NEW SPECIALISM COMING SOON - Functional Imagery Training (FIT)

What Is FIT? 

Functional Imagery Training (FIT) is a unique approach to behaviour change that uses mental imagery to motivate change. It was developed by an international team of Psychologists in Australia and the UK. FIT teaches people new ways of thinking about their immediate future to help them stay motivated as they achieve each small step towards their goal. Users have described FIT as a 'Mindset Shift' where they exercised or ate healthily because they wanted to rather than because they had to. 

How Does It Work?

FIT is based on two decades of research with many scientific trials, (studies were published in the International Journal of Obesity), showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought. Mental imagery is what gives, for example, drug cravings their dominance over other thoughts, but it can also be what makes us work successfully towards a new goal despite obstacles. FIT blends counselling skills and Motivational Interviewing Techniques (MI) with tailored imagery exercises to strengthen motivation. It builds desire and self-efficacy for behaviours that will help the individual reach their goal. 

Staying Motivated

FIT goes beyond other brief motivational interventions by teaching clients how to elicit and practice  motivational imagery themselves, resulting in sustained behaviour change. FIT is applicable to a wide range of conditions but Francesca Johnson, as England's first FIT Advanced Practitioner, is specialising in FIT for Effective and Permanent Weight Loss. 


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of behavioural therapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies to help increase overall mental flexibility. It is rapidly gaining recognition as an effective treatment for a range of mental health issues and psychological disorders. 

ACT allows for acceptance of negative thoughts and feelings so that individuals can choose a valued direction in which to take action and make positive changes. In this way, acceptance and commitment therapy does not aim to directly change or stop unwanted problems and experiences. Instead it teaches individuals to develop a mindful relationship with them - promoting a psychological flexibility that encourages healthy contact with thoughts, reconnection with the here and now, realisation of personal values, and commitment to behaviour change.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a precise type of psychotherapy that helps clients to recognise, challenge and alter their disruptive and negative automatic thinking patterns in order to learn more helpful, positive ones that will enable new behaviours that lead to lasting improvements in their daily mood and functioning.

CBT employs a variety of cognitive and behavioural techniques, often applying varied creative interventions to assist in problem solving. These can be worked alone or seamlessly and strategically applied alongside the other models we practice.

Either way it will involve the client becoming very self aware of when and how these thoughts and behaviours are occurring and the impact it is having upon their lives and, having recognised this, learning how to mindfully overcome them with de-stressing, calming and soothing techniques. 

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), also known as Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) is a new and exciting therapeutic process. It has been developed by Dr Paul Gilbert and his colleagues in order to help individuals who experience high levels of shame and self-criticism. Shame and self-criticism can have a dramatic effect on how those affected experience their lives.

CFT increases awareness and understanding of the things we experience as human beings as a result of our evolution and also of that which we learn in early childhood. The key ideas of CFT is to help people to become aware of and acknowledge how they have been responding to negative aspects of self, due to the evolutionary process and the effect and impact of early learning within their environment. 

CFT teaches a person how to become sensitive to their own needs and distress and to help them learn how to extend warmth and kindness toward themselves and those around them. Compassion Focused Therapy uses education of the evolved self, mindfulness, visualisation and imagery as techniques to promote positive change from a place of acceptance and kindness.


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that can help reduce trauma. When traumatic events happen, the body's natural coping mechanisms can be overwhelmed and subsequently the memory isn't always processed adequately. 

EMDR assists in properly processing those traumatic memories, reducing their impact and helping you develop healthy coping mechanisms. This is done through an eight-phase approach to address the past, present and future aspects of a stored memory. This involves recalling distressing events while receiving side-to-side eye movements, hand tapping and auditory tones.

In this way EMDR aims to:

· Reduce re-experiencing traumatic memories and soften them so they can be managed without the need to avoid triggers, enabling you to engage in and enjoy pleasurable activities and relationships.

· Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, irritation and hypervigilance - allowing you to rest well, address pressure and/or conflict and go about your daily business without feeling fearful and prone to panic.

· Reduce feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system”

The energy system refers to the meridians that are used in Chinese Acupuncture. Meridians are energy channels that are connected to all of your major organs that run throughout your body. When an Acupuncturist works on a patient, they adjust the energy with the use of needles. Emotional Freedom Technique works to adjust this energy by gently and rhythmically tapping specific acupuncture points using fingertips instead.

Here’s how it works:

A distressing memory entering your head causes you to suffer a disruption in your body’s energy system that in turn causes you to experience negative emotions. By gently tapping on specific acupuncture points, whilst saying and repeating considered and accurate phrases relevant to your issue, these negative emotions can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Thought processes can be brought back into perspective thereby regaining both mental and physical wellbeing.

EFT is a gentle, natural and very effective healing technique that can be taught to the client so that progress can be maintained and enhanced at home in between sessions.

Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling Counselling

There are many who suffer the consequences of living and dealing with problem and addiction gambling. It is estimated there are at least a quarter of a million problem gamblers in the UK today and this figure is likely to rise dramatically with gambling being so easily accessed on the high street and on the internet. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many people collectively are negatively affected by problem gambling since family members are amongst the many casualties of this addiction, often finding themselves in a place of great financial loss and deep distress due to the adverse gambling habits of their loved one.

The Counsellor’s aim is to help those who have lost control over their gambling whereby it is causing distressing problems in their relationships and their everyday life. She will also work with the people around them whose lives are negatively affected by coping with a problem gambler.

For the problem gambler she offers counselling that is very specific to their type of gambling problem. It is a fairly structured approach to process why this problem has come about, the affect on the person and the effects on the person’s wider life context. Through the counselling process the problem gambler will look at the steps required for stopping gambling and will also focus on techniques for relapse prevention that are individual to them.

For the person who is affected by someone close to them who is a problem gambler, the counselling will offer education around the addiction, to process how they can be of help to their loved one and learn techniques to manage what can often be very distressing events.


As humans, we have a tendency to work on autopilot a lot of the time - completing tasks automatically without really giving them any thought. Mindfulness aims to alleviate our stress by reconnecting us in the present moment with ourselves, helping us to feel more attuned with our emotions and generally more aware of ourselves both mentally and physically. 

Mindfulness is a specific way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, as it truly is. Of course it won't eliminate life's pressures - but with practice it can help us take notice of (and hopefully stop) negative, habitual reactions to everyday stress. 

The most common way this technique is practiced is through mindfulness meditation. This usually involves practitioners focusing on sights, sounds and physical sensations while trying to reduce 'brain chatter'. Some people struggle with mindfulness meditation at first, finding it hard to focus their attention, but this is to be expected and may require practice. Practicing the technique regularly can help people take a step back, acknowledge their 'brain chatter' and view it accurately and without judgement.

Person Centred Therapy

Person-Centred Therapy, also known as person-centred counselling, is a non-direct approach that ultimately sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. However, this ability can become blocked or distorted by certain life experiences, particularly those affecting our sense of value. 

This approach works to empathically understand an individual’s experience from their perspective, the therapist positively valuing the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity whilst being open and genuine. This is vital in helping the client feel accepted and better able to understand their own feelings. The approach can help the client to reconnect with their inner values and sense of self-worth, thus enabling them to find their own way to move forward and progress. 

Many people find it an appealing type of therapy because it allows them to keep control over the content and pace of sessions and there is no worry that they are being evaluated or assessed in any way.

Sand Tray Therapy

 Sand Tray Therapy is a form of expressive, creative therapy that is also referred to as 

Sandplay when working with children. Sand Tray Therapy allows a person to construct their own small-scale version of events using miniature toys and coloured sand. The scene created acts as a reflection of the person’s own life and allows them the opportunity to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles and gain acceptance of self. Therapists using this technique rely solely on the client to find solutions to their problems, using the sand and objects as tools for exploration and healing. Through creative expression, a person in therapy is able to manifest in sand the things they would otherwise not be able to vocalize or address in traditional therapy. The therapist treats the person as whole and healed, knowing that the process of sand tray therapy allows the person to find the answers that are already within them.

Many children are unable to verbalize emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect or abuse. The non-verbal nature of Sandplay therapy and the familiar medium of sand can help children achieve feelings of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop their own expression of situations. Oftentimes the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behaviour changes without cues from the therapist. This method of therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to traumatic experiences.

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) works with the belief that as soon as a person has decided and acted upon seeking a therapist the change process has already begun for them. It maintains that due to both the wonders and complexities of human nature, change is inevitable and constant.

Working with the solution focused approach helps clients to examine parts of their life they wish to change and also highlights the parts that are working just fine and don’t need to be altered. The solution focused therapeutic relationship is a collaborative one, where client and counsellor work together to build a picture of what a possible and more positive future could look like. The client is then helped to come up with some strategies for new behaviour and actions to achieve their goals.

Transactional Analysis (TA)

Transactional Analysis therapy is based on the theory that each person has three ego-states: parent, adult and child. These are used along with other key TA concepts, tools and models to analyse how individuals communicate and to identify what interaction is needed for a better outcome.

Throughout therapy the TA therapist will work directly on problem-solving behaviours, whilst helping clients to develop day-to-day tools for finding constructive, creative solutions. The ultimate goal is to ensure clients regain absolute autonomy over their lives.

Transactional analysis is a talking therapy and sessions are designed to explore an individual's personality and how this has been shaped by experience, particularly those stemming from childhood. This is achieved through skilful questioning and the utilisation of various models, techniques and tools. 

Designed to promote personal growth and change, transactional analysis offers the opportunity to develop all kinds of skills that can be applied to all areas of life. This makes the therapy valuable for helping to solve many types of problems.

TA has been successfully applied in a wide variety of settings outside of counselling, including organisational training and consultancy, parenting, education and coaching.