What attracted you to become a therapist?
It was a time when I was seeing a really good therapist who helped me enormously and I thought I could give something back and help others who were also struggling.
Where did you train?
I trained at The Counsel House in Wickford for my CPCAB Levels, 2, 3 and Diploma Level 4. Currently I am completing my Foundation Degree in Counselling which, although tough, is fulfilling. As counsellors we are required to undertake a minimum of 30 hours continued professional development, so I am training and refreshing my skills all the time!
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
My training course was integrative, actually I didn’t choose it, it was by accident, but I am so glad this was so because I have learnt about a variety of counselling theories and can look at clients in many different ways. Each client is unique!
There are different parts of the theories which I am more drawn to. Also there were outside examinations, which although scary meant that I really felt tested. My degree training has given me a wider knowledge of the brain, medications, research, plus other theories, which is fantastic. I also look at my clients from a biopsychosocial lens; I believe that the biology, psychology and environment of clients all influence each other. This gives a more rounded view of the issues for the clients.
How does integrative therapy help with symptoms of anxiety and depression?
Well, the different theories look at anxiety and depression in different ways, different clients resonate with different ways of understanding. I could write an essay here!
What sort of people do you usually see?
It really varies but my clients have been from 19 to over 70 years of age. I see clients with communication difficulties, phobias, clients that have been bereaved, a whole range of difficulties really. When clients first contact me I will ask them a little bit about why they want counselling and if at any point I feel I am not the right person I will do my best to refer them onto to another recommended counsellor I know. If I don’t know one, I will surely find one. No one gets left.
I see individuals at the moment, but hopefully soon I will begin seeing couples. I am also getting a therapy dog for clients who find therapy daunting and my future plan is to learn British Sign Language so people with hearing difficulties can access my therapy.
Common difficulties with my clients are anxiety, depression and relationship difficulties. However, I would not turn anyone away unless I felt they needed specialist help.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love being a therapist. Using my counselling skills and skills as a person is wonderful. I have always been interested in psychology and the brain, so it’s perfect for me. Also when a client moves from a painful place to a place where they feel lighter and able to face the world once more – that is the best feeling!! I can’t stop grinning then.
What is less pleasant?
The way counsellors in general are undervalued and are expected to work for free. Also there are minimal jobs available for counsellors, even though counselling is needed and proven to work.
Also, if clients cannot access therapy for financial reasons, however, I do my best to accommodate clients.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for about four months. I haven’t joined the Facebook group, I will check it out as soon as I finish this!
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
There are little things I suggest, some clients like mindfulness and there are some great YouTube videos and apps for this, and for anxiety. I try to put lots of tips on my Facebook page and sometimes refer them there as something may be of use to them. I don’t recommend books usually.
What you do for your own mental health?
Spend time with my family, reconnect with friends outside of counselling. I used to run, but there is no time at the moment. If I feel I need to, I will take myself back into therapy. My favourite thing at the moment is retreating in to my log cabin / therapy room at home with a cuppa and finishing my university assignments! The feel of the cabin is lovely and it’s quiet and I can get a lot of stuff done!
You are a therapist in Great Leighs and Dunmow in Essex. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
Both areas are really tranquil, private and just lovely places to have therapy. I think the area I work defines how my clients work with relationships – the way people communicate, resolve issues, relationships with themselves and relationships all through their lives really, which can keep people stuck and unhappy. Humans are social beings.
What’s your consultation room like?
My room in Great Leighs is semi-rural, with comfy chairs with green and blue décor. My log cabin smells of wood, is warm and cosy.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it is part of self-care. That it is not selfish. That everyone needs a little help sometimes. That it is a trusted and safe space to offload and learn about yourself, learn tools that can enable you to live the best life.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That I am resilient and strong, that I have overcome so much and that I needed to look at myself and say ‘yeah you did it’.