Hi and welcome to my page! My name is Dr Salena Bhanji, and I'm a highly experienced Counselling Psychologist with a true passion for the science and art of delivering therapy. My passion stems from being able to help people overcome deep-rooted issues, develop insight into their beliefs or behaviours, connect meaningfully to others and generally achieve holistic health in their lives.
I knew I wanted to be a psychologist or therapist way before I started studying psychology in 1997 and have since had the privilege of gaining clinical training and experience across the UK, Australia and the US. This experience has embedded an appreciation for how cultural and social factors are inherently implicated in the way we think and behave, yet how common our struggles can be just by virtue of being a human fumbling our way through life.
In my early career, I kind of fell into the field of substance use and addictions and then gradually moved into working with eating, weight and body image issues as there was a clear pattern of seeing both of these issues co-existing in my clients. I learnt early on that rarely is it ever a clear case of an addiction or an eating disorder existing in isolation, but rather these issues commonly arise as a result of a person's underlying anxieties, enduring patterns of unhelpful coping, attachment styles or early trauma. This is where I found my niche, as doing this type of work remains so challenging due to its complexity, yet so rewarding when changes start to unfold.
Throughout my training and regardless of the type of therapy I'm using, my focus remains rooted in cultivating a therapeutic relationship that is imbued with genuine caring, compassion and warmth for my client. As endless pieces of research have shown, the trust that a client has in their therapist can be the key to successful therapy outcomes, over and above the techniques that are taught. For this reason, my priority is to ensure that clients feel really comfortable and listened to and are also well-informed about the therapy process and the treatments used. Having trained in many effective evidence-based therapies, I tend to integrate them flexibly to address the unique needs of every individual rather than following a set protocol or manual approach.
I also try to focus on making therapy an active process, so that clients experience a sense of accomplishment at the end of each session when new skills are learnt and can be put into action. To achieve this, I spend time clarifying clients' goals and developing a clear roadmap of ‘what is actually going on here?’ , 'how did we get here?' and ‘what can we do about it?’, with an underpinning in psychological science and neuropsychology. Often when people understand the role that the brain plays in their problems, they can let go of the self-blame or self- defeating narratives that can erode mental health over time. It's important that these unhelpful narratives are unpacked safely in therapy and processed so that healthier narratives can take their place.
Hopefully I've provided some insight into who I am as a therapist and my therapy approach. If you're thinking of booking an appointment for yourself or for your child, but would like to ask me a few questions first, you're more than welcome to send me an email below or give me a call, and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.
FIND OUT ABOUT DR SALENA’S CLINICAL EXPERIENCE