Meet the Therapist: Laura Chernaik
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I became a psychotherapist because psychoanalysis helped me with my own suffering and because it matters a lot to me to do something meaningful with my life and work.
Where did you train?
The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I’m a psychoanalytical psychotherapist. For me, therapy is a mixture of two processes: care and thoughtfulness. It’s based on listening.
How does psychoanalysis help?
We work with the unconscious, which opens and closes in a very mysterious way, and that makes change possible.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with a wide range of people, from those suffering from anxiety and depression to those living with long-term mental health issues.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Therapy can be slow but it produces long-term change.
What is less pleasant?
Listening with an open mind and an open heart to someone talking about their suffering can be distressing and challenging. But also, it’s what makes life worth living.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’ve been with wellldoing.org for about a year. It’s a good source of referrals and I’m very pleased with it.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
If my clients enjoy reading, I’d suggest that they go to a good bookshop or library and explore the wide range of books on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
What you do for your own mental health?
I find that listening to music is very important to my own mental health. I also found psychoanalysis very helpful.
You are a therapist in East London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I am based in East London, between Walthamstow, Leyton, and Hackney. It’s very urban—lively and multicultural—but you can go for beautiful walks in the marshes and along the River Lea or the canals.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consulting room is cosy and book-lined with a view of the allotments. There’s a psychoanalytical couch or we can sit face-to-face. I also offer online therapy, once we’ve met face-to-face.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
It’s talk-therapy, and listening-therapy.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Oddly enough, I’m happy.