What attracted you to become a therapist?
I’ve worked with people in education and health for many years in teaching, advocacy and mentoring and guidance roles. I found that I felt most fulfilled and most effective when listening and providing support. When I trained as a nutritionist, because I was fascinated with peoples’ relationship with food, I decided I wanted to learn about counselling. Once I embarked on the training I was hooked and here I am a full-time therapist!
Where did you train?
I did my initial qualifications at colleges in Stockport and Manchester and then my advanced clinical training in transactional analysis (TA) at Elan Training in Hale. I’ve also trained in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in Manchester.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Transactional analysis is a wonderful way of being curious about how people relate to each other. Using TA together, we can not only get to understand how you are feeling and behaving but also explore the reasons why!
I am also an ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) practitioner. ACT is an active form of therapy; It takes its name from one of its core messages; accept what is out of your personal control and commit to taking action that enriches your life. So, it’s about us working as a team. You will have strategies to act to move towards the life that you want to live and become the person that you want to be.
I have recently started meeting clients outside for walking therapy sessions. We still use the models I’ve described above but there are the added elements of the outside space, nature, fresh air and movement.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with individuals from the age of 18 upwards and I also work with couples. I’m a qualified nutritionist so I also work with people who have issues around eating.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I enjoy meeting and working with all sorts of different people. Seeing the positive changes in people and watching them flourish as the therapy progresses is wonderful.
What is less pleasant?
Being a therapist is such a sedentary vocation. I find sitting still for long periods of time challenging and that’s why I’ve trained to be a walking therapist. I now offer walking therapy sessions to clients as an alternative to our room-based sessions.
How long have you been with welldoing.org?
I’ve been with welldoing.org a few months now. The systems work well, and the staff are very helpful. I really enjoy the articles published on the website as well as being a member of the Facebook communities.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
One of my favourite books to suggest is Counselling for Toads by Robert de Board; it’s a great introduction to counselling and the counselling process. I also think the Happiness Trap and other books by Russ Harris are excellent; he talks such a lot of sense. I often recommend books and audiobooks by Pema Chodron: I especially like Start from Where You Are.
For couples I often recommend Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. The apps I recommend are ones such as Headspace, Buddify and Calm.
What do you do for your own mental health?
I have my own therapy as it’s recommended by the TA community that psychotherapists should have their own regular therapy sessions too. I also walk on my own or with friends or go to the gym. I use the apps I recommended above, and I absolutely love to read.
You are a therapist in M3, Manchester City Centre, and in Wilmslow. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
Both therapy practices are easily accessible by public transport from surrounding areas. Clients in Manchester usually live in the surrounding area or travel into Manchester for work. In Wilmslow it’s the same but clients often travel in from Macclesfield, Stockport or other parts of Cheshire to come for their sessions.
What are your consultations room like?
My rooms are warm and welcoming with comfortable chairs or sofas. They’re calm relaxing spaces. Therapy space outside is as varied as the seasons and the weather and of course our choice of route.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That just a few sessions can make such a difference to your life if you’re stuck with something. We join a gym or start exercising when we know we need to do something about our physical health so why not apply the same thinking and behaviour to your mental health too? You don’t need to be ‘unwell’ or in crisis to come to therapy.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I’m still learning. Along the way I’ve learnt about where my critical voice comes from and how to turn the volume down on it. I’ve learnt about what really matters to me and how I can be kinder to myself.