Amanda Stewart is a therapist in South East London and online

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I really wanted to do something that was worthwhile for both me and other people. Myself, so I could feel satisfied knowing that I’m doing something which aligns with my values; and for others, so I could help people who are stuck or struggling with something in their life.

Where did you train? 

I trained at the brilliant Quest Institute at Regent’s University in London. It was founded and is taught by Trevor Silvester who is a world-leader in hypnotic language. I did a diploma first, followed by a Master Practitioner course in Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

I practise something called cognitive hypnotherapy which is a modern type of therapy. It is not restricted to a particular therapeutic approach and is basically a mixture of talking therapy and hypnotherapy.

The hypnotherapy part is when suggestions are made to the unconscious which can help to effect change, and this is done through a light trance, which is just like the state you are in when absorbed in a book. It makes sense to get the unconscious involved when we try to make any changes as research has shown that up to 90% of our behaviour is directed by this part of our brain. So we are often making decisions based on subconscious emotions without even being aware of it!

For clients, this means that change can happen quite quickly. And once they realise that they can change ‘small’ things, they realise that they can change other, bigger things about themselves and their lives as well.  

I am also a coach and help people to make changes and do the stuff they want to do.

What does cognitive hypnotherapy help with?

Anything and everything – cognitive hypnotherapists don’t treat the label, we treat the individual. Lots of clients come for what essentially boils down to a limiting belief which is holding them back. A lot of us think we’re not lovable or loved and this can colour everything in our life. I work with people with anxiety, addictions, fears, self-esteem issues, trauma and so on.

What sort of people do you usually see?

Anxiety is a common issue, and it seems to be on the rise, especially with young people. They can experience emotions which seem overwhelming and they often need practical tools to deal with these as well as some input on the root causes of this. 

Anxiety is based on fear and there does seem to be a lot of people living with some sort of fear or stress.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

I think our society can be quite damaging generally because of the expectations we put on people and I can’t see that it’s getting any better. The pressure to be happy all the time is one of these; the idea that we can be happy by buying more stuff. This has the opposite effect and is a terrible message to be putting out. 

Our culture can make us more disconnected as well, when all research shows that we need close relationships to cope with the stresses of life. 

Then there are the ideas we absorb through cultural norms, like men shouldn’t show their emotions, which are so harmful.

What do you like about being a therapist?

I like helping people. I like to use the skills I have been trained for and then teaching these to people who can use them to make their lives better. It has a knock-on effect on the people they come into contact with as well.

What is less pleasant?

It’s sad when you know that people are struggling with issues for a long time, often by themselves. Though it does also show how resilient people are.

How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?

I’ve only been with welldoing for a couple of months. I do use the booking system and have just joined the Facebook group.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

I like the following books:

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. It’s about the link between the mind and our physical bodies and why we should listen to what our body is telling us.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen – good for changing habits.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. About why meaning in life is important for all of us.


What you do for your own mental health? 

I use breathing exercises and visualisation techniques when I feel anxious. Exercise is also really good. I make sure I get enough sleep and eat healthy food. 

There’s lots of things I do – looking after our mental health takes work, and we have to do it every day.

You are a therapist in SouthEast London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?

Everyone is different – this is London, after all!

What’s your consultation room like?

I rent two therapy rooms in South East London. But I work more online so I can work with anyone, no matter where they live. I believe therapy via Zoom is just as effective as face-to-face.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

That it’s not just for a certain type of person – it can be for anyone and everyone. And that you don’t have to have ‘serious’ problems; it might just be that you want to work on a better version of yourself.


What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

That I’m not as ‘bad’ as I thought I was (this was my limiting belief). And that I have to work on my mental health and put the effort in on a daily basis.

Contact Amanda here

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