Dr Andrea Papitsch-Clark - Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Dr Andrea Papitsch-Clark
(Hons), PhD, DClinPsy, CPsychol
Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Life today is fast-paced, and we are given an ever-increasing array of options – at least in theory! But this comes at a prize: rules and expectations are governing much of our lives now – the ‘oughts’, shoulds’ or ‘must nots’ of day-to-day existence, which we struggle to keep up with. We feel the weight of expectation, societal as well as our own, and we expect that we will excel in all different aspects of life, including achieving financial and job success, maintaining excellent relationships, and reaching current norms of beauty, fitness, weight or fertility. We frequently consider these achievements as a measure of our success as a person. We have much to compare ourselves to, as the media tell us many stories of ‘successful’ others, and there will always be others who are in some way ‘better’. As our expectations become more unrealistic, the potential for failure is immense and growing. As we struggle to meet expectations, we struggle to accept our challenges and perceived failures, leading to unhappiness and a range of negative emotions. And these feelings are very common, as current estimates show that about 25% of the UK population will experience difficulties with their wellbeing and mental health over the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression being the most common.
Therapy is a space to reflect on our perceived ‘shortfalls’ and finding ways of reconciling these to find acceptance and contentment. Therapy can help to choose new meanings for one’s life, getting back in touch with values and living life in line with these. Therapy can help to accept the past and break destructive cycle. Whatever the motivation for entering therapy, the aim is ultimately to ‘get out of the rut you are stuck in’, and to work on improving your sense of well-being and reducing your sense of unhappiness. This involves taking some ‘risks’, such as speaking openly with a therapist about your concerns, worries and unhappiness, which can initially feel exposing and uncomfortable. However, it is the first step towards change and ultimately most clients find talking about their difficulties very cathartic.
I aim to tailor the therapeutic approach I use to the person sitting in front of me, as different approaches will work for different people. Mostly, I use a Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (or CBT) framework, which focuses on changing unhelpful thought or behavior patterns. However, I am also interested in the so-called 3rd wave approaches to therapy, including mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) or compassion-focused approaches. Most recently, I have completed some training for schema-therapy based approaches, which focus on working through early experiences, and the (negative) conclusions clients have drawn about themselves based on childhood experiences. Frequently, my approach to therapy is integrative, and includes a combination of different approaches or techniques.
More generally, I believe that I am open, flexible, non-judgemental and supportive and many of my previous clients have commented that they have found it very easy to talk to me. I believe that building rapport is essential in helping the client to get started on a path they may find potentially daunting – the path of therapy, as a way of improving their sense of well-being and acceptance.
I am an enthusiastic individual, who is very passionate about and committed to her work as a clinical psychologist. I feel that it is a privilege for me to be invited by clients to share their journey of therapy with them, and I find an aspect of work well done or a successful therapy outcome extremely rewarding. My aim is to be collaborative, and to stand alongside the client, helping you make changes to unhelpful thought or behavior patterns, or exploring unhappy feelings, whilst guiding in a kind and gentle way.
I strongly believe that the ideas of mindfulness are relevant to counter-balancing the current fast pace of life, and I try to incorporate mindfulness principles, and meditation into my day-to-day. I enjoy reading and getting absorbed in a book, and I also like to bake and decorate cakes. Most recently, I have been trying my hand at art, and particularly enjoy abstract painting and experimenting with colours and textures.