Common psychological experiences

Thinking about therapy

A counselling psychologist can help with a range of issues. When looking for psychological support, people may spend some time looking online before deciding to contact anyone. 

How can Psychologicalm help me?

It can be helpful to understand the types of issues a psychologist may offer support with. The pages below are brief overviews of common experiences. They do not constitute advice or assessment, and it is advised to contact us for further information  or to chat about your particular circumstances and need.

Who else might help me?

There are benefits in attending a private practice as you may feel more confident in stating your goals. You may prefer to avoid your GP or waiting times for psychological services. We would highlight that there are many other services and organisations offering information, advice and support free of charge, including NHS and charities.

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Common psychological experiences


Anxiety, anxious symptoms, panic, worry, generalised anxiety disorder, health anxiety. These are common internet searches for a broad range of physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural experiences. Persistent anxiety or worry has a deleterious affect on our health. 

You may have experience anxiety throughout your life across a range of situations. There are a range of strategies and therapies to reduce anxious symptoms, which therapeutic approach depends upon your needs and your circumstances.


Depressive symptoms or low mood affects us all from time to time. Sometimes our coping strategies are not as effective as they have been in the past. Low mood may persist for some time, and the outlook may appear bleak, hope an impossibility.

After careful, collaborative exploration of your experience,  we utilise evidence-based approaches to support your wellbeing. 

Obsessive compulsive behaviour (OCD)

OCD is often used in day-to-day conversation to refer to how we order our life in our own unique ways. Obsessive behaviours and compulsive thoughts however are drastically different; often a frightening, confusing and a shameful experience.

Empathy underpins our therapeutic approach. We strive to empower individuals, therefore the evidence-based approaches we use in therapy are delivered in alliance with you..


Public perceptions may make it difficult to talk about the experience of addiction or dependency. Addiction may be to substances such as cannabis, cocaine, alcohol, prescription drugs, tobacco. Addictions have a pernicious effect on lives: gambling is addiction is a growing challenge and is an activity which is widely advertised and accessible.

Other types of behaviours which may be difficult to stop such as use of pornography, sex, exercise, self-harm, eating, shopping or stealing. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help.


 Loss and bereavement are inherently human experiences. We may have lost loved ones or a way of life, leaving us utterly bereft. We may be experiencing life  transitions and loss associated with change. Death, retirement, redundancy, relationship breakdown, illness, injury all have the potential to devastate our lives. 

We offer a space to transform your grief. There are some things we never 'get over' and wouldn't want  to. Here is a space to heal.

Relationship difficulties

 We are social animals who are shaped by the myriad relationship we have in the world. We can help with a broad range of relationship challenges which may relate to childhood, marital or partner, family or  workplace difficulties. 

There are many reasons for why relationships break down or become strained. We offer an empathic, non-judgemental space to explore those tricky or acrimonious relationships which may be affecting our wellbeing.

Common psychological experiences



Emotions are very useful in keeping us safe and well, serving as an internal alarm system, directing us to action. At times, this system can become overloaded or need a fine-tune. We may find our emotions such as anger, or sadness become overwhelming, perhaps inappropriately for some situations. We work with you to understand triggers and identify appropriate strategies to put you back in control.

Relationships at work

We spend so much of our time at the workplace, and difficult relationships can be demoralising and have significant effects on our health. We work with you to support assertiveness and resilience, and develop strategies for navigating relationships with challenging colleagues.


Do you find you can never say no to people? You might even describe yourself as a people pleaser, finding yourself struggling to manage the many commitments you have agreed to. Eventually, we can run out of steam and become bogged down, experiencing low mood, anxiety or resentment. We work with you to identify patterns to change automatic responses, and develop skills in establishing boundaries to support your wellbeing.

Managing transitions

"The only thing that is constant is change." Heraclitus. Life changes can be unexpected and devastating. They may be expected changes, but our reaction or the reality is not as we had expected. Change may come from parenthood, bereavement, menopause, diagnosis of illness, accidents, traumatic experiences, retirement, redundancy or emigration. We offer space to explore any loss, and strategies in moving forward.

Self harm

Self harm describes broad range of behaviours which cause physical injury or risk of physical injury. Evidence suggests links between self harm and the development of suicidal behaviours. We utilise evidence-based approaches to support safety and wellbeing. If you are immediate crisis and require psychological support or treatment for injury, contact your GP or appropriate out of hours service.

Death and dying

A universal, deeply human experience and so difficult to talk about. You may be affected by degenerative or terminal illness, your own or someone you love. Preparatory grief is a normal phenomenon in end-of-life, and you may wish to use a space to explore your experience. You may wish to find approaches to talking to others or explore what valued time or activities with others means to you.

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Common psychological experiences


Living well with a long-term condition

Living with one or more long-term conditions is challenging, particularly if your health fluctuates. Life may seem shaped by your diagnosis. We can help with managing anxieties between appointments, low mood or exploring how you might move towards valued goals and activities.

Cancer survivorship

It may feel as if cancer never goes away. With a breadth of experience working with people affected by cancer at all disease stages, we can offer support in living your valued life. Areas of support may include living with uncertainty, fear of recurrence, living with physical and social changes.

Caring for carers

Carers support the economy to the value of almost £60 billion pounds (ONS, 2017). With life expectancies increasing, there is the emergence of the 'sandwich carer' who is caring for an older relative and children. Many people do not consider themselves carers but bear psychological, emotional or financial burdens. We offer support in managing stress and wellbeing.

Medically unexplained symptoms

This is a debilitating experience where there is no identifiable physical cause of physical symptoms. Where all potential underlying causes are ruled out for your symptoms, talking therapy may support insight to your experience and strategies for changing unhelpful thoughts or behaviours.

Weight management

Almost two out of three people in Scotland are overweight (Scottish Government, 2018). We offer support in understanding our triggers for comfort eating, identifying patterns of eating and devising alternative activities and strategies. Working one-to-one may be preferable for you than to group-based approaches.


Self-esteem is our personal evaluation of our self. Beliefs we hold about ourselves are opinions, not facts. This forms the basis for our therapeutic input, that there is potential for change. There are many root causes of low-self esteem, and we can help challenging unhelpful beliefs and shifting perspective about ourselves.

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Common Psychological Experiences

Health anxiety

Having Dr Google at our fingertips is not always helpful. We might find ourselves focusing on physical symptoms, and repeatedly checking ourselves for any change. This repeated behaviour may exacerbate physical symptoms, reinforcing beliefs around the potential presence of disease. 

Sometimes we may seek advice or repeated reassurance from medical professionals, family, friends or colleagues. Referrals for scans or tests do not reassure, but exacerbate concerns. 

If these experiences are familiar, cognitive behavioural therapy is evidenced to be helpful in managing health anxiety. There are resources online for self help.


Phobias can be debilitating experiences. Specific phobias may affect us across a range of domains including situations, animals or body phobias. These may include spiders, vomiting, needles, visiting the dentist, heights, closed spaces or germs.

Phobias can have significant effects on our lives - agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces; we may avoid leaving our home, feeling safer and avoiding anxiety. Social phobias include fear of crowds or travelling on public transport. 

An approach called desensitisation is evidenced to be helpful in the reduction of phobias. Self help may be appropriate for your needs, or you may wish to work with a therapist to achieve your goals.

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The Scottish Government Trauma Framework reinforces the message that  trauma may be understood as “it's what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you”.

Trauma may have significant effects on development, dependant upon our age at the time of trauma and the nature and repetition of the trauma. Trauma may have an impact across a broad range of human experience including relationships, emotions and identity. 

Maintaining safety in trauma work is vital. We work sensitively with you to support understanding of your experience, utilising robust evidence-based approaches.