Meet the Therapist: Dave Latham
What attracted you to become a therapist?
The complexity of life and the hardships people have to endure has always fascinated me. My passion grew through having experienced many personal losses and life changing events myself. I wanted the opportunity to “make a difference” and support people when they most need it.
My role as your counsellor is to help you to explore the feelings and emotions that are often related to your current/past life experiences. I offer you the opportunity to reflect on what is happening in your world and for me to support you therapeutically to explore alternative ways of copings and dealing with emotive issues, that impact negatively on your life and to family and friends that are dear to you.
I work with a person-centred approach to counselling which means I believe you are the expert on your life. You can talk over any issue(s) openly and honestly, so you feel heard and understood, and most importantly you will learn to articulate what you are feeling in a way that gives you the clarity needed to resolve any issue(s) and the strength to move forward with your life.
Where did you train?
Halesowen College, as well as ongoing personal development at places of employment.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
My modality is person-centred counselling, also known as client-centred counselling. This approach is based on the belief that individuals have the inherent capacity for self-awareness and personal growth, and it emphasises the importance of the therapeutic relationship as a facilitative environment for change.
Key principles of person-centred counselling include:
Unconditional positive regard: My therapy will provide a non-judgmental, accepting, and empathetic environment in which the client can openly express themselves without fear of criticism.
Empathy: I strive to understand the client's perspective and feelings from the client's point of view. Empathy is not just cognitive but also emotional, and it involves a deep connection with the client's experiences.
Congruence (genuineness): My aims are to be authentic and open in my interactions with the client.
Client self-exploration: Person-centred counselling assumes that clients have the capacity for self-awareness and self-actualisation. My role is to facilitate this self-exploration by providing a safe and supportive space for the client to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Client-directed: The focus of therapy is primarily driven by the client's agenda. I will not impose my own interpretations or solutions onto the client.
My approach does not involve techniques or structured interventions as many other therapeutic approaches do. Instead, it relies on the therapeutic relationship to promote client growth and self-acceptance. My belief is that when individuals experience the core conditions of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness from their therapy, they are better able to explore and resolve their own issues.
In addition to person-centred therapy, I also practice ACT Therapy (acceptance and commitment therapy). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that falls under the category of third-wave cognitive-behavioural therapies.
ACT was developed in the late 20th century as an approach to help individuals better handle difficult thoughts and feelings and to promote psychological flexibility, which is the ability to be open, adaptable, and effective in the face of challenging circumstances.
How does ACT help?
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can be highly effective in improving emotional wellbeing by helping individuals develop psychological flexibility and better cope with a wide range of emotional symptoms.
ACT is used to treat a variety of psychological issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, chronic pain, and more. It is particularly effective for individuals who struggle with experiential avoidance, which is the tendency to avoid or suppress uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, and for those who are stuck in patterns of thought and behaviour that are not in line with their values.
My aims for using ACT work is to support my clients to develop greater psychological flexibility, enabling them to lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives, even in the presence of ongoing challenges and discomfort.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I provide counselling services to a broad range of clients aged 10 and older. My experience encompasses various disorders, including depression, low self-esteem, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, health anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and phobias.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
I find encouragement in witnessing the gradual erosion of the stigma surrounding mental health challenges in recent years. This is particularly heartening considering the profound impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the mental wellbeing of individuals across all age groups.
Open and honest conversations about universal human experiences such as depression, anxiety, self-doubt, vulnerability, and loneliness have the potential to alleviate the sense of isolation and instil a greater sense of hope among those who grapple with these issues.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I consider it a genuine privilege to be able to lend an attentive ear to clients, to validate both them and their unique narratives. I find personal satisfaction in the delicate yet inventive nature of my work with clients. I value the opportunity to expand my perspective to align with my clients' ways of experiencing and perceiving their world.
I believe it is of utmost importance for individuals to be truly heard and to encounter an empathetic presence that reflects their essence. This not only plays a crucial role in our personal growth and the preservation of their dignity in an ever-changing world, but also aids in making sense of their existence. I firmly believe that society benefits when each of us has access to secure spaces where we can freely express ourselves.
Above all, I cherish the opportunity for profound, substantive interactions, and therapy provides a fertile ground for these connections to flourish.
What is less pleasant?
Time limited therapy.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
What you do for your own mental health?
I have a loving wife, two children (well one child and one teenager), a dog, great friends and the love of a rather poor football team, all of which keep me active, young and are a great distraction from my day-to-day challenges.
What’s your consultation room like?
Relaxed, comfortable and safe with a smattering of candles, salt lamps and nice aromas. I also use a consultation room in Evesham which is more clinical but just as relaxed.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
It works if you are open to engaging with it.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I had so much growth to do and still do.