Amy Westwick is a counsellor in Hackney, London


What attracted you to become a therapist?

I have always enjoyed working in a caring role and have an interest in how people respond to each other.  I have a degree in nursing which has allowed me to work with many people in different situations. My time as a nurse developed my interest in the different ways to support others. Experiences with my own mental wellbeing kindled my desire to become a therapist.   


Where did you train?

I trained at the Mary Ward Centre near Great Ormond Street hospital. The four years I was there had a profound effect on me and my life. I found the experiential elements of the course incredibly beneficial. It supported me to explore some very difficult and unforeseen parts of myself. The time and people I trained with hold a very dear place in my heart.


What sort of people do you usually see?

I work with people experiencing loss and grief, either from recent bereavement or more historical trauma. I also work with people who experience high levels of anxiety, depression and those who feel ill at ease with themselves and their relationships. 

Often people come to see me when they are at a point in their life when they feel stuck, their patterns of behaviour no longer work for them. This can be related to work, family or thoughts about their purpose or position in the world.


What do you like about being a therapist?

So many things! Mostly I feel a huge sense of privilege to be trusted to listen to and share the inner thoughts and experiences of others. Supporting people to reveal their own questions and answers is remarkably rewarding. I am fortunate to be in a profession that encourages me to develop my spirit of inquiry into the human condition and life in all its varieties.


What is less pleasant?

Knowing that many people are prevented from accessing therapy due to financial and cultural barriers. The financial insecurity that comes with being self-employed can be challenging at times too!


How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us? 

I joined welldoing.org the middle of this year, a colleague told me about it. I enjoy how the site feels like a shared space for both client and therapist. It supports clients to find the right therapist and provides articles by other therapists to assist colleagues

 

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

I have suggested apps to support breathing exercises.  I haven’t recommended any books, which surprises me as I am such an avid reader myself. This is something I need to explore.


What you do for your own mental health?

Learning to look after my own wellbeing has been a big part of my journey into becoming a therapist. I find great solace in walking in woods and open green spaces, being around nature has a very calming and grounding effect on me. I try to do this on a weekly basis. A long candle-lit bath and book is also a staple in my routine. The importance of self-compassion, physical exercise and quiet time alone is important to support wellbeing.


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

I see clients at HQ Therapy Haggerston branch, in Hackney London.  Many of my clients express surprise that there is a space nearby that has such a wide variety of therapists available.


What’s your consultation room like?

My consultation rooms at HQ Therapy feels secure and calming. They offer enough space to not feel confined and large enough for comfort. They both have very tactile art on the walls, which I think adds to the sense of holding to the space. 


What do you wish people knew about therapy?

Therapy is not a liner process. Sometimes exploring thoughts, emotions and experiences can take you in directions you don’t expect. Understanding our internal dialogue can take time and often means revisiting areas we may have thought we’d already dealt with.


What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

Re-visiting previously worked on issues can feel frustrating. I learned that developing patience and understanding of myself can lead to the perseverance needed to make long lasting changes for myself.