I trained in medicine in Florence, Italy, before completing a PhD in Experimental Psychology in Cambridge. I was passionate about research, particularly on how we make decisions and on the relationship between mind and brain.
After a few years of preclinical research I felt I wanted my work to be more practically useful. I went back to clinical work, completing my psychiatric training in Cambridge and in London. I was a clinical lecturer for the majority of this time. This allowed me to carry out research on the decision-making abnormalities associated with addiction.
I held consultant posts in addiction psychiatry in London and in Cambridge, before realising that working as a consultant in the public sector involved a lot of administrative activity, but little clinical, hands-on psychiatry. I have been working entirely in the private sector since April 2013.
I worked as visiting consultant at the Priory Roehampton. Now I have outpatient clinics at Cognacity and the London General Practice in Harley Street and at the Sloane Medical Practice in Chelsea. Cognacity is an association of psychiatrists and psychologists with a shared vision of mental health care.
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I have remained passionate about research and so evidence based practice is a core value in my clinical work. I feel research and clinical work should inform each other, in order to be truly relevant.
Choice is another important value in the practice of psychiatry. Patients must be in the driver’s seat of their treatment, for this to be effective. In my practice I make a point to offer my view, based on evidence, but leave patients in charge of their care.
Everything we do, as members of the helping profession, must be informed by a deep sense of compassion. There is growing literature on the specific brain mechanisms underlying the experience of compassion. Some of this literature suggests that a dysfunction of these mechanisms can become an important maintaining factor for a range of mental illnesses.
Besides addiction I also have a special interest in spirituality & mental illness. I am a member of the College of Mindful Clinicians and of the Spirituality special interest group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
I am keen that my work be relevant to people and not just an occupation. I previously sat on the Board of Trustees of two London based mental health charities.