During her current posting to Surrey, army spouse Antoinette Broomfield is training as a psychological wellbeing practitioner. She’s now involved in delivering talking therapies, signposted by the NHS, to support people struggling with their mental health. We caught up with her to find out more…

I met my husband in 2005 shortly after his first tour in Iraq. Fast-forward to 2021, three operational tours, two children and seven houses later and we are still enjoying the whirlwind of military life. As military families, we are perhaps tested more than most and talking to a trained therapist can really help you to cope with the challenges.

Some talking therapies are available on the NHS in England as part of a programme called IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). If you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, panic or anger, you may be able to refer yourself directly into the service if it’s available, as long as you’re aged 17 or over and registered with a GP. I work for DHC Talking Therapies in Surrey, which is free and confidential. We offer a range of proven psychological therapies which come in many forms, meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose short courses of individual or group therapy treatments which are delivered either online, by phone, video call or in person.

What are talking therapies?

There are several types of therapy, depending on your situation and need:

  • Guided self-help CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) supports you to develop coping strategies to make positive changes in your behaviour and thinking. It can also help you with stress and isolation that can be brought on by regularly moving, or changes such as deployments or exercises.
  • CBT is an evidence-based approach that helps you manage your emotions in a healthy way. You work with your therapist to identify current thinking patterns and behaviours that might be problematic and learn techniques to improve them.
  • Counselling for depression (CfD) helps you explore underlying feelings and make sense of them, then empowers you to develop new ways of looking at yourself and the world around you.
  • Some services also offer EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), for non-combat or compound post-traumatic stress disorder. You learn techniques to help you to make sense of memories from the trauma and to store these memories in a better way to help recovery.

Depending on which interventions you’re offered, sessions usually run over four to six weeks and are normally up to one and a half hours long. If you’re struggling, it’s important not to wait to reach out for help. Go to nhs.uk/mentalhealth and click ‘Access to NHS Psychological Therapies Service’.

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