Meet the Therapist: Deepti Ramaswamy
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I have been fascinated by people and what makes them tick since I was a child. Then as I grew older, undergraduate psychology did not appeal; I wanted to learn how to think, rather than what to think (facts), so I graduated in philosophy. I then fell into teaching and specialised in adolescents with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Daily, I saw the impact of earlier adverse experiences and unsupportive environments on these young people and how it led to them struggle with their emotions and to control their impulses.
I decided I wanted to know more and find a way to help.
Where did you train?
I did my Masters in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at Derby University and did my two years of systemic therapy training at Hull University. I have since done various other training in EMDR, schema therapy and other modalities as I worked with clients, identified gaps in my knowledge and developed my special interest.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I primarily work by integrating cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR).
I chose CBT because, with its focus on behaviour, it is a very empowering approach. The focus on psychoeducation, collaborative formulation and the idea that you can change how you feel, by changing what you do, are all very empowering. With these you understand what is happening, the link between your previous experiences and your current state and are create a roadmap on how you can then move forward.
EMDR was a revelation. I used to believe that trauma was something you lived with or took years, decades even to overcome. With EMDR, I saw how rapidly people’s lives were transformed and people were then free to live the lives they wanted. I have used it in diverse contexts within the UK and in conflict zones in the Middle East and Asia and found it brought people so much release and relief in a comparatively short space of time.
How does EMDR help those who have suffered trauma?
EMDR is fantastic for people who have experienced trauma and experience symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance that can result from events such as car accidents, assaults etc. It is also amazing at helping people join the dots and trace back their current unexplained feelings of e.g. anxiety, low mood or unease to events that they had totally forgotten about but are held by their bodies and are still affecting them today and helping them to resolve these.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work primarily with adults and teenagers, usually individually but if something requires support from a family member or partner, sometimes I request them to join the session.
What do you like about being a therapist?
What I like about being a therapist is watching the transformation – watching people come feeling a bit hopeless but quickly with psychoeducation and some targeted intervention, the story they tell about themselves changes to one that is more compassionate, grounded and full of possibility for the future.
It also helps me grow as a person and keeps me honest, as I won’t ask a client to do/face something if I won’t do it myself. So I am constantly doing new things, dealing with issues in my own life and growing as a person.
What is less pleasant?
The less pleasant things about being a therapist, as with possibly any job, is the paperwork and many hoops you need to jump through to just to do your job! It can be tiring but it is often a good kind of tired. It can be frustrating sometimes but then I think back to these words:
Whoever is present are the right people to be there;
Whenever we start is always the right time;
What happens is the only thing that could have happened;
And when it is over, it’s over.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have only been with welldoing.org for a couple of months. So far, I have found it to be a good experience. It seems to have a personal touch, which is nice.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I don’t have standard books or apps I suggest. My inspiration comes from all over and it depends on what the need is.
What do you do for your own mental health?
For my mental health, I like to go for walks alone in nature and I lucky to live near the sea and the woods. I also listen to a lot of music, especially instrumental music, and I have started drawing and colouring recently as a way to express myself. I also catch up with friends and read about far away worlds.
If I am feeling stressed or affected by something, I use CBT and EMDR techniques to support myself and resolve it. I will not use an intervention with a client that I have not experienced myself. Congruence is important to me.
What’s your consultation room like?
A lot of my work is done online so my therapy room is a virtual background with lots of books, as I love books and find comfort in them. In the odd case where I see someone in person, the therapy room I use is large and well lit with a low table in the centre. There are also chairs of all sizes and shapes in the room so people can sit wherever they feel comfortable. And yes, it too has books.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish people knew that therapy does not have to take years for people to feel better. There have been amazing developments in the field of psychotherapy and we know so much more about how the brain works, that we can achieve a lot and bring great relief in just a few weeks.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt that my style works really well for some and doesn’t work for others. This is important and for people seeking a therapist; it is important to find a good fit, someone who you feel safe and comfortable with but also someone who can and will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone.
I am very change-focused, so I am not great for someone seeking emotional support and insight alone.