Meet the Therapist: Dean Addams
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I had some counselling during a difficult period in my life and it really helped me, so I thought, this is great, I want to be able to help other people the way this helped me.
Where did you train?
Most of my formal training as counsellor and later as a psychotherapist was at the Gestalt Centre. As was my supervisor training with Gaie Houston. Before that I was at Regent's College and I have done a lot of workshops with Metanoia – who I think are a great training institute.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I was drawn to Gestalt because it is experimental, experiential and promotes self-awareness and self-responsibility. I am very much focused onto people taking control of their own lives, to be independent and take informed decisions for themselves.
How does gestalt therapy help clients who have experienced abuse?
For example, childhood sexual abuse: yes we go over the past and try to make whatever sense and understanding of it we can, but then the goal is more focused on ‘how does this past trauma appear in my life now?’ and 'how I can manage or change the effects of it?'
We work more in the here and now with a view to healthy living for the future.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see a really broad spectrum from 17 to 70 years, male, female, transgender, and people of all races and sexuality. The diversity of my clients is one of my joys.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Seeing hope grow where there was little or none. Seeing people take back control of their own lives and start believing in themselves again.
What is less pleasant?
Hearing stories of abuses that have been inflicted on children, especially by people who were supposed to be protecting them.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have only been with welldoing.org a few months now but I find it is a very a very easy to navigate site.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes, and other resources like meditation and yoga, walks etc.
What you do for your own mental health?
All the above, walks in nature, quality time with friends, having a laugh. Meditation, fitness, yoga and a spiritual practice.
You are a therapist in Earl's Court, London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
Central London has a hectic, sometimes harsh energy. People find respite in my home and in having the quiet time to themselves.
What’s your consultation room like?
Colourful and comfortable.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That they hold all the answers within themselves and that they just need to be reminded how truly wonderful they are.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That trying to please others or fulfil their ideals means sacrificing yourself and is exhausting. If you live your authentic life you will attract all that you need.