What attracted you to become a therapist?
I possess a questioning, curious and investigative mind, and find people and their motivations, life experiences and desires fascinating. I am greatly influenced by and interested in, imagery, imagination, phantasy and metaphor. Therefore, training as a psychotherapist was very appealing to me. My hope in becoming a psychotherapist was that I would learn to listen to people more carefully, to understand them and their difficulties more clearly and that I would be engaged in a meaningful profession.
Where did you train?
I completed my training, four and a half years in total, which consisted of a Certificate in Counselling Skills, Foundation Degree in Counselling and Degree in Counselling, at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. The final degree year of my training was accredited by Middlesex University.
What sort of people do you usually see?
In my experience there is no ‘usual’ within psychotherapy, and my diverse practice in East London reflects this. I work with adults from differing backgrounds and from a broad age range, between 20 - 75. Common presenting difficulties often relate to differing forms of anxiety centred around relationships, life challenges or work. Quite often I find that people have a sense that something in their life does not feel right, manageable or fully understood, and they seek a way to explore these unknown feelings or experiences in their lives. Due to my extensive experience working within loss and bereavement, I often work with people who have have encountered a death in their life.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I very much enjoy the creativity involved within psychotherapy, the piecing together of elements or experiences in a person's life which at first seem unrelated, but at closer inspection, are deeply connected. I enjoy working with clients to explore their past and historic relationships, experiences and difficulties, and find the mystery and unknown within psychotherapy very interesting, and also challenging at times. It is a deeply enriching and rewarding experience to assist an individual in making sense of their own mind, of providing them a space to be heard, understood and valued.
What is less pleasant?
I don't think I would view it as less pleasant, however, the isolation sometimes involved in private practice, can be difficult to manage. This is where self-care and external activities such as personal psychotherapy, supervision and peer supervision become so important.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for about two years. I find their approach refreshing, and appreciate their responsiveness to the changing landscape of psychotherapy. They also offer the chance to write and promote content, such as this, which is highly useful in growing a practice.
I tried the booking and payment system, and I am not entirely convinced. The booking of sessions and arranging of payment is an important element of my work and I like doing it myself. I find that a partially automated system detracts in some way from this process. This being said, I am still considering using this system again in the future.
Have you joined the welldoing.org Therapist Community on Facebook?
I am on social media very rarely, and tend to avoid these types of forums. In my experience, forums can often lack boundaries and client material which should be located and discussed within supervision or personal psychotherapy often leaks out into the online world.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I tend to avoid suggesting external material to clients except in rare circumstances. I feel that suggestions should be thought about carefully. I am keen to avoid falling into the category of advice giving or coaching, areas I do not work within.
What you do for your own mental health?
As well as being a psychotherapist, I have for 16 years, been a musician. I produce and compose music electronically, rap and write songs and regularly release music under two distinct personas - Epileptic MC (vocal and rap) and Metos (instrumental). You can search these two artist names on Spotify to find my music. Music is an incredibly important part or who I am, and my creative background and experience informs and influences my work as a psychotherapist. Additionally, I swim four times a week.
You are a therapist in East London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
My consulting room is housed in an Old Fire Station, and is located in Shoreditch, East London. The building is very interesting and unique. Given the location of my practice, I often work with individuals from creative backgrounds. Those working within advertising, graphic design and film production, as well as musicians and artists. I very much enjoy working in this location, and enjoy it's vibrant energy and character.
What’s your consultation room like?
My room is small, and subtle, but also warm and friendly with soft lighting. I have a sofa and one chair and two small side tables. There are a few objects within the room, such as a painting on the wall, a small wooden carved elephant and a collection of stones, some quartz some labradorite. I find that these different objects can be used within the work and provide a useful insight into a client's internal world.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
To engage in psychotherapy does not mean you are mad, and a prerequisite is not that you must have experienced or be experiencing complex or deeply traumatic events. Working with a psychotherapist is also not something of which you need feel ashamed or embarrassed about. I wish people understood that psychotherapy is a wonderful opportunity to enrich their lives through the deepened exploration of their own mind, past and present relationships, experiences and life events. It can provide much deeper clarity and psychological understanding, and is an experience which, when committed to fully, can bring about long lasting change and development.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I have been in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for 12 plus years, and continue to work with my psychotherapist each week. It continues to be a deeply moving and meaningful experience that has taught me to understand, manage and tolerate difficult thoughts and experiences. It has in some ways, been one of the most important experiences of my life, and has given me a deepened insight into my own mind and allowed me to explore key relationships, experiences and events within my life.
Twitter - @jmilestherapy