Dr Neema Chudasama
BSc, MBBS, PG Dip
Training and Qualifications
I am a qualified doctor and cognitive behavioural therapist currently practicing both within the NHS and privately. I hold full accreditation with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), the regulating body for safe and effective CBT practice in the UK.
My training began in medicine where I completed a medical degree at King’s College in London, as well as an intercalated BSc in Philosophy and Basic Medical Sciences. Following my qualification in medicine I was naturally drawn to psychology, particularly the psychological aspects of chronic medical conditions and the impact mental health has on physical well-being. We readily seek help for physical health issues yet the number of underlying mental health problems that remain undiagnosed or explored is astounding. I experienced this first hand whilst working in a district general hospital and this sparked in interest in mental health. I went on to explore different psychotherapies during a foundation in psychotherapy and counselling. Having chosen to specialise in CBT I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy. For me the ability to work with someone to explore ways in which they can enable themselves to live a healthier and more fulfilling life is something that is both a privilege and a passion. On a personal level practicing CBT allows me to help others in what I see as a genuine and meaningful way
I currently practice as a Senior Psychological Therapist, providing CBT and psychological assessments within a busy inner city London primary mental health service.
I work with adults exhibiting a range of issues stemming from anxiety and depressive disorders, ranging from mild to severe presentations.
I facilitate workshops for groups, with a particular interest and expertise in low self-esteem. As well as using CBT, I integrate a compassion focused approach (CFT); acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness based therapy. These are all approaches that have a foundation in CBT but are more third wave or new generation approaches. I will be commencing systemic therapy training in 2017, looking at families or family systems and the effect of these on an individual.
As the lead for Older Adult services within our NHS team I provide specialist CBT for older adults, including home visits. Working with people suffering from long-term health conditions is also something I have developed specialist expertise in, and is a particular focus of mine given my previous experience of working as a doctor for the NHS.
Working for the NHS allows me to interact with a variety of people from all cultural and socio economic backgrounds and I value the opportunity to work with diversity. I revel in keeping engaged with new training methods within the NHS, which allows me to stay up to date on modern evidence based practice and new research, which is integral, I believe, to offering effective therapy.
My Therapeutic Approach
My primary approach is to deliver CBT according to the NICE guidelines. It is important to consider how an individual’s problems present, as people do not fit into rigid models and no two people’s needs are the same. Therefore I often integrate third wave CBT therapies into treatment. These are approaches that are an extension of CBT and promote holistic well-being. They aim to increase the effectiveness of traditional CBT. Approaches include mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and compassion focused therapy (CFT).
Practicing mindfulness can be a very useful tool to help with managing negative thoughts and feelings. In recent times this approach has become very popular, yet it can be difficult to define. Simplistically mindfulness is about engaging the senses in the here and now and practicing focusing on the present moment. This is practiced whilst noticing thoughts and feelings but not engaging with them and letting them pass, without judgment. It is a skill that like all skills requires practice. For anyone who is interested in mindfulness the app Headspace is often a good place to start. Mindfulness is particularly used to prevent relapse in depression but is also beneficial in many mental health problems. It helps to be able to choose which thoughts and feeling to respond to, rather than be drawn to them automatically, especially if they are not helpful or affect us negatively.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
ACT is a third wave CBT approach that is based on the idea that trying to get rid or avoid negative thoughts and feeling can in fact cause more suffering. Instead ACT works by learning to accept negative experiences and focus our efforts towards things that we value, whilst being aware of the negative aspects but not letting them get in the way of our goals. ACT uses mindfulness and techniques to detach from negative thoughts, in order to change our relationship to negative thinking and feeling. Instead of struggling against distress, we learn to accept it and focus on moving towards what is important to us.
Compassion Focussed Therapy:
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) can be useful in both depression and anxiety. It has a basis in evolution, looking at how we as humans have 3 basic systems, and if certain systems are underdeveloped, often due to childhood or life experiences, it can affect our mental health. CFT developed to particularly treat self-criticism and shame. It looks at self care, nurturing and how these may not have been developed enough, leading to difficulty with managing stress and often self-criticism. The goals of CFT is to develop compassion in order to alleviate suffering.
Qualifications & Training
Post-graduateDiploma (PG Dip) Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, New Buckinghamshire University
Foundation in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Regent’s College London
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), King’s College London
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Philosophy and Basic Medical Sciences, King's College London
I provide supervision to trainee therapists, both clinical psychology and high intensity trainees. This can be offered in person as well as by phone and Skype.
I also attend weekly supervision of my own practice in order to remain within the guidelines of effective and ethical practice set out by the BABCP.