We work with clients to improve focus and concentration.There are various factors that can affect attention including personal life, brain changes, distraction, mental health, pressure. We work with clients to figure out triggers and maintain control over attention in order that at those crucial moments, their mind is in the game.
We understand that elite performance is a product of passion, dedication and engagement. Sometimes though, a range of factors can dull the sense of motivation for sport. In contact sports this might be a product of brain change - or not. It could be for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, we work with athletes to understand what is going on a re-ignite their passion and motivation.
Rehabilitation isn't all in the body, it's in the mind. We work with clients to overcome the thoughts and feelings that naturally bubble up when dealing with any injury and we also have expertise in the psychological management of pain.
Crucially, we provide expert emotional and adjustment support around brain injuries and in coping with the widespread effects of concussion and head trauma for athletes, both to improve performance, and to maintain a fulfilling private life.
Losing your sport is like losing a limb in many cases. Whether you've retired, are going to retire, whether it's a conscious decision or you have little choice, the process can often be similar to a bereavement. Not only are you not doing the thing you love, but your team are not around and life is different. We work with clients to adjust to this process and redirect life to new sources of passion and meaning.
We work with clients who struggle is pressure, in order to better manage this, minimising the impact on sport and excelling and maintaining elite performance.
Confidence can plague even the best of us, to the detriment of performance, in all aspects of our lives. We work with clients to understand factors that affect confidence, identify triggers and work on improving these.
A team is a living, breathing entity, the dynamics of which can often be make or break. We work with teams to work on factors so that things are more make and less break.
No matter what level of sport an athlete is competing at, there are pressures, challenges, strengths and triumphs. We are all human. As such, athletes are also likely to experience common mental health difficulties. Indeed, sportsmen and women are at a greater risk for suicide than an individual in the general population.
Athletes in contact sports have an additional element in understanding mental health changes; those incurring head trauma, concussion and sub-concussive blows have been shown to be more likely to develop neuropsychiatric conditions.
The Sports Neuropsychology Clinic is run first and foremost, be an experienced Consultant Clinical Psychologist, which sets Dr Mawbey apart from other psychology-related disciplines that work with athletes. This means that she is uniquely trained to a high standard to assess, diagnose and treat such difficulties. She regularly treats athletes without brain injuries for these difficulties, but additionally, given her Neuropsychology specialism, is expertly placed to treat these difficulties in clients with brain changes/injury.
Some frequent difficulties that we work with include:
Feeling low, hopeless, difficulties sleeping and eating, lack of motivation, little pleasure in doing things etc.
Worrying about lots of different things, lots of the time. Feeling like one cannot control worry and feelings tense and finding it difficult to relax.
New traumas or old traumas can appear and affect an athlete unexpectedly. Intrusive memories, low mood, irritability, flashbacks, nightmares are just a few of the symptoms.
Episodes of overwhelming distress or anxiety, associated with physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, sweating, shaking, racing heart and so on.
Disproportionate distress in relation to certain things, situations or places causng anxiety and avoidance.
Disproportionate fears about social situations with a worry about what other people think about you, feeling that others are judging you etc.
Heightened focus on a particular part of body or aspect of appearance, leading to a range of unhelpful behaviours and feelings.
Characterised by obsessive patterns of thinking and the desire to carry out actions repeatedly.
High self-criticism, dissatisfaction with oneself.
Unrelenting high standards and self-critical thoughts that drive behaviour, often at the expense of happiness, and causing distress and pressure.
Assessment and Intervention
We value and nurture our relationships with clients, but this doesn't grow on trees and we appreciate that jumping in head first is not helpful, so the first one is on us: we therefore offer a complimentary telephone or Skype conversation (up to 30 minutes) to get to know each other and talk through the best way forward.
Psychological assessment takes between 60 and 90 minutes (depending on the complexity and severity of the areas of need).
This usually takes place on a 1:1 basis, although we also provide couples, family and team sessions where relationship factors are implicated and this is felt necessary.
You will meet with the Consultant Clinical Psychologist who will talk though the difficulties, collect information about you and the history of the difficulty and collaboratively work with you to develop the start of a "formulation", that is an understanding of the basis of the difficulties and factors affecting this.
Athletes are often driven, goal-focused beings. It is fitting then, that the clinician and client formulate some clear goals, we make them SMART:
Realistic / Relevant
At the assessment stage we also compile a treatment plan. This usually involves an estimate of number of sessions, what these are likely to include and the approaches that are likely to fit best.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) make recommendations based on clinical research evidence about the best approaches to treat different mental health difficulties. The primary therapeutic approach recommended in the treatment of mental health difficulties is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and we provide gold standard CBT therapy as our primary intervention approach. CBT involves providing semi-structured sessions that focus on how thoughts, emotions, behaviour and physical sensations in the body interaction to maintain a difficulty, in the context of a person's experiences, values and beliefs.
Dr Mawbey is trained in trauma focused CBT (TF-CBT), a unique, specialist therapy to treat PTSD.
In reality, therapy looks like a combination of different approaches, drawing on techniques from different therapies depending on what evolves in sessions and what a client is comfortable with. Other clients prefer a more general, open, counselling approach and space to talk without a structured therapy and this is also a service offered.