Robert William Allen
BSc (Hons), MSc., C.Psychol. C.Sci., AFBPsS.
tel: 01246 566238
Robert holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Psychology from the Open University, a Master of Science degree in Occupational Psychology from Sheffield University and is a Chartered Psychologist in the Occupational Division of the British Psychological Society. He is a Registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health Professions Council. He is a Chartered Scientist with the Science Council and has a current Practising Certificate.
He is also an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a founding Principal Member of the Association of Business Psychologists. He is qualified to level A & B for psychometric testing and is experienced in personality profiling.
Robert worked for over 30 years with the police service holding the rank of Chief Superintendent and has had a varied experience as an operational manager with a direct responsibility for over 500 staff.
Since 1999 Robert has operated independently as a consultant chartered psychologist working in both the private and public sector specialising in work related stress; including stress audits, critical incident stress debriefing and posttraumatic stress disorder therapy. He works on an individual basis with clients, particularly after work related injury, trauma or accidents, specialising in brief therapy based upon a cognitive behavioural model (CBT) and holds an advanced certificate in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) from Birmingham University, which is particularly effective in the treatment of trauma and stress. He is a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). He also holds Accredited Practitioner status in EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and is a member of the EMDR UK and Ireland Association. CBT therapies and EMDR are the only two therapies recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. He is also a recognised BUPA and AXA consultant and specialises in providing early intervention and rehabilitation services for both organisations and for insurers in personal injury claims, with a focus on helping individuals return to normality following stress, injury or trauma.
Robert has dealt first hand with many traumatic and stressful incidents including numerous road accidents. His past career, coupled with his experience and knowledge as an applied psychologist gives him a unique insight into psychological assessment combined with an ability to understand the requirements of victims, courts and solicitors.
He specialises in the assessment and treatment of psychological trauma particularly in relation to accidents and to incidents in the workplace. He regularly deals with the victims of road traffic accidents and with victims of violence and lectures to the emergency services on the affects of psychological trauma. Robert also works on a voluntary basis with the Joint Forces Alliance treating military veterans suffering with PTSD and various difficulties re-integrating into society.
Robert is fully qualified to carry out all psychometric tests and other relevant tests where appropriate. He is trained and experienced in the use of structured cognitive interviewing.
Robert has previously undertaken several hundred assessments for judicial proceedings in cases of domestic violence. He has also prepared over two hundred reports in civil proceedings in relation to personal injury at work and road traffic accidents, and the affects of depression as result of work related events.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Following exposure to a stressful event many people develop symptoms. These can include feeling detached from one’s surroundings, recurrent images or thoughts of the event, exaggerated anxiety, feelings of anger, difficulty sleeping, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, irritability, an enhanced startle response and dreams and nightmares.
Usually these symptoms subside in the days or weeks following the traumatic event. However, in some cases they persist. If they persist for longer than one-month after the trauma and they cause significant distress or impairment in functioning then these may be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The types of traumatic events that are usually linked with PTSD are extreme stressors that involve actual or threatened death or serious physical injury to oneself or another person. Examples of such events include, military combat, violent assault, accidents, natural disasters, and being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
If symptoms have been present for less than 1-month the condition may satisfy criteria for acute stress-disorder. When symptoms last for 1-3 months they may meet criteria for acute PTSD, when they last for longer than 3 months this may be chronic PTSD. In some cases a condition of delayed-onset PTSD occurs. Here at least 6 months have elapsed between the traumatic event and the development of symptoms.
It is important to note that not all symptoms that occur after exposure to a traumatic event should be identified as PTSD. Symptoms such as avoidance, decreased activity, emotional numbing and sleep disturbances may be indicative of depression, and this may be a more appropriate diagnosis that would require a different type of treatment. In some cases there may be both PTSD and depression that may require additional considerations in planning treatment.
Exposure therapy, cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) have been found to be equally effective treatments for PTSD. Exposure therapy involves exploring memories of the traumatic event and repeatedly going over them in order to reduce the anxiety they cause. There are a number of different versions of exposure some of which aim to modify aspects of the memory within the brain and EMDR falls within this adaptive information processing model. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) often involves exposure or reliving but also includes (to varying degrees) modifying thoughts and beliefs about the trauma.
Metacognitive Therapy (MCT) is one of the latest developments in treatment development work and trials show this approach can be highly effective. It is usually brief and does not rely on exposure to memories or detailed discussion of the trauma itself. It is based on research identifying the factors that impede normal emotional recovery following trauma. The therapist works with the patient to change their style of reacting to spontaneously occurring memories, thoughts and symptoms. In this way in-built psychological recovery processes are allowed to operate.
Drug treatments are not recommended specifically for PTSD, but if other symptoms such as depression are a problem then drug treatment may be considered. However, psychological treatment remains the first choice.
Other useful sites of reference:-
British Psychological Society - http://www.bps.org.uk
EMDR Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland - http://www.emdrassociation.org.uk
MCT Institute - http://www.mct-institute.com/index.html