Meet the Therapist: Alison Isaacs
What attracted you to become a therapist?
After 31 years of epilepsy, in 2012 and at the age of 40 I underwent neurosurgery. At first, life without epilepsy was challenging, strange and frightening and no mental health support was offered to me at a time I really needed it. I had always had dreams of training as a counsellor but my condition meant I was unable to. Finally, I was able to realise my dreams, I enrolled onto a course in 2013 and haven’t looked back.
Where did you train?
I trained to Level 4 with Chrysalis.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I work integratively which means I can use a variety of techniques to suit the client’s individual needs. I favour the humanistic approach and also draw on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques. Neuroscience and compassion-focused therapy also play a big part in the work I do with my clients.
How does Integrative counselling help with symptoms of anxiety and low self-esteem?
The integrative, humanistic approach can help tremendously with both anxiety and low self-esteem. It highlights the importance of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness in developing a therapeutic relationship and also focuses on the human capacity to overcome hardship and pain.
Compassion-focused therapy can help the client to understand the way our threat system works and gives them the tools they need to help control the anxiety and boost their self-esteem
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with all ages from 12 upwards. I offer short-term and open-ended counselling for most difficulties but really enjoy working with anxiety, stress, depression and low self-esteem.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love my job and learn something new with each client. It is a privilege to work with my clients and I love having the opportunity to help them through their hard times.
Being in private practice also gives me the freedom to choose my own working hours and to just be me!
What is less pleasant?
Endings with clients can be difficult; they can disappear without notice which has been hard to deal with in the past.
Private practice can also be lonely and my supervisor has got me through many a moment when my own doubts and imposter syndrome have reared their heads.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’m very new to welldoing.org but I like the support I have had so far from the admin team, the look of the website and the wealth of information on it. I am looking forward to working with welldoing.org clients.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I always recommend How to Be Human by Ruby Wax, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight and the Calm app. All of which my clients have found really helpful.
What you do for your own mental health?
Myself and my husband are big nature lovers and enjoy an expedition to a nature reserve at the weekends. I also enjoy spending time at the seaside, music and good food. Alone time in the morning is a must for me before I start my day.
You are a therapist in Basingstoke and online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I am based in Basingstoke and see clients face-to-face from Basingstoke and the surrounding areas. The pandemic has made online therapy more acceptable and as a result I now work with clients from all over the country.
What’s your consultation room like?
My room has been described as an oasis of calm and, as I am a young peoples' counsellor, it is filled with all sorts of materials to get their creative minds flowing. I love using creative counselling with my adult clients too as it can be a great ice-breaker and produce many light-bulb moments!
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Counselling is the best self-care ever and can help you gain the confidence you need to feel better about yourself, reduce your stress and anxiety, explore your feelings and understand why you react to things in the way you do.
There doesn’t have to be anything ‘wrong’ with you and you don’t have to share anything you’re not comfortable sharing. Everything is taken at your own pace and a sense of humour is definitely needed in my counselling room!
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That I don’t need to keep everything to myself or feel ashamed of my past and who I am. Acceptance of the situation I’m in and most importantly, how do deal with my pesky anxiety.