Meet The Therapist: Jay Rai
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I’m drawn to the therapeutic field not only because I care deeply about people, but also because I find the emotional processes we go through deeply intriguing, especially once I get beneath the veneer of people.
Whilst my previous career in investment banking did provide a fascinating forum in which I could exercise my aptitude for finding solutions, I came to recognise that I was best-suited to a lifelong vocation which centred around compassionate, engaging and meaningful human interaction.
It took a while for me to arrive at the realisation that helping people to help themselves was my calling, although to those who know me the writing had been on the wall for a very long time. Often others can see potential and strength in us that we have yet to see in ourselves, and I feel grateful I can do the same for others as part of my vocation.
I have acquired extensive first-hand experience in evolving my own mindset, successfully navigating the challenges and overcoming the fears inherent in life’s journey, not least through my career transformation. These invaluable lessons and many more now form an integral part of my psychotherapeutic work. I help my clients to unearth the roots of their fears, guide them to empower themselves and from there, witness them create a life they truly desire.
I have built and shaped my practice around the fundamental belief that everyone deserves an accomplished, highly-resourced and determined ally who can walk their talk and champion them when life inevitably gets tough.
Where did you train?
I completed my initial training in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and REBT (rational emotive behaviour therapy) training with CCBT at Regent’s University in London, whilst gaining vital clinical experience working within one of the largest and most well-established mental health service providers in the UK, the Priory clinic. I went on to train in person-centred and integrative approaches within the clinic and I’m currently completing my MSc in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I feel lucky to be able to work with such a wide variety of people from all walks of life. However, my transition from banking to therapy enables me to connect with and understand city professionals, so my private clients are predominantly from that demographic.
Within my clinical work at a private rehabilitation centre in Notting Hill I treat clients suffering from alcoholism and addiction, self-harm, clinical depression, issues relating to co-dependency and much more. I have also partnered Battersea Yoga and Wellness Studio as their dedicated self-empowerment therapist, and provide regular seminars and workshops in addition to private therapy sessions.
I was recently invited by Google to speak to their Tech Hub in Shoreditch, where I engaged entrepreneurs and early-stage startups in a discussion around the psychological and therapeutic factors behind conquering fears and realising their vision.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Gosh! There are so many aspects which I find rewarding, but top of the list has to be that feeling that I’ve made a difference in people’s lives. I feel that it’s an honour to be allowed into the private world of another individual, to witness them develop themselves and go on to flourish. To be in a position to make a career out of my interest in psychology, self-improvement, positive-action theories and the roles that philosophy and spirituality play in our lives is an unbridled privilege.
It’s my firmly-held view that in order for me to offer my clients the best opportunity for self-actualisation, I have to meet them from my authentic self. I walk my own talk, feel the results and believe in the things I say.
What is less pleasant?
As a motivated entrepreneur I often have several projects running simultaneously, and because my clients deservedly take priority, for example, I’m sometimes unable to give as much time to my social media presence. The next hurdle, once I have completed my MSc, will be to take my business to the next level.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been on this platform for eight months and find it to be an excellent platform in bringing together therapists with potential clients. I've also joined the Facebook group though I don’t have as much time as I would like to read all the wonderful posts. Nevertheless, it is great to feel part of this community.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I do, Amazon’s Audible is a favourite amongst my clients as they can listen on their commute to and from work.
What you do for your own mental health?
I do so much, and always will because I feel the benefits. I’m a huge advocate of mindfulness, which I practice religiously morning and evening, and just as importantly, I practice self-acceptance. Through the vital support and encouragement of my best friends I stay accountable to myself. That strong support network provides me with perspectives I cannot always see which is crucial for mental wellbeing, and assists me in continuous growth and development.
I have a thirst for learning so I read at length, gather and cultivate resources, attend seminars and conferences. I often take deep inspiration from people who have not only survived but thrived in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
You are a therapist in Battersea, Liverpool Street, Oxford Street and online. What can you share about seeing clients in those areas?
These areas capture well the city professional clientele that I work with.
What’s your consultation room like?
To me, setting the right tone for the work is of paramount importance so I use high-specification rooms with contemporary designs that are free from distraction and also comfortable.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I often encounter significant misconceptions or expectations from people regarding what to expect from being in therapy, chiefly that the conversation will be monotonous or repetitive, long or drawn-out and focussed exclusively on the past whilst ignoring the present.
Whilst I would always create space for an exploration of my client’s history and any associated feelings, it is certainly not my therapeutic style to dwell on a person’s background or life history at the expense of direct and invigorating here-and-now engagement with my clients.
I pride myself on working actively to design interventions, exercises and considered pragmatic steps to address current life situations should the client choose, and I often sense my client’s surprise when they realise they are enjoying the process. The rate of progress in my therapy is set by the client, so it is very rewarding for those with an appetite for change and new coping strategies.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I see myself in a continuous process of unfolding and self-discovery. Each day brings new awareness and tools, be it through interactions with friends or family, strangers or clients. Life itself is of course a great therapist.