07796 305475 sara@drsarahirst.com

Effective psychological therapy

Effective psychological therapy

Dr Sara Hirst is a clinical psychologist in Christchurch, Dorset, with over 15 years of experience in the NHS providing therapy, management and consultancy in a range of health settings.

Dr Sara Hirst can effectively treat:

  • Panic and anxiety related difficulties
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Low mood and depression
  • Difficulties related to traumatic experiences and post traumatic stress
  • Problems related to challenging childhood experiences
  • Relationship difficulties

Fully compliant with the British Psychological Society (BPS) code of conduct

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked

Registered practitioner with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Dr Sara Hirst


Most of Sara’s clinical work has been with adults who have experienced trauma and who struggle with high levels of psychological distress. She currently provides psychological therapy within an NHS adolescent inpatient service alongside her private practice.

As a psychologist in Christchurch, Sara’s approach as a therapist is integrative, drawing heavily from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches. These include traditional CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassionate Focussed Therapy (CFT). She is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic model for people who have experienced trauma and who struggle with post-traumatic stress and anxiety. You can read more about these models on the Therapy page.

Sara is also trained in organisational consultancy and has provided consultation to teams within NHS and other statutory services, including probation services. She is experienced in helping teams to think through complex issues linked to organisational change, periods of uncertainty and instability, in ways that help professionals to understand the main difficulties and find solutions to move them forward.

It is very important to Sara that people feel secure enough within therapy to be able to engage with the difficulties that have led them to seek help. She is committed to ensuring that the people she works with feel supported, respected, understood and in control of which direction the therapy is heading in.

Sara is chartered with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and registered as a practitioner with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). She has full indemnity insurance to provide therapy and consultation, and has full disclosure and barring service checks completed (DBS). Sara receives regular clinical supervision in relation to the assessment and therapy she provides, in line with the BPS code of conduct.

Choosing to work with a Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work by supporting and guiding people towards making change in their lives through the delivery of evidence-based psychological therapies. Other professionals such as psychotherapists or counsellors are able to deliver talking therapies and psychiatrists generally manage mental health difficulties by prescribing medication. However, the unique strengths of a clinical psychologist are they are trained in multiple models of therapy at a doctoral level. Their training includes research into the effectiveness of different therapies.

This level of training allows clinical psychologists to develop and refine the effective of the individualised treatment approaches that they provide. Clinical psychologists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council, which ensures a high level of competency and expertise. They will have worked in a variety of contexts and with a range of client groups including individuals, families, and organisations. Clinical Psychologists will often have had experience of a broad range of NHS settings, giving them the opportunity to develop the quality of their work through their varied roles. They work according to best practice guidelines such as those produced by the National Institute for Clinical Excellenceand the Department of Health.