Areas of expertise
Technology to improve and modernize psychological care
I first wrote a computer program in my PhD studies to help those with anxiety associated with stuttering. After this I created an online treatment for social anxiety for anyone around the globe (www.ai-therapy.com). This fully automated intervention is called Overcome Social Anxiety and we have published an RCT & real-world study demonstrating that it is helping those who suffer. The next product I launched in 2015 was Overcome Fertility Related stress, which incorporates the latest technologies and improved usability aimed at helping those who struggle with conception using CBT to target the psychological side of that problem. Finally, I have also run my own clinic since 2008 and been studying and working in psychology for 20 years. In my clinical work over the years I have been developing online tools in order to maximize and measure the benefit from the evidence based techniques I administer in my clinical practice. For my clinical practice innovations and my PhD research I was awarded the prestigious Tracey Goodall Early Career Award, which recognizes research and clinical innovation in the field of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Social anxiety, Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder & performance Anxiety
In my clinical work & training in Australia, Canada, Oxford, U.K. and Iceland I have encountered thousands presentations of how anxiety looks like in the real world. Therefore, I see a wide variety and complex presentations of anxiety having debilitating impact on people’s lives. Also, I have been conducting peer-reviewed research in this area for more than a decade. My publications include papers on fear of blushing, fear of stuttering, performance anxiety and online treatments to tackle social anxiety. You can read more about my publications here.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
I have been fortunate enough that have been able to both train and practice professionally at a clinics that are known in each cities (Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada) to be the top clinics for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment. So I have learned from the best and have specialized in complex OCD for the past decade. OCD is one of the more complicated mental health problems and I have been fascinated by the theoretically driven and effective treatment we have for this problem. I have published a couple of research articles on the role of magical thinking in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder maintenance.
Eating disorders / Body Dysmporhic disorder
When I worked as a senior research clinician at Oxford University in the UK, I worked with several of the leading clinical researchers in eating disorders. Therefore, I have a deep understanding on how eating disorders work. Also, both in my training to become a clinical psychologist and in my practice in Canada and Australia I have worked with hundreds of different individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder for the past 15 years.
Depression, behavioral activation & goal setting
In my Postgraduate clinical training and in my early days practice, I treated individuals with depression using the evidenced based standard Beckian, Ellis, and mindfulness based approaches treatments. However, at Oxford I learned from one of the leading researcher in a sub-brand of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, called Behavioral Activation. This changed my paradigm. so for the past 5 years I haveI changed the type of cognitive behavior therapy I use in my face-to-face treatment, where I find I can be more effective. Behavioral activation is not only good method used to overcome depression, it also fits in with my worldview of using excel to achieve your goals in life. Personally I use Behavioral Activation techniques to plan my marathon running & travellng. To date, I have finished 6 full marathons and counting…
Dr. Fjóla & Kompaní (is & CA) & Hugræna Atferlisstöðin í reykjavík, Reykjavik, Iceland
August 2018 - Present
I currently runs 3 businesses:
Dr. Fjola Helgadottir Psychology Corp. in BC, Canada. Dr. Helgadottir sees clients via e-Services and is fully registered within the College of Psychologist in British Columbia and is a CACBT-ACTCC certified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Canada.
AI-Therapy (AICBT Consulting) Innovative online social anxiety treatment, and Overcome fertility related stress. I have been the director of AI-Therapy since 2012. We conduct cutting edge research and develop innovative online treatment protocols at AI-Therapy company. See publications here
CBT practice in Reykjavik, Dr. Fjóla & Kompaní where I see clients face-to-face and utilize technology and e-Services to enhance outcomes at Klapparstígur 25-27, 2nd Floor, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. I also offers supervision for other therapists and host talks and workshops. See our latest event in July 15th, 2019, Why is death a taboo?
Vancouver CBT Centre, Phd registered psychologist, Vancouver, BC Canada
2016 - 2018
I worked in a group practice with several leaders in our field in clinical psychology. The description for the clinic is the following: “We are a group of psychologists with extensive and specialized experience in evidence-based treatments, including cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT). The Vancouver CBT Centre was originally founded by the clinical team from the former UBC Anxiety Disorders Clinic. We specialize in treating complex and severely disabling anxiety disorders, as well as clinical depression and eating disorders”
Oxford University, department of psychiatry, senior research clinician and clinical psychologist, Oxford, United Kingdom
My research focused on using modern technology to disseminate evidence based psychological treatments. Most people do not receive such treatments and technology is one key to solving this problem. The project that I was involved with was designing and building web-based therapist training programs in the fields of eating disorders and depression. This work was funded through a Wellcome Strategic Award. I also worked as a clinical psychologist treating eating disorders using CBT-E. See more here.
I also have expertise in designing and implementing treatment programs that use simulated therapist assistance. An example of this work is AI-Therapy, an online program to help people overcome social anxiety.
Clinical training and professional practice, Perth & Sydney, Australia
2005 - 2011
2005. External Clinical Placements in Perth: Transby college, Murdoch ADHD test lab, and private practice in Perth
2006 I worked with 4 different supervisors at the Murdoch University Psychology Clinic. The format of this training was videotaped therapy session reviewed with a supervisor every week. 2 placement was work with children and 2 placements were with adults. The supervisors adhered to a range of different psychological schools.
2007-2008. Royal North Shore hospital, Pain Management Research Institute & Spinal Cord Injury Unit. I was working with patients with chronic pain and spinal cord injuries delivering individual and group CBT in a multidisciplinary team.
2007-2008. Prince of Wales Hospital, Medical Oncology.
2008-2011. Ross Menzies Outpatient Clinic & after completing my training in complex anxiety problems I founded my own clinic named Fjola Dogg Helgadottir:
I ran very busy evidence-based clinical psychology practice in Glebe, Sydney, Australia. I treated wide ranged of mentaI health problems such as depression and anxiety. In addition I also worked on number of court cases as an expert witness. I worked as a Specialist Clinical Psychologist working mainly under the Medicare Better Access Scheme receiving regular referrals from over 50 General Practitioners.
University of sydney, Australia
PhD in psychology.
Thesis title:Bridging the gap in internet treatments for mental health: A fully automated online cognitive behaviour therapy for social anxiety for those who stutter.
Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia
Postgraduate Diploma of Psychology and Masters of Applied Clinical Psychology (3 years clinical training).
Thesis Title: The role of magical thinking in symptoms of psychopathology in a university undergraduate sample in Iceland.
Thesis title: Is facial redness more intense among patients who seek treatment for fear of blushing than among the normal population?
Graduated 2006 and 2008
University Of Iceland, ReykjavIk Iceland
Bachelor of Psychology and additional units in computer science.