Meet the Therapist: Josh Hogan
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I received some therapy when I was younger around the age of 16, I was struggling with coming to terms with my sexuality and I was also being bullied at school. Therapy really helped me to voice my anxiety and my anger properly – I found my voice. Later when I studied psychology at university I became attracted to the theories behind psychological distress. I wanted to pursue more studies in this area and I wanted to help people in the way that I had been helped.
Where did you train?
At City Lit in Holborn. It is one of London’s largest adult education colleges, if not the largest. They teach everything there, I loved studying there.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I trained integratively which gave me a base in humanistic, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural theory. I was interested in all three approaches and liked the idea of integrating them as I felt they all have something to offer clients.
I tend to use Gerard Egan’s skilled helper framework, which means that I might start off humanistically listening and reflecting, before offering some psychodynamic analysis and probing, before rounding off with technical CBT or solution hunting. I find a lot of clients respond well to this approach.
How does integrative therapy help with symptoms of anxiety?
Many – if not all – clients start therapy because they feel a degree of anxiety in their lives that is uncomfortable for them. I believe that starting with the core conditions of person-centred therapy really helps the client to feel safe and held, so that we can go on to explore the roots of their anxiety, which are invariably in the past.
Deeply exploring and challenging a client’s core beliefs once those conditions have been established can bring insight and awareness that the client may never have experienced before. Awareness leads to understanding and hopefully compassion for the self.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with individuals. My first training placement was seeing clients on the NHS for twelve weeks within an IAPT service. There I got to see a huge and diverse range of clients – old, young, male, female, straight and LGBTQI+.
Lately I’ve worked within the counselling service in a drama college, where most of the clients are young adults training to be actors. In my private practice I don’t tend to ‘specialise’ as I prefer to meet whoever walks through the door and give a space to whatever they’re bringing.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love seeing the change that occurs when we’ve been exploring an issue, whether it be anxiety, depression, anger, trauma, and the client suddenly ‘gets it’. You reflect a feeling to them, it hits a nerve and you see that they feel understood, maybe for the first time.
What is less pleasant?
It’s not going to work with all clients, just as you’re not going to click with everyone you meet in your life. I’m still coming to grips with that.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I joined welldoing.org recently and have liked my experience of it so far. The fact that it’s not just a listing site, it gives you a platform to write content and be a part of a community of therapists really encouraged me to join.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I do occasionally, if I suspect that the client will appreciate and benefit from it. If someone has written a book about a specific subject, such as overcoming intrusive thoughts, and the author seems to know more about it than I do, I’m happy to give that suggestion to the client who is struggling in that specific way.
What you do for your own mental health?
Reading and walking are my two favourite pastimes. Weather permitting, if I am experiencing stress I will invariably take myself off for a long walk. It always helps.
You are a therapist in Central London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I’ve only started seeing clients there recently and I don’t know if I can say one thing about the population there. When I was seeing clients on the NHS, the majority of them had come via their GP and had never had therapy before. I suspect it is different in private practice. A client who has had therapy before might be more inclined to compare you to their old therapist, negatively or positively.
What’s your consultation room like?
For Central London it’s exceptionally quiet. It’s also very comfortable, with a sofa for the clients to relax on.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
It takes commitment.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
When I feel anxious I am essentially reliving difficult past experiences.