Maria Francesca Ciotta Clinical Psychologist, London & Online Therapy
I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist, which involved rigorous academic and clinical training over six years of full-time study, research, and clinical placements.
I currently hold a position as a Clinical Psychologist in a psychiatric hospital; my role involves supporting adults with severe and enduring mental health problems, such as treatment-resistant schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety, and complex trauma. Some clients may present with complex comorbidities such as drug and alcohol abuse, challenging behaviours, risk of suicide and self-harm, history of sexual abuse or domestic violence, and secondary diagnoses of learning disability, autism spectrum disorder or personality disorder. I have over ten years experience of working in mental health across a range of settings, including mental health services, personality disorder units, forensic hospitals, and acute and rehabilitation units.
In the private sector, I have worked with people experiencing anxiety, depression, addictions, relationship difficulties, post-traumatic stress, adjustment disorder, and personality-related problems. I specialise in working with people who have suffered traumas and adverse life experiences and continue to struggle with their effects and other difficulties that impact areas of their lives, such as relationships and daily functioning. I work with adults and young adults, such as university students. My approach focuses on learning how to manage problems in the present moment mainly using DBT and CBT. However, this may also contemplate exploring the influence of early life experiences and stressors in developing emotional problems.
I believe the therapeutic relationship is essential to helping people explore and understand themselves. Therefore, I aim to create an open and trusting rapport with each client in therapy as they make sense of their experiences and work towards their goals. I believe evidence-based treatments provide invaluable support when people are facing overwhelming challenges in their life. They can help develop strategies to expand psychological awareness that will be useful in the long term. I work together with clients to develop a shared understanding of their difficulties. My approach considers both the person and the relationships between them and the environment in which they live. The focus is, therefore, the person with their emotions. The emphasis is on working closely to build on existing skills and helpful behaviours.
I use a wide range of therapeutic approaches to help clients meet their therapy goals, based on which approach is most suitable for the individual client. Sometimes this involves using an integrative approach and drawing from different therapy models.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is of proven help for problems ranging from anxiety and low mood to low self-esteem and obsessive behaviours.
Mindfulness helps clients to be more focused in the present moment and to develop self-awareness and self-kindness.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can be beneficial for people experiencing difficulties managing their emotions and keeping relationships
Personality Assessment (IPDE) is a standardised approach to personality disorder assessment. The IPDE is a semi-structured clinical interview designed to assess personality disorders in the DSM-5 and ICD-11 classification systems. This interview requires specific training to administer, have a structured scoring system and direct the assessor to explore the diagnostic symptoms relevant to each disorder. It also allows the assessor to combine information from multiple sources, such as historical information and/or the informant’s opinion.
I have a Chartered status from the British Psychological Society (BPS). The BPS is the representative body for Clinical Psychology in the United Kingdom. The society manages a Register of Chartered Psychologists who must meet the highest standard of psychological knowledge and expertise. Chartered Psychologists have to update their knowledge and training to continue to meet the required standards. I am also a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Clinical Psychologist. HCPC is the regulatory body set up under the authority of parliament to protect the public. Clinical Psychologists must meet HCPC standards for training, professional skills, and behaviour. I am also registered with the National Order of Italian Psychologists, the equivalent regulatory body in Italy. I have completed training in CBT, DBT and Mindfulness, which I use with clients. I also hold a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology, an MSc in Science of Mind and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and a Master’s Degree in Etnopsychiatry and Transcultural Psychology.
Professional memberships, check the registers:
Important information: What we discuss during the therapy sessions is confidential, and this will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent. Confidentiality is only broken if there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or others.