorphia, sexual dysfunction etc.
- Depression - Depression may be triggered by a specific event (e.g. a significant life change, role/identity change, bereavement, job loss) or sometimes it may be difficult to pinpoint the cause without the support of therapy. Depression goes beyond feeling sadness. It is an often debilitating emotional state where it is is incredibly difficult to stay aligned with the things in life you previously valued or enjoyed.
- Physical health - I have several years of NHS experience supporting people with both acute and long term health conditions (e.g. cancer, inherited conditions, stroke, diabetes, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, COPD, dermatological conditions).
- Chronic pain, or chronic fatigue including managing the difficulties of health issues such as Long Covid, or conditions with no adequate medical explanation.
- Family mental health. For example, coping with infertility, pre and post natal difficulties, maternal and paternal mental health. This may include attachment difficulties, where parents may experience difficulties relating to their own children as a result of experiences from their own childhoods.
- Low self esteem, shame, self-criticism, body image difficulties.
- Self harm and suicidal thoughts (please note that if clients are experiencing active suicidal intent a multi professional NHS team is likely to be more suitable than a privately practising independent psychologist).
- Relational difficulties, sometimes diagnosed as 'personality disorders'
- Trauma, which may be post traumatic stress from a recent event (e.g. birth, survivorship, cancer, a car accident, domestic abuse) or historical events (e.g. sexual abuse, neglect).
- Identity difficulties e.g. relating to gender, sexual orientation, immigration, heritage
- Difficulties within family systems/family conflict.
My Therapeutic Approach
As a psychologist, my aim is to do more than just be a listening ear. I am trained to help you to get to the absolute root of your difficulties and work actively to support you to experience permanent positive change and freedom. You will never be able to change history, but together we can change the way your mind consciously and unconsciously responds to what you may have experienced in your life, in the present moment. As every difficulty is as unique as the person experiencing it, I use an integrative therapeutic style that is founded on psychological approaches that I have benefited from training, experience or possess specialist interest. This allows me to tailor my approach to your need. I always base my practice around the latest research evidence.
I draw upon the following evidence based models:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Experiential Dynamic Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassionate Focussed Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focussed Therapy.
I have also received training from the Heartmath Institute to coach Heart Rate Variability biofeedback. This approach has a large scientific evidence base indicating its effectiveness as a non-pharmaceutical way to reduce the physical and psychological responses of threat-induced emotional states e.g. anxiety or anger. It can be extremely successful at supporting emotional regulation and synchronicity of the autonomic nervous system.
The Moat House, in the heart of Sutton Coldfield town centre has good links to the M6 and motorway network and public transport. If travelling by car, there is plentiful local parking with the closest car park being situated behind Sutton Coldfield Police Station/The Royal Hotel on Anchorage Road (a one minute walk to the clinic).
I am currently however only providing sessions by a remote video calling platform due to COVID-19 and the current high rate of infection. My fee has been reduced for a limited time by 10% for therapy by remote video calling. Positively the majority of my clients report favourably to seeing me online and therapeutic outcomes appear to have similar success to face to face contact. This positive experience is echoed in empirical evidence through scientific study, and a growing evidence base for online delivery of psychological services. Seeing your therapist online during the pandemic also has the advantage of no PPE, keeps you safe and others, more flexibility to see me during less sociable hours, easier access for individuals with difficulties attending a clinic, less risk of needing to cancel due to self-isolation, local lockdowns or shielding, therefore less disruption to your therapy with me.
Should you begin your therapy by video, you will be invited to clinic as soon as we reopen, or you can choose to stay online.
Please visit my website for further details and to book my next available appointment. www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk
Training, qualifications & experience
- BSc Psychology (2008) University of Leeds
- PgDip Clinical applications of psychology. University of Leicester
- Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy). University of Warwick
2012 British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology award winner for a project supporting patients with anxiety in an acute hospital setting.
Recent training attended:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (2020)
Adult and Child Safeguarding (2020)
Pain management programme (2020)
Information governance (2020)
I am regulated and subject to audit by the Health Care Professionals Council. To maintain my professional registration I regularly engage in training and professional development opportunities. My qualification entitles me to chartered membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS). I uphold the BPS professional code of ethics.
Alongside my private practice I have also worked in a variety of NHS mental health services. These include both primary and secondary adult community mental health services, memory and older adult services, diabetes services, cancer and oncology, neurological injury, neurorehabilitation, and children and adolescent services. I have a specialist interest into the mind-body relationship, and the impact of psychological stress on the function of the brain, immune, nervous, gastrointestinal, reproductive, circulatory and endocrine systems. I regularly work supporting people who may have chronic or medically unexplained symptoms, for example chronic fatigue, pain, digestive upset, skin conditions or unexplained infertility. As a researcher I am interested in the impact of adverse life events on physical health and help seeking.
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
Health and Care Professions Council
The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.
They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.
Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.
Areas of counselling I deal with
See website for details www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk
I am a recognised provider for several health insurance companies e.g. AXA, Aviva, Vitality Health and many more. Please contact us for details at email@example.com
Daytime Hours (8.30am-5.00pm): Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
Weekday Evenings (6.00pm-8.30pm)
Visit www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk to learn more about my services.