Meet the Therapist: Judith Chamberlain
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I spent a long time in education, working with children and families. I could see that very often the problems of the children were a direct cause of the ways they’d been parented, or they’d taken on the attitudes from their parents. I wanted to put the focus on adults, and having had therapy myself it had always appealed to me.
Where did you train?
I did my initial training at WPF. I then looked at various places like the Tavistock and Birkbeck, but decided I’d rather continue my training at WPF. I’m a psychodynamic psychotherapist and I’m now doing my MA in psychodynamic psychotherapy.
How long have you been a therapist?
I’ve been seeing clients for six and a half years.
What types of people come to see you?
In my private private practice they’re largely City workers, in banking, the legal profession, but I also have people who have looked beyond where they live or work to find someone who is right for them - such as students, people who are working from home in creative fields, and a couple of mothers who are not working at the moment. The youngest is 20 and oldest is 60, men and women equally, and from every culture and background that I can think of. It’s much more varied than I’d anticipated, and I’m very pleased about that.
As an honorary psychotherapist I also see people at the Maudsley perinatal department, mothers and babies. Before that I saw inmates in a male prison.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I like the flexibility of where and when I work. It’s a contrast to my previous career, where you literally had a curriculum that you followed.
What is less interesting about being a therapist?
The frustration of the job is when I know somebody is making good progress and then they lose - for whatever reason - the motivation that got them there, so they stop therapy before they’re ready.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what do you think of us?
I’ve been here for about 18 months, long enough to know it works well. It’s usually the case that people who come through welldoing.org are a good fit for me, more so than with other directories. I recommend it to newly qualified psychotherapists building a practice, and to friends and acquaintances who are looking for a therapist.
How are you finding the new booking system?
It seems quite straight forward to me, and I get the feeling that it gives clients that extra certainty. They are doing something very new to them, and so it’s reassuring that they can pay online. It normalises the process and they can pay for their session beforehand so they don’t need to think about that in the first session.
There is supposed to be something symbolic about money being passed between you which makes the agreement more concrete.But that’s not how people think any more. It’s outdated. I was told in training (whch was not long ago) that I ought to write letters to clients, and I don’t know anybody who does that now. We all email and text, and I think a client would find waiting for letters very frustrating. Buying services and goods online is just what we all do now.
Do you ever suggest books/apps to clients?
Yes, I do. Only around mindfulness, and only books and apps that I have test or read myself. I suggest Headspace and Mindfulness apps, and books by Mark Williams, Jon Kabat Zinn and – though she’s not everybody’s cup of tea – Ruby Wax. I always say that all those people have TED Talks and are on Youtube too. I have therapy myself I would be delighted if my therapist said there’s a book that comes to mind, or a TED Talk. it’s simply there if you want it.
What you do for your own mental health?
I still have therapy and I have peer and one-to-one supervision, which I couldn’t do without quite frankly.
What does your therapy room look like?
I like it. It’s in what was once a home, a Georgian townhouse. It’s all white, with no pictures, two chairs, a lamp, a rug.
I wish my home was that tidy.