Meet the Therapist: Hannah Creedon
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I felt that this was a life-time journey of not knowing how I could contribute to the world in a meaningful way, and I wanted to use my privilege to assist others. I also like the idea of having a qualification that I could use internationally.
Where did you train?
I trained in the Minster Centre in London, and at the University of Brighton.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I qualified as a humanistic psychotherapeutic counsellor, but I believe I am integrative at heart. I enjoy having an existential aspect to my work, but I also draw on a lot of queer and feminist theory. I like to look at what structural inequalities or oppressions might be influencing how a client is feeling, instead of focusing purely on individualism, for example, as I believe this plays into the shame and stigma around mental health issues.
However, my main area of focus is LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy, as I have been working primarily within the LGBTQ+ community. What that means is that while I understand that a person’s gender identity or sexual identity is just one part of who they are, I think that it is really important that my clients know that their identity will not be challenged or questioned.
How does affirmative therapy help with symptoms of depression, anxiety and social isolation?
Trying to find peace and certainty in a very anxious and uncertain world is by no means easy; and marginalised groups have a much higher rate of mental distress. Offering a queer affirmative therapeutic space means that an extra level of work of ‘coming out’ is taken away for the client, and that societal pressures to ‘pass’ are removed. These pressures can negatively affect a client's mental wellbeing, and it is no wonder I see so many clients who are feeling depressed when we are constantly sold the narrative that our feelings and reactions to the world are not valid. Quite simply, I think feeling seen and understood is often the first path to healing.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I usually see adult individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, but the presenting issues can vary greatly. People are much more than a label, but I have worked with many clients who are transitioning or questioning their gender identity.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I like to see how quickly change can happen when clients are given the space to explore new parts of themselves. The resilience I see regularly is very inspiring. And I find people fascinating.
What is less pleasant?
The lone working aspect of being a therapist is hard, and the frustration that comes with knowing that sometimes, people’s access to therapy is largely down to whether they have the finances for it.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have just joined welldoing.org, but I feel very looked after. I have not used the booking system yet, but I like it as I think it is really important to make the path to accessing therapy as easy and possible, as I do believe it’s a big commitment.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Rarely, though I have suggested they book Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig on a few occasions. I think it’s wonderful.
What you do for your own mental health?
Being in nature, writing, travelling and connecting with friends and family.
You are a therapist in Brighton and Hove. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
Brighton and Hove is well known for being a very open and inclusive place. I think that is reflected in the fact that there is a very high need for low cost LGBTQ+ counselling. It is also an area that has been hit by austerity, and I see how that and Brexit has greatly affected clients mental well being. I have set up an LGBTQ+ affirmative group practice with three of my colleagues and we feel this is the perfect location to do that.
What’s your consultation room like?
It varies, but it is quiet, with low lighting, with creative tools at the ready should we decide to use them.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it is not just for those we are in ‘distress’, the work is different depending on what you need, and where you are in your life. Seeking therapy should not be seen as a defeat, but an act of self-love.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Many many things, but mostly that it’s important to sit in uncertainty and sit in discomfort, as that is where the growth is. And that we are all struggling in some respect.