How we work and what you can expect

Our practitioners understand that often a person's current condition is a reflection of difficult situations and life-events that have occurred to them, rather than via any "fault" in how they might have managed it.  We therefore approach therapy with a compassionate and non-judgemental frame of mind.

The first meeting

The first session is more of an information sharing exercise that aims to help you decide whether therapy would be beneficial to you and whether the therapist appears to be a good "fit".

After the first session you are free to decide whether or not to undertake therapy and/or to continue working with this particular therapist. It may be that you would prefer the style or skill set of one of our other therapists.  Of course the therapist also undertakes these considerations and may occasionally recommend another professional who they think will better suit your needs.

There are many other aims to the first session, including getting an understanding of the difficulties that you are facing and clarifying goals for therapy.  Your therapist is likely to ask you a lot of questions during this first meeting and it will have a slightly different feel to the subsequent sessions.

The course of treatment and ending therapy

An important component of standard CBT is that therapy always starts with the end in mind, and this of course will be driven by both the problems encountered and the goals set in the first sessions. CBT aims to offer discrete time-limited therapy, often lasting around six to 20 sessions.  An implicit goal is to teach the individual to become their "own CBT therapist". Of course there will be occasions when individuals may desire further sessions. Many research trials schedule booster sessions some time after the completion of the main body of therapy, which can also be helpful in dealing with setbacks.

Some of the other therapies we offer can also be short term and stand alone (for example, Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy typically follows an eight-week session plan).  However, mindfulness can also be integrated into your experience of standard CBTSchema Therapy or indeed Coaching. 

Schema Therapy tends to be a more medium to longer term therapy commitment (although again, components of ST can be incorporated into other therapy work).  The number of sessions needed will depend on the difficulties you experience and the goals you set, and can vary from a 6 month to 3 year commitment.

Independent Psychotherapy and CBT in Oxford and Surrounds

Welcome to Oxford Talking Therapies.

We are a professional partnership of clinical psychologists and CBT specialists providing therapy to help people find a way forward through difficult emotional issues.

Our aim is to bring meaningful and lasting relief from psychological suffering by providing an environment to explore and nurture positive change to the way we think, feel and act in our everyday lives.

We are able to provide a range of evidence-based interventions for psychological issues such as

  • Depression and Burnout

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Excessive Worry

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Social Anxiety or Phobia

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Health Anxiety

  • Bulimia Nervosa

  • Bipolar affective disorder

Many of the above conditions have been subject to extensive research including the providers of national guidance NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

We also work with people experiencing distress and difficulties resulting from...

stress, grief and bereavement, trauma, unstable mood, worry, interpersonal and relationship difficulties, anger, workplace/school problems, addictions, adjustment to life events and transitions, anger, low self confidence and self esteem, sleep problems and coping with chronic health problems, disability and pain.

In our initial assessments we formulate an individual's difficulties whilst working with them in order to understand and explore alternative ways of coping and functioning, and hence work towards the amelioration of distress.

Our interventions include longer and short-term cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and cognitive and behavioural informed therapies. Besides individual psychotherapy we also offer couples counselling and CBT informed life and business coaching.

We would initially provide a full assessment in order to look in detail at your problems and work with you to develop an intervention that has the best evidence for recovery according to clinical trials and NICE guidelines.

Oxford Talking Therapists are all registered with their core professional organisations: Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), British Psychological Society (BPS), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the BABCP (The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies).

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) & CBT informed Psychotherapy in Oxford and Wallingford

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a talking therapy that is concerned with the way people think and act in various situations, and explores the origins and consequences of thinking and acting in such a way.

CBT has been extensively researched; in fact, more than any other talking therapy. The findings from the research repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of CBT in a wide and growing number of conditions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT as first line treatment in the following conditions: Depression, generalised anxiety disorders (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), health anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Research has also shown that people treated with CBT remain well for longer. This may be due in part to one of the implicit aims of CBT, which is to teach individuals to become their own CBT therapist, increasing resilience to relapse.

Whilst the research for CBT is to be welcomed, a note of caution should be aired: it is repeatedly found in all talking therapy research that a fundamental aspect to the success of the treatment is the relationship between client and therapist.

It is part of our philosophy at Oxford Talking Therapies that we pay particular attention to ensuring this essential component of therapy: to this extent we all undertake regular clinical supervision to reflect upon and improve our work.

What is CBT informed Psychotherapy?

Because CBT is based on empirical evidence it is constantly challenged and updated with new research.   At Oxford Talking Therapies our clinicians maintain their professional accreditation by regularly attending workshops and training events to further develop their knowledge and experience of the most up to date research and evidence to inform and add to their clinical skills.   

Some of the cognitive and behavioural informed interventions currently showing evidence of effectiveness include:

Your individual therapist or coach will have knowledge and experience in some or all of the above and can discuss with you how the use of any of these models could be beneficially integrated into your individual experience of therapy.

Find out what to expect when starting therapy...


What Oxford Talking Therapies can help with

  • Depression and Burnout
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Excessive Worry
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Social Anxiety or Phobia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Health Anxiety
  • Eating disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
  • Stress
  • Grief and Bereavement
  • Childhood Abuse and Trauma
  • Unstable mood
  • Worry
  • Interpersonal and Relationship difficulties
  • Anger
  • Workplace/School problems
  • Addictions
  • Adjustment to Life events and Transitions
  • Low self confidence and self esteem
  • Sleep problems
  • Coping with chronic health problems, disability and pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Find out more about the types of therapies we offer...

and what you may expect when starting therapy...

Clinical Supervision for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Schema Therapy

Regular clinical supervision with a qualified supervisor is recommended for most professions who practice clinically.  For those who are accredited or working towards accreditation via bodies such as the British Psychological Society (Clinical Psychology) the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and the International Society of Schema Therapy (Schema Therapy), regular supervision is mandatory.

Tracy Avis, founding member of Oxford Talking Therapies, together with her own clinical supervisor, Dr. Helen Startup, have a strong interest and are great supporters of clinical supervision.  They supervise staff from a variety of backgrounds working to promote positive change with various client groups. Both Helen and Tracy maintain their knowledge and skills by regularly attending workshops and reading literature about the practice and provision of clinical supervision as well as participating in regular supervision.

Tracy offers supervision to CBT students and practitioners as well as Occupational Therapy students and therapists.

Helen Startup joins Oxford Talking Therapies to expand the supervision services we offer.  She is an advanced accredited Schema Therapist and can provide supervision for professionals undertaking their own schema therapy training to become accredited. Currently Helen offers clinical supervision (CBT or schema therapy) via Skype, telephone or in person (but please note that Helen’s private practice is based in Brighton). 

For further information please see Helen’s website

Please contact us if you would like information about any other educational advice regarding training or clinical work.