Meet The Therapist: Fiona Mallin
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I wanted a career that offered human interaction and one that would help myself and others to become emotionally richer and not just financially better off.
Where did you train?
I trained at Birkbeck College, part of the University of London. I have also undertaken training at the Anna Freud Centre and the Tavistock.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Although my training is in psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy I incorporate other models when I feel that it would benefit my clients. The psychodynamic model helps clients to understand how they relate to others and how their personal history can impact on their current situation. I chose it because it felt more authentic to me to approach an issue from a position of curiosity and discover the root cause of why a person might feel the way that they do rather than simply trying to get them to stop feeling or behaving in a particular way.
How does psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy help with symptoms of infertility or Tokophobia?
Many of my clients have never spoken to anyone about their struggle to conceive, the failure of treatment or their fears about childbirth. It can be an enormous relief to sit with someone who has no agenda and discover that they are not alone in feeling the way that they do.
Fertility treatment can feel lonely, isolating and sometimes frightening and many people do not want to discuss these feelings with their family or friends because they feel so personal. It can be hard to cope with these feelings especially when your friends seem to be having babies easily. Women suffering from Tokophobia (fear of pregnancy) can feel ashamed and not sure that their fears will be taken seriously. Therapy can help them to explore those fears and guide them through the process of trying to overcome them if that is what the client decides that they would like to do.
What sort of people do you usually see?
My typical clients are usually in their mid- twenties to late forties. In my general practice I see clients suffering from work-related issues, stress, relationship difficulties, bereavement etc. I also see clients undergoing fertility treatment and those who have suffered the loss of a child as well as clients with Tokophobia and clients considering gamete donation and surrogacy.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love the variety of the work and feel privileged to be able to help people at some of the most difficult and painful times of their lives. I also enjoy the relationships that I develop with my clients and the experience of witnessing the highs and lows of life with them.
What is less pleasant?
Practice administration, paperwork and making sure that all my work is GDPR compliant.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what do you think of us?
I joined welldoing.org earlier this year and have been impressed with how user friendly it is. I particularly like the matching service and the fact that the articles are usually the right length to read with a cup of coffee.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to your clients?
I often recommend Calm or Headspace to my clients as they are usually working in very demanding and time consuming roles that can be difficult to switch off from. I rarely suggest books to my clients as many of them have read extensively on what is worrying them before they come to see me.
What do you do for your own mental health?
I play netball, go to barre classes and stroke my very lazy cat.
You are a therapist working in the City of London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I am surrounded by financial institutions and law firms and based next to the Bank of England, so most of my clients are professionals who are used to fast-paced, convenient environments. As a result I need to keep my practice flexible and responsive whilst providing a calm and reflective space for clients.
Clients in the City are definitely time poor! Many of my clients see me in their lunch hour or take an hour out during their working day. However, organisations are becoming increasingly forward thinking and beginning to view therapy as a way to support and retain their employees. Many are allowing their staff time off to attend appointments or asking me to come ‘in house’.
What is your consultation room like?
I like to think of it as an oasis of calm in the middle of the City. It is quiet and comfortable with gentle lighting and lots of books and plants.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That they don’t have to wait until they hit rock bottom before doing something that could radically change their lives for the better.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That no human being goes through life without pain or suffering. That the actions of others and of situations beyond our control need not be a source of shame and that real long-term happiness and satisfaction with life is possible.
Please let us know about your social media profiles.
I am happy for you to connect to my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles: