Meet the Therapist: Greg Young
What attracted you to become a therapist?
In 2017 I was employed as a Residential Support Worker (RSW) in a children’s home. I ended up working for the same children’s home for two and a half years before I left to do my MSc in Counselling.
During this time, I worked with many deeply traumatised children, and received training about attachment theory. The combination of the learning and working with the children, woke up in me a deep interest in the trauma that I had suffered as a child. In fact, I soon realised that children were triggering me when they became emotionally heightened.
This re-experiencing of trauma, coupled with the training throughout my employment at the children’s home, enlightened me of my need for deeper work on myself, and the sad truth that the majority of people in our society have suffered some sort of trauma in their lives.
At the age of 58 I decided I wanted to learn more about psychology, and in turn realised I wanted to do more to support people dealing with the aftermath of trauma.
Where did you train?
Bangor University – Bangor, Gwynedd County (North Wales).
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I’m an integrative therapist who employs humanistic and behavioural approaches including person-centred, biopsychosocial-spiritual, existential, mindfulness, and CBT.
I chose this path in psychotherapy because I think poor mental health is due to an imbalance in perception that is caused by our living/existing in the material world. Our experiences can cause our body to suffer from excesses of stress hormones such as cortisol. However, unlike the proponents of the medical model in psychology who think that poor mental health is a disease to be treated with drugs; I believe that because, for example, traumatic experiences cause our bodies to over-stimulate with cortisol, which in turn heighten emotions – we can, in our bodies choose to undertake meditation which activates a part of the brain that aides in emotional regulation (Research).
Experience causes, and heals, the wound. This says to me that we have agency to heal our mental health challenges without drugs.
I mostly find during the inception of counselling my clients want to tell their story, and as we progress through this unravelling, I can see some of the weight of their story lifted. As our therapeutic relationship grows, I learn more about the physiological and psychological changes they might go through in a day due to their particular challenges (depression, anxiety etc.).
As I work together with my clients, we find techniques or tools that best suit the particular challenge a client is facing. This way of working means that my clients have to do the work. We work together in session, and they take away the tools and techniques that best work for them.
How does therapy help with symptoms of anxiety?
Clients who suffer from anxiety will experience greater self-awareness, which in turn helps them understand and anticipate triggers, which then decreases the amount of time in a day that they will feel anxious.
In addition, more self-awareness helps my clients be more present for family, friends and work.
What sort of people do you usually see?
Individuals aged 18+
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
I have noticed a decrease in the stigma around talking about mental health, and I think there’s an overall increase in mental health awareness due to the pandemic.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I so enjoy seeing my clients heal right in front of me. I love it when they request to go from weekly sessions, to monthly sessions, and then finally for them to walk out my door and never look back!
What is less pleasant?
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I haven’t been on Welldoing for very long, but the interaction I’ve had with staff has been professional and helpful. I’ve obtained one client from their Personalised Matching Service and think they’ve done a good job matching me with my present client. The booking and payment system works really well!
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender by David Hawkins
Trauma Is Strange by Steve Haines
Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature, and The Body by Leslie E. Korn
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Myth of Freedom Chögyam Trungpa
What you do for your own mental health?
I train Jiu Jitsu, a Japanese/Brasilian martial art. I also practice Qi Gong, an internal martial art from China, and I meditate up to two hours per day.
You are a therapist in North Wales. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I work in North Wales in the UK which includes Conwy County, Gwynedd County, Anglesey County.
The traditional Welsh culture is strong force in these communities.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation room is comfortable, safe and full of natural light.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish they knew that making the call to ask for help is the most difficult step. After that, it’s not as bad as you imagined, and there’s really nothing to fear.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I’ve learned that I’ve a deeper well of patience and empathy that I never knew I had.