Sara Gilbert PsychologyClinical Psychologist in Barnet, North London

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Consultant Clinical Psychologist in North London

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What I Offer

I am a chartered clinical psychologist available for private consultation. I offer assessment and therapy in Finchley and Golders Green, North London, for people who are struggling with: emotional difficulties including low mood, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulties with relationships, or a tendency to use unhelpful behaviours such as overeating, or undereating, drinking too much or smoking and obsessive compulsive habits as ways to deal with stress and manage emotions.

I also work with people who struggle with issues around body image, over-exercising, excess weight or obesity; or who are considering bariatric surgery to help them manage dietary change and would like some support along their journey.

Now, more than ever, we are prone to feeling stressed in the light of pressures put on us due to economic and social restrictions that have affected so many of us in the current year and issues that we normally face with equanimity or even ignore can feel so much more troubling. We all experience difficulties in different ways: so no list can include every possible issue or problem. Some people know exactly what it is they want help for, while others will need to have an initial discussion or session in order to clarify what troubles them and to think about the changes they want to make. I can help you to look at some options for change and work out ways to find new directions as an alternative to treading the same, well worn and familiar, but not always helpful, paths.

Where I work now

I am normally based in the borough of Barnet (accessible from Finchley, Golders Green, Hendon, Mill Hill, Hampstead, Highgate and Muswell Hill). In the current situation (see below) I have found that geographical location is not necessarily a barrier to working with people who do not live nearby and it has been feasible to work with clients in different parts of the country or even abroad, as long as we can create a good uninterrupted online connection.

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Online sessions

In the current situation regarding corona virus, I am meeting with clients face to face on line. In normal times, most of my clients come to the office to meet with me, but it currently feels more acceptable and safer for many of us to continue with online sessions for the foreseeable future. If you are interested in an online consultation, feel free to get in touch with me and we can discuss whether or not this would work for you in your situation and regarding the issues you want to tackle. You are probably familiar with this kind of communication, but if not, all you would need is a private email address plus a computer with a camera and microphone included or a mobile phone or tablet and a good wifi connection. We would have a discussion prior to setting up a call about confidentiality and about how appropriate this method would be in your situation (eg do you have a space in the place where you live where you needn't be interrupted for the duration of our call).

My background

I have over thirty years’ experience of working with a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues in a variety of healthcare settings, including emotional and physical health and primary care (in GP practices), both in the NHS and privately. In addition, I have specialised in offering psychological therapy to people with concerns around overeating and binge eating, undereating, shape, weight, and obesity for over twenty years; for twelve years I worked as a service lead in an NHS specialist community eating disorder service.

My approach to therapy is broadly cognitive behavioural but I see myself as an integrative therapist. (for more information see here)

Thinking about change

it is always easier to think about making changes than to carry them out, and however much we may want to live life differently, finding a way to make those changes is no easy task.

Neither is it easy to ask for help with an emotional or behavioural problem; especially as it can be difficult for a person to describe what exactly it is that they need to resolve (and harder still to know what to do about it!)

A major part of my role is to work with clients to help them describe and understand the difficulties they have and explore what keeps them going. The next step is to discuss possible ways to change and what the options might be for achieving change.
Some people find that it is enough just to understand more about how a problem has come about and what keeps it from improving on its own. This can give them the 'push' they need (in the nicest possible way!) to make changes for themselves, without further outside help. Others decide that they would like to consider a programme of therapy to help them in the process of change.

A note about fees

I am registered with several of the major health insurance companies and fees may be recoverable for people who are insured. Clients should check with their provider for more information.

Teaching and writing

I have extensive experience of teaching and training. My publications include three books on eating disorders and dieting. My most recent book, "Therapy for Eating Disorders" (SAGE) was published in 2014 in its third edition (for more information and reviews see here; and in 2015, I made some short educational films for Sage publications' Counselling and Psychotherapy collection on the subject of eating disorders.
My paperback book, "Tomorrow I'll be Slim: the Psychology of Dieting" was republished by Routledge in summer 2014 and continues to be just as relevant today as it was when I first wrote it - in a world where food is becoming ever more tempting and available while all the time we are under increasing pressure to look fit and toned.

Workshops and discussion groups

I am available for teaching seminars on eating disorders and weight concerns for professionals and for the general public. Discussion around the issue of diet and how best to take care of ourselves can be emotive topics for any and all of us in a world where food, both healthy and unhealthy, is so much in abundance .

I can offer workshops or informal discussions for small groups of people who want to explore issues around weight problems, obesity, overeating, undereating and body image, and ideas about how to tackle them, and the impact on us of an increasing preoccupation with weight, food, shape, obesity and fitness. This kind of discussion can be helpful in a range of settings - in social groups, health clubs, slimming organisations, the workplace, or in schools; and either in the form of one-off meetings and discussion groups or as a series of weekly sessions. Currently, I am working mainly on line and could offer seminars/workshops through zoom or another medium if that is more appropriate to your setting.

Contacting me

Do browse my website to find out more about my experience and what I offer, and you are welcome to contact me by email or telephone with an enquiry. I will be happy to have a brief telephone discussion about whether I am able to help with a range of emotional problems, or an eating disorder.

My practice is accessible to people living in Barnet (Finchley or Golders Green, Hendon, or Mill Hill), Hampstead, Highgate, and Muswell Hill. I am open to working with people who are not living in this immediate area, and we can have a discussion about whether this would work for you. The answer phone on my dedicated private office landline is switched on when I am not in the office or am unavailable, but please do not be put off - if you leave a brief message with your phone number, I will call you back as soon as I can.

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