Functional Neurological Disorder Psychologist (FND)

Psycholologist Jo England has the training and experience to provide a treatment program for Functional neurological disorder (FND). FND symptoms are the second most common reason for an initial Neurology appointment and later with a psychologist. Only referrals for headaches or migraines are greater in number than FND. FND is common in children and adults.

Symptoms of Functional Neurological Disorder

  • Weakness or paralysis.
  • Abnormal movement, such as tremors or difficulty walking.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Difficulty swallowing or feeling “a lump in the throat”
  • Seizures or episodes of shaking and apparent loss of consciousness (nonepileptic seizures)
  • Episodes of unresponsiveness.

FND specialists have described FND as a problem with the brain’s software. Like a computer the brain has hardware such as size, organisational locations, and capacities. The brain also has software which operates the communication system between itself, the outside world and the body. FND is problems with the software part of the brain.

Usually an event occurs, sometimes an illness, an accident, or a shock of some description which interferes with the automatic functioning, or the software, of the brain. In FND this can occur in movement disorders, walking or paralysis in one part of the body. FND contains symptoms of altered or loss of consciousness, and these are called dissociative attacks. Seizures are an example of this.

When the symptoms are of a physical loss of functioning a specially trained FND Physio is the most therapeutic choice. Sometimes there have been predisposing factors of adverse early experiences, or the tendency to dissociate as a way to cope. IN these cases referral to a functional neurological disorder psychologist is appropriate. Research shows the witnessing or experiencing of neurological difficulties in childhood can predispose someone to FND. When these adverse early experiences are triggered by an event later in life they can create an interference with the software of the brain. It is to these types of interference of functioning that Jo can help someone with FND.

Psychology Treatment – Functional Neurological Disorder

Jo will use an interpersonal therapy which is FND informed, and includes a gentle form of EMDR therapy to process the underlying threat of the early predisposing factors, as well as reprocessing the triggering event. This can allow the brain to return to it’s normal functioning regarding it’s software. This is only done in collaboration with the referring Neurologist or Neuropsychiatrist.

Jo worked for 18 months with Allied Neuro Therapy (ANT) a British neurological rehabilitation Clinic. Jo was a chartered psychologist in London UK, receiving employment and supervision for acquired brain injury treatment and support. Training and supervision for FND through her British Supervisor is ongoing, and now included in her work at Westbourne Park Psychology.

Some information on this website is taken from Professor Jon Stone’s research and website FND Action. Here is a link to explain more about FND.

Link to FND Action: