My name is Gemma McKenzie
My company name reflects my unique blend of training and experience, and the service that I can provide you with.
I am a BABCP fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Supervisor, and I was previously a Senior University Lecturer. I am also a Peer Reviewer for a complex trauma organisation, I am a member of several trauma-informed care special interest groups, and I was previously a committee member for a professional regulatory body
I have previously worked in the NHS for approximately 10 years, and I have extensive experience of working with both mild-moderate and severe/enduring mental health problems, providing both short-term and longer-term psychological interventions in primary and secondary care services. Prior to this, I have also worked in community forensics, and in-patient rehabilitation services.
Qualifications & Main Additional Training
Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy
Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Psychological Therapies
Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Forensic Psychology
BA (Hons) Psychology with Criminology
In addition to the qualifications above, I have completed the following specialist CBT courses:
CBT for Serious Mental Health Problems
CBT for Personality Disorder
CBT for Psychosis (CBTp)
I have also completed training in a range of other approaches:
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
As part of our registration and accreditation, we have to complete several "Continued Professional Development" events per year. I pride myself on ensuring that I seek out the most up to date training available with world-leading experts in the field and go far beyond the minimum CPD requirements. Should you wish to see a record of this, I would be more than happy to provide you with a copy.
I am passionate about trauma-informed care and utilise a whole-person approach. Trauma and adversity can often underpin mental health difficulties, and I can work with you to process the source of your difficulties and/or focus on your current symptomology. You may wish to focus on your current experiences of depression, anxiety, personality difficulties etc., or wish to address the underlying factors that have led to these.
Whatever our focus may be, our work will be trauma, attachment and adversity informed. This means that I am knowledgeable about these areas, and have a service model that is guided by what is needed for psychological and emotional wounds. It means that I tend to ask, "what has happened to you?" rather than "what is wrong with you?", and there is an increased focus upon thoughtful communication and adapting to your individuals needs as they arise.
Trauma is anything that overwhelmed your ability to cope at the time of the event, with the internal and external resources you had available at the time. Many of us are working hard to change the view that trauma is only a "one-off" or "major" incident. Trauma and adversity can often be exposure to subtle but harmful patterns of behaviour. You also may have experienced trauma, but not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is one reason why NHS England aims to make all healthcare (mental and physical) trauma informed.
Alongside a passion for working with complex mental health problems, I have a special interest complex trauma (complex PTSD/c-PTSD), and the impact that chronic stress and trauma can have on the body. This may be in the form of physical symptoms alongside your difficulties with anxiety or depression or may include separate conditions. This can include conditions such as Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, "Persistent Physical Symptoms" (PPS) and "Medically Unexplained Symptoms" (MUS), and other psychophysiological disorders/conditions. Chronic stress can also contribute to the development of a wide range of physical health difficulties, such skin conditions, diabetes, heart problems, etc., which can then have a further negative impact on mental health.
I am incredibly passionate about increasing awareness of childhood emotional neglect, and the psychological and physical harm caused by interpersonal/developmental trauma.
I am particularly interested in the works of Janina Fisher, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Gabor Mate, Babette Rothschild, Ruth Lanius, Peter Levine, Richard Swartz, Deb Dana, Pat Odgen, Lucy Johnstone, Carolyn Spring, and John Sarno.