Meet the Therapist: Bola Shonubi
What attracted you to become a therapist?
Becoming a therapist was something that I had a great interest in from a very, very early age. I wanted to listen to people, help them understand themselves and ultimately give hope and help them to resolve their difficulties.
As I matured and got older I began to look for organisations where I could volunteer to just listen and be there for people that were facing difficult times in their lives. I started volunteering at Mencap (now called Mind). I realised that this was a calling/vocation and decided to find out how to train to become a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist. I started training in 1998 while working within another industry that I knew I would be leaving to follow my calling.
Where did you train?
I trained at Birkbeck College, University of London where I obtained a Master of Science (MSc) in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy. I also obtained my higher Certificate in Counselling from Birkbeck College.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see adults ranging from the age of 21 to the late sixties. Individuals who are genuinely interested in exploring themselves and are looking for understanding as to why they behave the way they do. For example, trying to understand why they seem to continually make the “wrong” choices or decisions in relationships or an inability to form a “healthy” relationship. I see individuals who seem to “have it all” but still feel “empty” or troubled inside.
I see individuals with very complex, deep seated difficulties, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety, eating disorders and depression. Individuals who have been sexually abused or abused in other ways. People who have suffered domestic abuse.
I also see clients that may not have long-term difficulties but have maybe been thrown off course due to a traumatic life event such as a divorce or breakup of a relationship, redundancy or loss of a job, pet. Experiences that they are finding hard to overcome or don’t know how to overcome.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The fact that people feel that I am “there” for them, that they can trust me and reveal the deepest parts of themselves to me knowing that I am there not to advise or to direct them but to help them understand themselves which gives them hope of change. It is also very rewarding when individuals have come to the end of their therapy and tell me that they can see how therapy has helped them in ways that when they started they never thought would be possible.
What is less pleasant?
When individuals treat therapy as something that should “magic” all problems away after one or two sessions without any commitment or work from themselves.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org since January 2018. I think that welldoing.org is excellent in taking out the difficulty that some individuals might face in finding a therapist that is suitable for them. Some individuals know that they need a therapist but haven’t got a clue what type of therapy would be best for them. The questionnaire that welldoing.org offers individuals at the beginning of their search for a therapist, matches the most suitable therapist and type of therapy to them.
Welldoing.org also gives qualified professional therapists a very reputable platform for prospective clients to find them.
Have you used the booking and payment system? And how do you find that?
I have used the booking and payment system and I find it makes booking sessions much easier, as the prospective client can book an appointment via my diary, which they can view on the website. Prospective clients can also pay for the session that they have booked after I have confirmed their booking. This takes a lot of uncertainty out of the booking and payment of the sessions, as everything is confirmed in advance of the first and subsequent sessions.
Have you joined the welldoing.org Therapist Community on Facebook? If so, how did you find it?
Yes I have joined and I have found it quite helpful as there are lots of helpful articles to read that have been posted by my fellow therapists. It really does feel like a community as you know that you are not alone and can find support from fellow therapists on the page. This is helpful, as being a therapist in private practice can sometimes feel a little isolating.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Because of the modality of the therapy I practice which is Psychodynamic, which deals with a client’s unconscious processes, I do not suggest apps or books. I prefer to deal with the material that the client brings into the therapy room, in the form of their emotions, thinking, dreams, associations etc., so that they can be explored and analysed.
What you do for your own mental health?
Being a psychotherapist can be quite taxing mentally, as I see individuals with very complex and deep rooted issues. In order to look after my own mental health and give my clients my best, I also see a therapist. My therapist helps me explore, analyse and understand my emotions, feelings and thinking processes.
I also try to run at least three times a week as a fit body helps me keep a fit mind.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation rooms are welcoming and I try to make them as relaxing for my clients as possible. There is neutral art on the walls and warm, soothing lighting provided by standing lamps. There is also air conditioning which makes the room a very comforting and relaxing haven when it is very hot outside and pleasantly warm when it is very cold outside. The furniture and walls are also neutral in colour. There are tissues and water at clients’ disposal which they are free to use during their sessions.
The reception area is very welcoming as well, it is a quiet, soothing space with very helpful and pleasant receptionists.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That therapy can really help them in understanding themselves which can bring about healing and relief from long standing issues such as anxiety, depression and other issues. Talking therapy can also help promote physical wellbeing as our psychological wellbeing can have a profound effect on our physical health.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I have learnt a great deal about myself and in therapy and still am learning. I have learnt that facing my deep seated fears and understanding where they have originated from has helped me overcome them and move forward in the areas of my life that they had detrimentally affected.