Beth Andrew

Psychologist Registrar

BA(Psych); Hons (Psych); MPsych (Clinical)

Hello, my name is Beth Andrew.

I am a registered clinical psychology registrar practicing using schema therapy with adults who have experienced relational trauma. I moved from the UK 10 years ago and have gained all my postgraduate and clinical training in Melbourne.

I have near 8 years training in psychology practice including child adolescent assessment and counselling, working with autism spectrum disorders, working in public and private inpatient psychology services, supporting adults with acute mental health and more chronic mental health difficulties.

My undergraduate and honours studies were gained at La Trobe University, while I enjoyed my clinical training at the University of Melbourne. There I developed skill across a range of competencies, including working with children managing chronic health problems at the Royal Children’s Hospital Psychology Service, adults experiencing ongoing complex mental health at The Victoria Clinic inpatient service, and the University of Melbourne Psychology Service.

I completed my Master’s research in exploring the effectiveness of classroom wide mindfulness intervention in reducing anxiety among prep level children.

I am a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA).

My therapeutic approach: Schema Therapy

I predominantly work within a schema therapy modality. At the start of therapy, we work to build skills which alleviate mental health symptoms as quickly as possible, to restore functioning and a sense of wellbeing. This often entails using cognitive behaviour therapy principles, which has a strong evidence base for being targeted, structured, and efficient in reducing mental health symptoms quickly. In addition to short-term cognitive behaviour therapy principles, schema therapy is designed to look deeper. Why does the same problem keep resurfacing? What can we do to break this pattern?

My therapeutic style is warm and validating. Over time I work to gently challenge the same patterns of behaviour. Together, we build insight into new ways of forming relationships and responding to life’s problems, by letting go of old patterns. My goal is to give clients a renewed sense of choice in their life, making decisions that allow them to live to their full potential. Schema therapy helps build insight into what causes the same traps we fall into. It helps challenge the negative and defeating beliefs we have about ourselves, and it facilitates the experience of emotion in a safe and supportive therapy space.

Clients I work with:

The clients I predominantly work with have an experience of relational trauma in childhood. This might include the experience of chronic neglect of emotional needs, absence of boundaries or guidance, loss of autonomy or emotional validation. This could be due to problems with a parent, sibling, teacher, friend, bully, or other family member. The trauma I work with my also include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. These traumas often influence my clients’ view of themselves and the world in a way that is defeating and hard to escape.

This experience may result in a sense of emptiness, difficulty regulating emotions, difficulty connecting with others, or a desperate fear of being abandoned.

This may or may not result in a diagnosis, however, a clearer summary of the diagnostics groupings I work within are summarised below:

Depression

Loneliness is a growing problem among the western world. We are becoming increasingly individualised, disconnected and spending more time online. These factors, in addition to difficult childhood experiences, may increase a person’s vulnerability to becoming depressed. You may be feeling lost, unheard, or not known by either yourself, or others.

When a person becomes depressed, they lose all motivation. They stop enjoying things they used to be passionate about. It becomes difficult to sleep and eat, a sense of worthlessness and guilt and self-critical over-thinking become pervasive.

Whether this is your first experience of depression, or a recurrent problem for you, my approach to supporting you to overcome depression is collaborative, efficient and deeply compassionate.

My treatment approach for depression is largely using cognitive behaviour therapy, (CBT).  [CBT is extremely strong evidence base treatment which over time has hundreds of studies demonstrating research support, see Hofmann and colleagues, 2012).]

Early we create a focused plan that targets your goals from therapy, to quickly manage the symptoms associated with depression. Later, we look deeper, at what beliefs you might hold about yourself and the world, which make depression vulnerable for you. If you are depressed, it is important to remember this is unlikely to have happened by accident.

The triggers we experience to becoming depressed are very personal to us, and together we use schema therapy approaches to understand these triggers. Rather than short-term band-aid improvements, we will manage triggers in a way that is lasting and transformative, to give you access to the life you could be enjoying if you weren’t held back by depression. This might lead to a deeper understanding of yourself, or the confidence to make changes in your life that for so long felt impossible.

Generalised Anxiety

The modern world has many demands that can become overwhelming and disorienting. We are bombarded with stimuli constantly, such as advertising, social media, work and relationship pressure. This constant stream of information can become the norm for a person both externally and internally.

This may cause you to worry. A person with generalised anxiety worries constantly. They find the worry difficult to control, and distressing. This can also lead to physical feelings of anxiety, such as muscle tension, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, headaches, stomach problems among others.

To experience this level of anxiety is exhausting. You may feel you are never truly present when spending time with loved ones or doing things you used to enjoy.
With generalised anxiety I use meta-cognitive therapy; an evidence based approach, Normann, van Emmerik, & Morina, 2014.

Metacognitive therapy is specifically designed to help make worry controllable again. To reinstate a sense of quiet and peace. A person with generalised anxiety may find this difficult to imagine, but it is possible using this therapeutic approach. Therapy can help teach skills that give other options to worry, more constructive methods to think about, and solve problems. It can also help teach the power of acceptance, to sit with the unknown in a space of peace, rather than fear.

Social Anxiety

Dealing with social situations can feel overwhelming and extremely uncomfortable. A person with social anxiety might obsess over what others are thinking of them, whether they said something stupid, or whether others can tell they are embarrassed and uncomfortable. Understandably, this feeling is avoided. This avoidance may lead to a person with social anxiety reducing their contact with others and becoming increasingly isolated.

To overcome this discomfort and avoidance, I initially use a CBT approach designed for social anxiety. We work to create a goal-formulated plan for how you want your social experiences to feel, and then we challenge anxiety in a collaborative manner.

Later, together we ask deeper questions like; What are the beliefs you hold which maintain this sense of inadequacy in social situations? What experiences lead to this sense of fear of judgement and humiliation? How can we resolve these experiences, so that the present is experienced with joy, rather than fear and shame?

Gradually and at your own pace, we overcome these repeated traps by healing old experiences and restoring a sense of confidence and choice in how you live today.

Extreme Perfectionism and Work Burnout

Having high standards is celebrated in many cultures. Working hard and achieving are attitudes to aspire toward and have many benefits to a person’s success. But when do we know to draw the line?

Perfectionism does not simply mean liking things to be a high standard. It means to have standards that are unrelenting, and to demand more of oneself, no matter the work that is produced. This can materialise in relationships; to be the perfect parent, partner, friend, colleague.

It could be in work, where you spend hours perfecting a task to the detriment of engaging in other enjoyed areas of life. It may result in extreme self-criticism, labelling yourself as a failure, as lazy, as worthless, for not achieving that extreme standard you set for yourself. Understandably, this results in exhaustion. A person may experience a sense of disconnect from them self and others, and sense of disorientation and disillusionment with the very thing they were working so hard to achieve.

When we work together to overcome perfectionism, the goal is not to give up on high standards. The goal is to reframe what the standards mean to you, and to challenge the self-punishment that occurs as a consequence of not meeting those standards. We build a sense of self coaching, rather than self-criticising. We build skills which make work more efficient and sustainable, so that burnout stops becoming a pattern for you.

Anger Management Problems

Anger is a complicated emotion in many cultures. Depending on your upbringing, it may have been strongly discouraged and suppressed, or by contrast, the only emotion you were given permission to express.

Whether anger is foreign to you, or all you have ever known, this is a problem. You may find yourself snapping at minor inconveniences, damaging relationships or hurting your career. You may find yourself suppressing anger and instead experiencing a deep resentment and frustration toward yourself and others.

My therapeutic style helps build skills to experience and express anger in safer ways. We learn to see triggers to anger, to notice tension before it becomes overwhelming, and practice methods of communication with others, rather than suppressing, or exploding. Later we explore where this pattern of anger expression was learned. We use this exploration to help grow from the past and form new and safer methods of communicating with others.

A summary of my style and how it can address your problems:

I work with people who experience harsh, critical internal dialogue and self-blame. My clients often manage ongoing anxiety and a sense of overwhelm with managing life’s stressors.
The people I work with often feel a sense of being trapped. Falling into the same unhelpful relationships, and patterns of self-sabotage, isolation, or withdrawal. On top of this, people often describe a tendency to switch from feeling extremely overwhelmed, to a sense of feeling empty, numb or flat.

I have worked with adults with a complex trauma background, have grown up with difficult family relationships, or find themselves stuck in painful relationship dynamics that are difficult to understand.

I would like to work with you to help resolve these problems, to help leave the past in the past, and move forward with today that gives you full access to all of life’s choices.

References 

Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive therapy and research, 36(5), 427-440.
Normann, N., van Emmerik, A. A., & Morina, N. (2014). The efficacy of metacognitive therapy for anxiety and depression: A meta‐analytic review. Depression and Anxiety, 31(5), 402-411.

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For further assistance, please email Beth anytime.

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