What attracted you to become a therapist?
I spent many years in education and found myself counselling and supporting colleagues, parents and children. I had previously done a diploma in Educational Therapy and this seemed the logical step. I also wasn’t ready to retire and have a quiet life!
Where did you train?
The Metanoia Institute, Ealing, London.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am a transactional analysis psychotherapist. It offers quite simple models and ideas that clients can grasp and use to understand their emotional development. It helps clients to visualise aspects of themselves. I don’t use theory immediately and perhaps not at all with some clients but it can be very helpful in providing a framework with each client. In practice I feel I am becoming a more relational therapist.
How does transactional analysis help with symptoms of low self-esteem?
Using the idea of script analysis I can guide the client to understand how their upbringing and influence of key adults in their early life, have shaped how they respond to certain emotional situations. Additionally I would use the three ego state model to evaluate the impact of how Parental influences have impacted the Child part of a client, which in turn might have affected the development of their Adult ego state. (I may or may not share the actual theory with a client).
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with couples and individuals, male and female, different sexualities. I work with heterosexual and same-sex couples. My clients are usually between the ages of 25 and 50. The most common issues are anxiety, depression, relationship issues, low self-esteem, sexuality and self-confidence.
What do you like about being a therapist?
It’s a privilege to be involved with a person’s emotional journey. I enjoy, despite some often very challenging stories, the opportunity of working with a person who has decided they want to look at themselves or their lives and try to understand themselves more and try to make changes to be less troubled and hopefully happier and more content.
What is less pleasant?
Some stories are quite harrowing and being able to manage myself in carrying those stories can be challenging and occasionally overwhelming, but supervision and peer support is very important in getting support for myself.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have only been with welldoing.org since March. You are a very friendly group and communicate with me on various things of interest. You encourage me to get involved.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes occasionally. Depends on the clients issues but one example is The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs. It can help my gay male clients understand the often common path young gay men take as they discover who they are.
What you do for your own mental health?
I read outside my work, enjoy films, the gym, seeing friends. I don’t do enough at the moment.
You are a therapist in Central London (Euston). What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
It’s very central and public transport links are very easy. My room is five minutes’ walk for the tube station just opposite. So it is easy for clients to get to me.
What’s your consultation room like?
My room is very well appointed. I rent several hours per week. It is in a purpose-designed building which offers suites of rooms or individual rooms for businesses. My room is tastefully decorated, comfortable, with a few plants, a large sofa opposite my chair. Nothing too distracting but it feels safe and is also quiet. There is a reception area and the whole feel of coming to the room is professional but informal.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it is something that can be enormously valuable but that it can take time for a client to work out aspects of themselves that can allow them to feel more accepting of themselves. I find younger clients want a quick fix rather than the longer experience and holding them can be very challenging.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
As I am in therapy as a continuing part of my training (I have my final dissertation and CTA exam to do this coming November and May 2020), it is almost impossible not to link some of my client work to my own personal story. I interlink in many ways with most of my clients. It can feel overwhelming at times, as if I’m in constant therapy! But that’s part of ‘the stretch’ for me!