Meet the Therapist: Dr Shay MacAuley
What attracted you to become a therapist?
For me it is just a different type of doctoring
Where did you train?
I originally trained as a GP at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, and then, on retirement, as an addiction counsellor at Bath University.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am an addiction and trauma counsellor and use a combination of therapies such as motivational, cognitive and dialectic behavioural skills, transpersonal, relapse prevention,12 Step facilitation and EMDR. It means clients get a tailored treatment plan specific to themselves and I work this way because the evidence today indicates that it works.
How does your therapy help with symptoms of addiction?
Working on treating addiction is often the solution to getting rid of symptoms. For example diabetes can present with many symptoms two of which might be thirst and weight loss….logically drinking and eating more might seem sensible but we all know dealing with the underlying cause is the correct approach.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see anyone over the age of 15 years old and couples. They will all be dealing with addictive issues, either chemical or behavioural. By behavioural I mean food, sex, porn, relationship codependence, love, negative control, gambling, work, exercise, digital and gaming and intimacy anorexia. Underlying most of this sits trauma and shame of course.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Gets me out of bed in the morning, keeps my mind active and gives me purpose.
What is less pleasant?
I don’t enjoy working with people who are there to keep someone else off their backs.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I am very new to welldoing.org and look forward to becoming part of the community.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I have a lot of time for Russell Brand and the message of recovery from addiction he carries. Welldoing.org may consider approaching him for an interview.
What you do for your own mental health?
Work a 12 step program and have my own supervision.
You are a therapist in Oxfordshire. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I returned to the UK six months ago after working for eight years in SE Asia, in both inpatient and outpatient units. I work almost solely online now and from home and my clients are from many different countries.
What’s your consultation room like?
A home office
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Try talking therapy first before popping pills!
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I am flawed but can be magnificent!