About me

My name is Dr Nichola Marchant and I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist ( registered with the British Psychological Society, BPS and the Health and Care Professions Council, HCPC ). I am based in Derbyshire and also work online.

I work with predominantly with individuals but also offer couples therapy, supervision, training and consultation and work as an expert witness.

I specialise in working with trauma, emotional difficulties and with issues relating to sex and sexuality.

I use various therapeutic approaches in my work and strongly believe that the therapeutic relationship is the most crucial factor in supporting people to work towards achieving their goals. I aim to work collaboratively with my clients and can offer both short term and long term therapies.

I can be contacted by phone / text (07771 391614) or email - rubypsychologicalservices@gmail.com.

Friday, 15 May 2020

My experience of EMDR

I thought I would write a little bit about my experience of EMDR therapy and hopefully when they are ready some others will add their experiences to this post.

I think I first came across EMDR properly around 10 years ago, maybe a bit more. The comments I heard about it were negative, cynical and I made my own judgements accordingly. My views were compounded a few years later when I worked with a small group of women who had found EMDR traumatising. I was horrified to hear how they had felt abused by the process and how the services they were involved with compounded the problem by acting punitively with medication to squash their distress. I vowed to stay away.

Fast forward a few years (now my sense of time is rubbish and my ability to remember dates is atrocious) and I was again discussing with a wonderful client of mine about how best to help them to move forward with their complex trauma. After doing yet more research it seemed that EMDR might be a good shout so I booked myself onto the appropriate courses and managed to squash my usual attending training related anxiety and get through it.

What a revelation! Sure, it's a bizarre therapy and truth be told I really have no idea how it works but it is remarkably effective. Initially I was terrified of using it (the memories of the women from the past still haunt me) but gradually it has become an integral part of the therapy I do.

I've seen people have amazing results using EMDR to overcome early childhood experiences, single and complex trauma, change core beliefs, manage OCD and beat anxiety. It's amazing for changing sexual difficulties and for reducing self blame and shame. It's not an easy therapy (I have never been scowled and growled at as much as I have when using EMDR) however their are so many creative ways of using it to build resources and to process memories I can't imagine not having it in my toolkit. I love how it fits nicely with my other go to therapies of Schema Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy too.

It's not just for single event trauma and I would really recommend considering it if you are looking to embark on a new therapy journey. It's not for everyone of course, no therapy works for all. And the most important factor is finding a therapist who suits you. But don't do what I did and discount it without giving it a chance.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Venturing into online therapy

My last attempt at online therapy, didn't last long. A very wobbly internet connection and a lack of confidence when I started working for myself meant that I managed to grand total of 1 1/2 sessions before giving up the idea as a bad lot.
Fast forward 5 years or so and coronavirus challenged my ideas of how to continue to provide therapy while maintaining the health and safety of the people I work with. A hasty purchase of a tablet with plenty of data and a slight rearranging of furniture in my spare bedroom and I was ready to go. And terrified. I had no idea how this might work, whether it would be helpful, would everyone realise that I am actually awful at therapy? And the thought of staring at my own face in the corner of my tablet for hours a day was horrifying!

I'm not sure how many weeks in to the "lockdown" we now are, but I am loving online therapy! I have been able to work with new clients who would struggle to get to my office in Crich and have found that EMDR when we are in different rooms can be just as effective! The feeling of "closeness" and the awareness of another persons raw emotions when we are connected by two small screens has been amazing and I have noticed how "feeling safe" in your home environment is really helping some people to push forward with their trauma therapy. It's obviously not for everyone as we know that not all home environments are safe or confidential spaces. And at times when I can hear my dogs barking downstairs I long to be back in my little office. However, the possibilities of online therapy are really exciting. It means those who are housebound can access therapy and it also means that you can potentially access a therapist who is georgraphically distant from you. More choice has got to be a good thing. And I am actually used to seeing my face in the corner of the screen, exposure work at its finest!

I asked one of my clients to give their thoughts:

After the news that the country was going into lockdown we had to have a serious think about therapy sessions. Of course my initial (if slightly selfish) thought was ‘oh no, I can’t possible do therapy online! I am different make an exception!’ Despite the fact that my degree is almost entirely online, so I am used to webinars, zoom and live chat, I still rigidly thought that my emotions had no place in cyber-space. My logical mind (which is where I feel most comfortable), kept on telling me that therapy did not belong in my house, and certainly did not belong in my bedroom where my computer is set up. I’d like to say I embraced it and went in with an open mind but the autistic side of my brain dug my heels in for the first week and didn’t make the most of therapy. Now however, I am a convert! I love having therapy online, in my home and in my bedroom. I have all my grounding tools around me such as my essential oils, my weighted blanket and my sensory toys. There is space to get up and do some squats when I’m dissociating and it has cut down on 2.5 hours travel time each week. Having my therapist there in my surroundings which I have created myself seems so much safer to me. My room is blue – another thing to make me feel safe, and if I’m upset I don’t have to look at the camera. I don’t think Nichola is too fond of this last point, but I really don’t like crying, so having the option to just turn and stroke my dog instead is super-beneficial to me. I guess I do miss the human connection sometimes, so post-covid I would like to have some sessions in person, but overall online is definitely very easily accessible and I recommend it to anybody who has work commitments and can’t make appointments, or lives too far away too travel regularly.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Body therapies

Sorry it's been a while since I  posted.

Today I wanted to emphasise the importance of not forgetting our BODIES when it comes to recovery / healing / progress or whatever you prefer to call it. Our bodies hold so much stress / emotion and sometimes in therapy they can be forgotten. As therapists such as Babette Rothschild and Bessel Van De Kolk note "the body remembers", particularly when it comes to trauma.

I highly recommend yoga (with an experiences instructor) as a way of connecting with our bodies and letting go of past memories. Tai Chi is also excellent as a way of soothing and increasing mindfulness and body awareness. Therapies such as EMDR and  Somatic Trauma Therapy can be really useful in connecting together our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as a way of processing the past and moving forward.

In order to make the most progress it seems important to remember to see ourselves as a whole with many parts and to enable all of these parts to heal in the way that suits us.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

appreciating our feelings

Feelings ( or emotions) are complex things. Sometimes they are immensely pleasurable while at other times they are overwhelmingly painful. At times we may wish we could lock them away in a box forever or have them removed , especially if it seems that all they do is cause distress. Feelings can get out of control, telling us there are threats when there are none, causing problems in our relationships and dragging us down.

However our feelings are important. They communicate things to us - telling us we need to run when there is a real threat, tell us to stand up and fight when we need to, let us know that maybe we shouldn't have done something and perhaps need to apologise and give us a buzz when something nice is happening.

Our feelings communicate to others too and can help improve our relationships - letting people know when we need a hug, or a cuppa or that the time is right to jump around squealing in excitement!

Without our feelings we might avoid the crappy stuff but it would be a whole lot harder to survive and we would certainly miss out on all the wonderful stuff. Let's learn to love our feelings because without them what would we be?

For anyone who struggles with identifying their feelings or managing them safely, you are not alone. Approaches such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Schema Therapy, Mindfulness and Compassionate Mind can be really useful in helping us to learn how to identify our feelings, how to allow ourselves to experience feelings and how to manage them when they get out of control.


Friday, 22 May 2015

thinking outside the box

Psychological therapies have traditionally been conducted in clinics and interview rooms. The emphasis has been on containment and consistency. There is no doubt that for some people the predictability of a familiar environment can encourage the formation of a positive therapeutic alliance with the therapist and enable everything to focus on what's going on in the room.

More and more though I ( and many others) have been considering the benefits of offering an alternative approach which takes therapy outside to connect with nature and often our emotions and our sense of inner peace. For some this process can feel less intimidating and more empowering. Being outside naturally gives many opportunities for mindfulness and can allow us to explore places and indeed parts of ourselves that we didn't know existed.

It's ok to be creative, to break free of apparent traditions and to think about doing things differently!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mindful Monday

The start of the week may bring doom and gloom and a longing for the weekend / holidays / the future. Focussing on what is to come may prompt feelings of anxiety of frustration. We may also look back at what has gone before triggering feelings of sadness of what we have lost or feelings of pain and regret.

This week lets try to be different. Let's focus on the here and now, living in the moment. Coping with what life throws at us ( because we can), enjoying the small things that we experience each day ( as there is pleasure all around us if we can learn to see it) and mindfully experiencing each day ( each hour, each minute) as it happens.

Mindfully cleaning our teeth, taking a shower, making that cuppa, walking to work....whatever we do throughout the day can be done mindfully with our full attention. Things around us will distract us, thoughts in our head, sensations in our body, but each can we become distracted we can try to notice the distraction and then let it go by turning our attention back to the task in hand.

Don't lets live our lives buried in the past or rushing towards the future, lets try our best to live in the present ( as painful and as uncomfortable as that may feel) and learn that we can cope, we are strong and our emotions are manageable.

For more information on mindfulness try searching for mindfulness resources on the internet for downloads, scripts and more.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Schema Therapy

I'm currently training in schema therapy which I'm really enjoying. My client's really seem to "get" the approach and it is flexible enough to offer different things to different people. It offers a really useful way of understanding ourselves and our development.

Once upon a time we were all "vulnerable children" with various needs. If our needs were met by "good-enough" ( I think it's really important to emphasise that nothing is ever perfect!) then we can develop into healthy adults. At times though we may behave in different ways particularly when responding to situations that we find painful. These different "modes" have been functional in that they have served to protect us from pain but they also prevent us from reaching our full potential and can impact on our relationships.

Examples of schema modes include the angry child mode ( who appears when our needs are not met), the punitive parent mode ( the critical inner voice that berates us) and the avoidant protector ( who avoids painful thoughts / situations).

If our care-giving ( for whatever reason) wasn't "good enough" for our specific needs we may find that we spend alot more time in these less healthy schema modes. Schema therapy using aspects of lots of different therapies to help us to understand our own pattern of modes, what drives this and looks at ways of overcoming this with a view to helping us develop into healthier adults. I'm finding it really useful personally and think it's a great option for anyone wanting to gain more insight into their personality and to put a stop to tricky life patterns.