Suzanne Murphy

BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

MSc, PgDip CBT, BA (Hons)

Background

Suzanne initially completed a BA in Finance and worked for several years in the finance sector.  After much soul-searching, Suzanne thought about how much more she had to offer the world and herself. She analysed her strengths and which parts of her work experience she enjoyed.  Her natural interest in people’s life stories, and human behaviour in general, makes her a good listener and observer. She always had a curiosity around business psychology, but it wasn’t until soon after completing her MSc in Psychology programme from University of Westminster in 2013 and while working in a care setting that she became more interested in the clinical application of psychology.

Clinical Experience 

After completing her MSc in Psychology, Suzanne worked as a Psychosocial Therapist in a medium secure forensic intensive psychological treatment service (FIPTS) in the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. Suzanne worked in a team delivering a violence reduction programme, which is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based programme developed for individuals convicted of violent and sexual offences.  She also conducted psychological assessments and co-facilitated a Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) programme focusing on teaching emotional regulation skills. This role developed her understanding of the importance of boundaries and being authentic and honest with people to facilitate change and growth.  She experienced the importance of using clinical supervision to reflect on and work through her own emotions arising from working with individuals who committed offences. This helped her to work positively and constructively with individuals. She saw the value of such rehabilitation programmes for improving the lives of those on the fringe of society who are often judged, abandoned, and neglected, and she believes in the importance of working therapeutically with forensic patients to reduce the risk of reoffending and to create a better and more compassionate society.

While working in the secure forensic unit, Suzanne also worked as a volunteer assistant psychologist in an adult autism spectrum assessment service. Here Suzanne gained valuable experience in assisting with assessment and diagnosing of adults with autism.  This helped her learn how to modify her communication style to fit the needs of different client groups. She also learned that for some people receiving a diagnosis helped them to understand themselves better and to make sense of their experience of/in the world.

In 2016 and 2017 Suzanne worked as an Assistant Psychologist in a north London complex care community mental health team and as an Assistant Psychologist in an acute inpatient mental health ward.   During this time Suzanne co-facilitated a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a PTSD psychoeducation and symptom management group, and offered individual therapy to clients. She also assisted in the development and facilitation of a group Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) on wards and completed clinical assessments.

Working with clients living in a multicultural London borough who experienced multiple social inequalities helped Suzanne consider the wider socio-economic factors impacting mental health.  She frequently worked alongside other agencies including education, housing, and social services to help clients participate more fully in life. Working with individuals with more severe mental health problems and often working with those who suffered multiple traumas and advertises cultivated her ability to slow down and attend to where people are at. She became more interested in trauma-informed practice in this role and learnt that to facilitate change, people need to first feel safe and contained and have an experience of being heard, validated, and understood. 

In 2017 Suzanne completed a PG Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Staffordshire University, where she developed her theoretical knowledge, reflective abilities and practical skills to enable her to become a skilled and independent CBT practitioner. Since completing her training, Suzanne has worked as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in the NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) Programme, where she has gained extensive experience treating individuals with a range of complex difficulties including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia and health anxiety. This experience has led her to a deeper understanding of the application of CBT for a wide range of mental health difficulties.

Suzanne uses CBT formulation to explore how a client’s life history and personal circumstances have influenced ways of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating to others. She has supported people to identify their goals for therapy and enhance their strengths to achieve these goals. Suzanne believes in empowering people to give them the tools they need to grow beyond where they are. She is a fan of the DBT philosophy that opposites can coexist and be harmonized.  Through therapy, Suzanne endeavours to strike the balance with the people she is working with between empathy and acceptance and also staying focused on changing problem patterns and behaviours. Suzanne enjoys teaching and using mindfulness techniques with clients including using the RAIN tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion – Recognize what is happening; Allow the experience to be there without judging it, Investigate with interest and care; and Nurture with self-compassion.

Suzanne has also worked in the long-term physical health (LTC) care pathway in an NHS setting as a CBT therapist and has worked with people diagnosed with conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. She has helped people adjust to and accept their physical health condition and supported people with the psychological impact of their physical health conditions. This work has also led her to develop an interest in the way that trauma can be expressed through the physical body and the ways that past experiences/trauma can interact with the body. 

Suzanne has recently returned to her native Galway after working in the NHS for 7 years.

Approach to Therapy

Along with CBT, Suzanne’s practice is trauma-informed and she integrates mindfulness tools and attachment theory in her sessions. She works collaboratively with those she works with to develop a shared understanding of their current difficulties, their original cause, and in particular what can maintain difficulties. This formulation or “map” guides the work and a variety of evidence-based techniques and tools can be used to address the difficulties. 

Suzanne offers a safe, compassionate, informative, and structured therapy space. She aims to empower people and help them learn new coping strategies and more helpful ways to relate to their difficulties and move forward with their lives.

Continuing Professional Development

Suzanne has attended training courses and workshops in the following areas DBT Training (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) CAT Training (Cognitive Analytical Therapy), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Solution Focused Therapy.  Suzanne has also completed an 8-week training course in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Long Term Health Conditions from Staffordshire University.

Memberships

Suzanne is an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).