Meet the Therapist: Daniel Wiegand
What attracted you to become a therapist?
From being little, I was always interested in other people’s stories and listening in to the grown-ups conversations. I was a good listener from a young age and this led to me to volunteering later in life for the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. Helping people over the phone and connecting with them inspired me to explore what being a counsellor would be like and how to become one. Once I began this exploration, I realised I was on the path I was always meant to be on.
Where did you train?
I trained at City Lit in Holborn.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I work in a person-centred way and what attracted me to this approach was the equality of the relationship between myself and the client; the client is the expert on their life and experiences and I am on mine. It’s a collaborative way of working using warmth, compassion and empathy which is my natural way of being rather than techniques I use in the therapy room. I bring myself to the relationship and this helps create a genuine and authentic connection.
This relationship allows clients to develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of themselves, to discover better ways of living and to reconnect with the potential that they have inside of them. Being truly listened to and heard is a unique experience that counselling provides you. It’s an opportunity to explore difficult experiences and emotions in a safe and supported way.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with individual adults. Anxiety, depression, work and relationship issues are common difficulties I work with. At the moment I’m working with a lot of clients exploring their gender identity.
What do you like about being a therapist?
What I love about being a therapist is connecting with and developing a relationship with a client and being right by their side as they explore the world around them and inside of them. It feels like a massive privilege to understand the world as another person experiences it, to see them and hear them is a powerful moment. And connecting with someone on this deep level allows me to connect with a deeper part of myself as well, a part of myself that I’ve never disliked or criticised.
What is less pleasant?
I often find endings sad, the not knowing what happens to clients next.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’ve been on welldoing.org for nearly a year now. What I enjoy about the site is reading the articles and the meet the therapist interviews.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I’ve recently recommended a couple of podcasts; NB on BBC Sounds which is an exploration of non-binary identities and Homosapiens which is interviews with the LGBTQ+ community with a frequent focus on mental health issues.
What you do for your own mental health?
For self-care, I enjoy baking and cooking and taking myself for an afternoon trip to the cinema.
You are a therapist in East London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
My clients reflect the diversity of East London and Islington where I’m based; I work with other therapists, students, freelancers and those who work in more structured ways from the arts to sciences. This keeps my work different and interesting.
What’s your consultation room like?
I have three different rooms and what I like about them all is they’re light, cosy and calm spaces that help to put you at ease.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That discovering your own answers is much more helpful than being told what to do.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Where do I begin?! I learnt so much but what comes to me first is learning to appreciate and value the sound of my voice. Throughout school I was bullied for how I talked with the question: “Why do you talk like a girl?” being demanded of me. This left me with a lot of shame and shyness about my voice. Through exploring this feeling of shame in therapy, I was able to see the value of my voice, to appreciate how I use it to connect with and help people.