Meet the Therapist: Anna Keen
What attracted you to become a counsellor?
After many years working in the private sector in business and experiencing some of my own personal life challenges, I felt like I had much more to offer and wanted to change my career to be involved in something meaningful. I have always been interested in people so embarked on my counselling training.
Where did you train?
I trained at Bromley College in Kent doing a BACP Accredited Higher National Diploma in Integrative Counselling. I completed my EMDR training with EMDR Works in London. I trained as a supervisor with Community Counsellor Training in Canterbury.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I chose integrative counselling as I felt it would give more choice to clients about how they want to approach their issues. It means that I can draw on a broader range of theories tailored to what each client brings and help clients work on what is within their awareness as well as identifying and working with the deeper psychological roots of their problems.
How does integrative counselling help with symptoms of bereavement?
It can support people at whatever stage of grief they are at. Sometimes we do not have anyone that we can talk to fully about a loss and we also may often be in a role of supporting others so our process is stunted or delayed. Integrative counselling can help people move through their process more effectively by providing a calm and safe environment to speak freely and express emotions without judgement and helping clients recognise and accept their own unique grieving process.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see adult individuals aged from 18 onwards on a range of different issues. Some, but not all, of the common difficulties that I come across with clients are low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, abuse, work related problems, bereavement and relationship difficulties – whether that be with their parents or children, friends or partners.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love the fact that each day is different and I am able to build unique relationships with all my clients.
What is less pleasant?
Having a private practice can involve lots of administrative tasks too which can be very time consuming.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for three months now and really like the articles that are sent through to me by email.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I do suggest books if I have read them myself like Through Grief, a Bereavement Journey by Elizabeth Collick. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger & Christine A Padesky. There are a set of mental health apps accessible through the NHS website and I sometimes suggest the Headspace app to clients.
What you do for your own mental health?
I make sure I exercise well and eat relatively healthily and that I have a varied social life outside work. I love outside space and find walking in the woods or park relaxing.
What’s your consultation room like?
My room is fresh, quiet and comfortable with two comfy armchairs. It is within the Maidstone Community Support Centre which houses all different organisations that help the community in some way so it has a very supportive and friendly feel generally. There’s a great café together with a waiting area and toilet facilities. It has a little garden at the back of the Centre too. It dates back to 1891 and used to house the nurses who worked at the hospital that was previously situated across the road.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it’s not just for people who have severe issues, that it can be for anyone wanting to improve their psychological health and their lives. I went into my own therapy as part of my training thinking I didn’t really need it, I was coping with my life OK, but realised that I had a lot more to learn about myself than I was aware of.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Lots of things, but one of the main things was to value myself more and know that I am as important as anyone else. I do not think we ever get to the point where we have nothing left to learn about ourselves so are always a work in progress.