Meet The Therapist: Tom Sobel
Tom Sobel is an online counsellor who also works in W1 and EC1
What attracted you to become a therapist?
Growing up I wanted to become many things. However, it was not until I was at University I knew I wanted to become a therapist. Whilst at University (in North Carolina USA), a man with schizophrenia who had stopped his medication went on a shooting rampage on campus. Fortunately, I was not near the incident on campus, however I had to work in a local pub that afternoon and the man’s best friend came in and was just in shock and bewilderment. As it was slow I sat and talked with him for a couple of hours. That night, I knew that becoming a therapist was what I wanted to do. I have also made it my philosophy to make sure friends and family members of people suffering with a mental illness are not forgotten.
Where did you train?
I received at Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, in North Carolina USA. I then received a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from Argosy University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I received my education and training in the United States, so I consider myself an integrative therapist. This allows me to treat each person I see as an individual and can use elements of various therapies and schools of psychology.
What sort of people do you usually see?
The majority of people I see are working professionals, students and older adults. Additionally I work with many LGBTQ+ clients.
What do you like about being a therapist?
There is nothing better than when someone I am working with has what I call an “Ah ha!” moment. That is the moment when a person finds their own answer through self-discovery, which is more powerful and meaningful than me just telling them what to do.
What is less pleasant?
For me the least pleasant aspect of being a therapist is maintaining my own boundaries outside of work. When someone finds out for the first time what I do, the worse part is the same old joke “Are you analysing me now?” I’m sure most professions have a similar joke!
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org, as well as their therapist community on Facebook since July 2018 and find it an excellent resource that allows you to find a therapist that matches well with you and what you are seeking. Additionally, people are able to look at my availability and book directly with me.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes, there are times that I suggest certain books for my clients… Books and articles can be useful resources to help clients process their emotions, as well as providing a feeling of universality, which allows them to realise they are not alone. I also have recently found some Apps that my clients can use outside of therapy that help, especially with anxiety, insomnia, and mindfulness.
What you do for your own mental health?
It’s important for me as a therapist to have a proper work-life balance and make sure I do enough self-care. Music is one of my biggest passions, so if I have had a rough day, I can put on a certain album or playlist and that helps me relax. Additionally, being physically active helps me… to either expel my frustrations or to gain those feel-good endorphins.
You are a therapist in W1, EC1, and Online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
Both of my Central London locations offer the convenience of having close tube and bus links. For people who are too busy or need additional privacy, I also offer home and office visits within Central London. In addition, I offer therapy online using the latest and most secure systems for people who find it difficult to take the time to travel to my offices, those who travel, and those who suffer from social anxieties and find it difficult to travel when they begin therapy.
I feel that both offices provide those who work in London (Central, North and NorthWest) a convenient oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city where we can talk.
What’s your consultation room like?
Both offices where I practice are warm and inviting with tranquil colours and furnishings. They both offer a receptionist who will make sure you are looked after whilst waiting for your appointment with me.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I want people to know that it takes strength to ask for help; it is not a weakness.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
For myself, therapy offered me a chance to safely explore myself and have someone support me, listen to me, and help provide alternative perspectives towards my thoughts and helped me to become more mindful and aware of my own thoughts.