Dr Samantha Leaity
Following a Masters in Health Psychology in 1996, I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2002 and as an Advanced Certified Schema Therapist in 2015. Having had extensive NHS experience I now work solely in private practice offering evidence-based therapies and specialist supervision, training and consultation to health professionals.
Post 2002 I worked in the NHS for ten years in adult mental health, physical health, and sexual health services helping individuals and couples with a wide range of problems. This diverse experience provided me with a holistic understanding of the common types of mental and physical health problems people may encounter during their adult lives and the best approaches to achieve meaningful and lasting change. My roles in the NHS included: providing therapy, supervision, team leadership, consultation, service development and research reviews. Prior to clinical training I worked as a Research Psychologist in chronic conditions, reviewing for and publishing in International healthcare journals.
I am repeatedly inspired in my work by witnessing the courage and strength people show in transforming their lives while facing what can seem like insurmountable hurdles or lifelong problems. This confirms for me that no matter how difficult things are or may seem, humans have great resilience and a capacity for learning, change and growth throughout their lives.
Psychological therapies offer an opportunity to develop insight, to change and to grow as well as overcoming specific problems. It involves two key steps. The first is understanding problems from an objective position – seeing how your views of yourself, others and the world shape your emotions, behaviours, interactions and coping styles (ways of tackling problems). The second step is learning new, more effective skills and means to overcome problems as often habitual ways of coping become problematic and can leave you feeling stuck.
Our brains have a remarkable capacity to change throughout our lives (neuroplasticity). The brain lays down new pathways as you develop insights, learn new skills, train your attention and develop more balanced perceptions. This organic change helps you to think and feel differently, thereby enabling you to feel more contented and lead a more balanced life.
My approach is integrative. This means I tailor what we do according to the types of difficulties you bring and the most effective therapy for your specific concerns. The approaches I use are active therapies – focused on goals and change. This requires a collaborative effort in sessions and your active participation outside of therapy. Our therapeutic relationship is key as this will allow you to feel safe, heard and understood while we help you to relate to difficult emotions, thoughts, and coping behaviors in a positive healthy way. The number of sessions will depend on your efforts in addition to the duration, complexity and severity of your difficulties.
I have extensive experience using Schema Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness for common problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, relationship conflicts and adjusting to stress/trauma. All of these are evidence-based therapies: proven to produce effective outcomes for a range of psychological issues.
CBT therapies are particularly effective for treating specific problems which may have developed fairly recently; are your only concern; or if you have never had therapy before. For more longstanding difficulties or problems that have only partly resolved with previous therapies I use Schema Therapy. Here the starting point is to help you identify how your problems originated from your upbringing/challenging life experiences and the unhelpful ‘schemas’ or deep seated beliefs you developed in response to these. I use Mindfulness within CBT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) and in Schema Therapy.
Masters in Health Psychology, 1996: University of Surrey
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 2002, Royal Holloway: University of London
Standard Level Certified Schema Therapist, 2014: International Society of Schema Therapy
Advanced Level Certified Schema Therapist, 2015: International Society of Schema Therapy
Schema Therapy Supervisor and Trainer Accreditation, 2017: International Society of Schema Therapy