Meet the Therapist: Felicia Cameron
What attracted you to become a therapist?
If we have adverse early childhood experiences, the impact can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. Early mental health difficulties, experiences of substance misuse, relationship difficulties are all key things that can bring people to therapy.
I was attracted to train as a counsellor to help people overcome these difficulties.
Where did you train?
I completed my BSc Degree in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) at Stratford university centre, and I have worked in various drug and alcohol services since 2006 including Rugby House, Touchstone and Westminster drugs project, where I completed my NVQ Level 3 in health and social care. I continue to evolve as a therapist through continued professional development.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Imagine that three people witness a traumatic event, at the same time.
The first person is angry, because she believes she could have done something sooner to prevent it. The second person is anxious, because he feels the victims may be badly hurt. The third person is triggered by an acute stress response and flees.
These three different emotional reactions all arise in response to the same event. This is one of the core ideas of cognitive behavioural therapy, that our reactions to events are powerfully influenced by the way we view the event. Your perception of an event is as important as the event itself; the way you think will affect the way you feel.
CBT teaches clients that we have more ways of seeing a situation and that their perception is a matter of choice. Also CBT helps clients develop and maintain a more helpful way of tackling their problems in the future.
I also chose CBT because it deals with the here and now.
How does CBT help with symptoms of anxiety?
The goal of CBT is to identify the negative ways a person thinks about an event, and the belief they put behind it.
CBT is effective because it teaches you skills, changing the way you think so you can change the way you feel.
Life is an emotional rollercoaster – CBT can help you learn to ride it safely through its ups and downs.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see young people from age 14 onwards, individuals, adults, older adults, couples.
And the difficulties that I can help with:
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Health anxiety
- Low self-confidence and low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Postnatal depression
- Relationship difficulties
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Sexual, physical and emotional abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
- Young carers
- Personality disorders
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love helping people learn about themselves and teaching them to become their own therapist, equipping them with the tools they need for a happier life.
I love providing a confidential space, where trust can be built and clients feel safe. I like seeing clients make progress and work towards their goals.
What is less pleasant?
Knowing a client’s story and the intensity of what they have been through, as well as some clients' reluctance or hesitation regarding attending therapy and how long they have been trying, painfully, to work through their problems themselves.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
Only a short time, however, what I like about the site and what they offer: the free counselling help for NHS staff and the meet the therapist interviews, which are an excellent way of understanding what the therapist is about and how they practise. All in all, welldoing.org is a very established, fundamental platform for providing helping professional the opportunity to support others.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I often set 'homework', this allows clients to test and modify their thoughts and beliefs in real-life situations.
This usually includes a mixture of cognitive tasks, such as reading, listening, writing and imagery, and also behavioural tasks including activity scheduling, graded task assignments and experiments.
What you do for your own mental health?
I go for slow walks in a beautiful green scenery. I enjoy watching old films and documentaries. I enjoy cooking and inventing new dishes, finding out what ingredients work well together.
I enjoy talking with others about various things and learning new things. And working with clients to achieve a more balanced life.
You are a therapist in Goodmayes. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I work in Goodmayes. It is a suburban area, surrounded by different cultures and a lot of parks and it is quiet a peaceful place to live. However, my client base is from across the country, and currently due to Covid 19 and restrictions, I am working remotely, online.
What Is your consultation room like?
White and grey, with healthy plants. It is warm and comfortable; it provides confidentiality in terms of both sound and vision.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it is a slow process. That we aren't doctors and cannot solve the problem straight away.
That when I am having a session with you, I am focused on just you.
And that their problem does not define who they are; making that first step is the beginning of a much brighter future.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
My mental health and wellbeing are especially important.
I can overcome situations if I work on them.
And all counselling approaches are effective.