What attracted you to become a therapist?
I was working in behaviour change in the NHS and I was noticing more and more that clients would make changes while they were seeing me, but when they stopped, they couldn't maintain the changes. I started looking for what could help them to make more sustainable changes, and ways to empower them to maintain and build on the work they did with me.
Where did you train?
The UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, the UK's leading provider in training in cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, and Chrysalis, the UK's leading provider of hypnotherapy training.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practice an integration of hypnotherapy with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This means I have a broad range of techniques that I can tailor to the needs of each client. All these methods focus on empowering clients and facilitating them to be their own agents of change. I work to help clients to develop the skills and confidence to manage whatever situations they may face in life, now and in the future.
Hypnotherapy is a holistic therapy and we look at a client's life as a whole to find the approach that works for them. Working at the clients pace, hypnotherapy can help to change the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are causing their problems. Once clients understand their patterns of behaviour and what drives them, they have the key to making changes that last.
I see my role as supporting clients to live a happier life. I believe each and every person is an unique individual with their own values and goals. Each person deserves therapy that is unique for them and respects and values who they are.
From the first therapy session, I want my clients to feel supported, empowered and confident in their abilities. By the end of their treatment, I hope they will have developed the skills to act as their own therapist.
How does hypnotherapy help with symptoms of stress and anxiety?
Hypnotherapy helps clients to tune into their body and mind so they can stop stress and anxiety in its tracks. Hypnotherapy can support them to develop the relaxation skills they need to feel better. It helps clients to learn to manage stress and anxiety by developing coping and problem-solving techniques and ways to manage their thoughts, feelings and moods. Hypnotherapy can help to develop self confidence and the ability to cope, no matter what life has in store.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see people between the ages of 12 and 79 (so far). I usually see adults for help with anxiety, phobias, sleep problems, self-confidence and emotional and binge eating
I see teenagers for anxiety, including exam anxiety.
I also see clients who have experienced cancer in some form.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Being a therapist is rewarding. It is a privilege to be trusted by a client as the person they feel can help them. I love seeing how clients change throughout the course of therapy and how it affects all areas of their life. I do like it when I am contacted by a client months after the therapy has ended and they tell me everything that has changed for the better in their lives.
With hypnotherapy, even one session can make a difference. A client can arrive at the beginning of the session extremely tense and anxious and feeling overcome by their problems, and after hypnosis they feel calm, relaxed and able to cope.
What is less pleasant?
Hearing clients stories of suffering can be difficult sometimes. Many clients wait so long before reaching out for help so by the time they see me they are experiencing a lot of difficulty. Often they feel quite hopeless and helpless.
Being a therapist can sometimes be isolating, compared with being in a workplace. Being part of a network like welldoing.org helps me to be connected to other therapists around the country.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I joined at the end of March on the recommendation of a friend and colleague. I like the information you provide, which is very useful for clients. I like the focus on finding the right therapist for clients. It's so important clients feel confident in their decision to start therapy and that they have found the best therapist for them. Welldoing.org really helps with this.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I loan books I own books to clients.
What you do for your own mental health?
I practise yoga and meditate every day. I make sure to get outside every day. I do various activities which keep me connected to friends, colleagues and communities. I believe connection is an important aspect of vibrant mental health. And I'm always trying (unsuccessfully) to drink more water.
You are a therapist in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
Clients tend to be commuters. Typically, they will spend quite a bit of time travelling to and from work and will work at home for a few days a week. Many of them find it difficult to maintain the work-life balance they would like. Working long hours with a long commute can make it difficult for them to find the time and energy to focus on their health in the way they would like. I tailor my therapy to fit in with their lifestyle so that they can manage to reach their goals in the time they have available and a way which suits them.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation rooms have disabled access and free parking. It can be a difficult decision to start therapy and I don't want my clients to be stressed about parking before they come to see me, or worrying about it in the sessions.
My consultation room in Sevenoaks offers a choice of comfortable chairs or a massage couch for hypnosis.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That its not something to fear. That it can be enjoyable. That the therapist is there to support you and you alone. With a little support you can cope with your problems and live your life in a way that makes you happy.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That I am OK just as I am. That there is always someone who can help me and I don't need to do things on my own. A little support can go a long way.