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 these profiles, trying to find a therapist who is right for you can feel like an challenging first step. Further, the prospect of confiding your thoughts and emotions can be daunting. Your courage to take that step will be met with respect, care and compassion on my part, with a commitment from me to help you make positive changes in the shortest possible time. Compassion underpins all that I do and I am passionate about providing a safe and containing environment at a time when you may be feeling at your most vulnerable. I have a strong belief that everyone and anyone can benefit from psychological therapy. Mental health doesn't discriminate, we are all susceptible to the possibility of facing difficulties at some point in our lives. Further, it is very difficult to have good physical health without good mental health and the two can have a significant impact on each other. I hope my introduction below will gain your confidence in my skills and collaborative approach to therapy.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I have received training in supporting psychological difficulties across the life span with children, adults, people with learning disabilities, memory impairment, and physical health conditions. I can therefore provide assessment for a wide range of problems and recommend appropriate help from a broadly informed perspective.
The process of the assessment will be collaborative, as we work to explore and make meaningful sense of your experiences and understand more about what may be keeping you stuck, or be 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. Sometimes, 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.
Areas of Expertise:
- Anxiety - this may be generalised anxiety or more specific e.g. phobias, health, social situations, performance anxiety. I also support with symptoms that may manifest from underlying anxiety e.g. obsessions/compulsive behaviour, panic attacks, memory difficulties, dissociation.
- Depressed mood - 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.
- Long term physical health conditions or physical symptoms with no adequate medical explanation
- Chronic pain, or chronic fatigue
- Post natal depression, perinatal mental health
- Low self esteem, shame, self-criticism, body image difficulties
- 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
- Attachment difficulties, with parents who are experiencing difficulties relating to their children or experiencing difficulties stemming from their own childhoods.
As a psychologist, my aim is for more than just symptom reduction. I aim to help to get to the root of your difficulties and work actively to support you to experience permanent positive change and freedom from your difficulties. 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.
These evidence based approaches include:
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.
My quiet and confidential therapy room is based in Sutton Coldfield in a wheelchair accessible ground floor office space with waiting room, parking and toilet facilities. It has good links to the M6 and motorway network and public transport. I am currently however only providing sessions by a remote video calling platform due to COVID-19 as it is not possible to practice safe social distancing in clinic without PPE. After careful consideration and discussion with my current clients, I feel that PPE would negatively influence therapeutic alliance (e.g. masks can conceal facial expression and depersonalise communication) and therefore video consultation is not only safer, but preferable to needing to use PPE. In the future and once safe to do so, I hope to be able to offer all clients the option to stay online or see me in clinic according to their preference. My fee has been reduced for a limited time by 10% for therapy by remote video calling. I was at first apprehensive about delivering therapy by video, having never had opportunity to do so before. 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. Please visit my website for further details and to book my next available appointment. www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk
Training, qualifications & experience
I am a registered Clinical Psychologist and fully qualified doctor of clinical psychology practising in the West Midlands and Staffordshire region, with over a decade of experience supporting people experiencing emotional difficulties. 'Clinical psychologist' is a protected title by law and can only be used by mental health professionals who are recognised experts and qualified doctors within the field of clinical psychology. The titles of 'counsellor' and 'psychotherapist' are not protected by law meaning that anyone can legally call themselves these titles regardless of training or not. By choosing to see a clinical psychologist you can be assured you are selecting an expert in the field who will have completed a significant amount of doctoral standard training, and will be registered, 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 work as a clinical psychologist in the NHS in a chronic pain management service. Historically I have also worked in NHS adult community mental health services, primary care mental health 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
**Promotional offers** - for individuals seeking personal therapy only (not available for third party referrals or insurance companies)
I am a recognised provider for several health insurance companies e.g. AXA, Aviva, Vitality Health and many more. Please contact me for details.
Face to face initial assessment - 60 minutes (I pass the savings of seeing clients by video back to the client) - Reduced rate of £90 for remote video consultation.
Psychological therapy - 60 minutes - remote video £90
Psychological reports, supporting evidence, letters - POA
HRV biofeedback HeartMath Training for Professionals (1:1 or group workshop) - POA
Visit www.fouroakspsychology.co.uk to learn more about my services.