Meet the Therapist: Conrad Plentie
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I have always been interested in human behaviour and our thought processes. Gaining a psychology degree helped underpin my interest. Working for many years as a volunteer trauma support worker which involved providing emotional first aid to colleagues who suffered traumatic events.
Where did you train?
At the Manor House Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling which provided a strong emphasis on the experiential aspect of psychotherapy.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practice primarily psychodynamic therapy and counselling. The psychodynamic approach looks at the unconscious processes that drive the individual in conjunction with their early years’ experience and patterns of behaviour through the attachment process. This approach helps the individual to understand their defences which are often used to avoid painful thoughts and feelings. This in turn helps the client to look at their suffering in a different context which brings about some understanding and relief. This is a slow process that can be painful at times.
How does psychodynamic therapy help with symptoms of trauma?
It helps by exploring the underlying issues from what the client presents. The symptoms of trauma vary and can include anger, anxiety, stress etc. These have a detrimental effect on how a client lives their life. The psychodynamic approach gently unpacks the emotional baggage clients carry and helps to make sense of it thereby providing some clarity and relief.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see individual adults male and female of different ages and cultures. Often, they are suffering with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The unique experience it brings working with individuals from different backgrounds and orientations who often educate me in the process. How much you learn about yourself is often powerfully revealing.
What is less pleasant?
A client’s personal experience can often leave you with their strong feelings being projected on to you leaving you mentally tired, having had some experience of their internal world.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for several months and I like the way it is set-up and run. Supportive and easily accessible and affordable. It was highly recommended to me by a supervisor.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I have suggested books in the past. Two books come to mind: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk and Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo Lodge.
What you do for your own mental health?
Having recently ended personal therapy (with plans to go back) I exercise and enjoy salsa dancing and messing about with the guitar. I also enjoy family life, cooking and travelling.
You are a therapist in the Highbury and Bounds Green area. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
Both areas have a working class and middle class/bohemian client base. Currently I'm seeing clients via zoom and by telephone
What’s your consultation room like?
It is comfortable with a couch for those that chose to use it
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it is a slow process but extremely rewarding when you can have a working relationship with a therapist you can engage with.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt about my own defences and how deeply ingrained they were and the difficulty this can present for clients who have had a similar experience. I also learnt the dynamics around the family and the various roles you are born into in the family.