Meet the Therapist: Lesley Cridland
What attracted you to become a therapist?
Resonance primarily, I always felt a pull towards wanting to listen and understand what makes us human, all the unconscious feelings which impact on our abilities and have always had a deep empathy towards the intrapsychic struggles we all have.
Where did you train?
I’m tempted to say life trained me and in some ways it did, as it does us all, but to make sense of that, we need to fully understand ourselves and that is where training comes into it. I trained at the Institute of Psychosynthesis London which offers an MA in psychology alongside clinical training.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I trained in a psycho-spiritual context and practice as a psychosynthesis therapist, which is a holistic transpersonal-based modality.
Essentially the core models of the way in which I practise are based around looking at the levels of our consciousness, what drives us, how our history impacts us in the here-and-now and identifying the cycles of behaviour we maintain.
This allows us to start to understand ourselves and our personalities as a part of us, not defining who we are and to connect to our will which enable us to build a core inner strength to unlock our potential and free ourselves from those bonds. So I work in ways that encompasses us as a whole being beyond our body, our feelings and our mind enabling us to see ourselves as who we essentially are and can be.
How does psychosynthesis help with symptoms of loneliness and anxiety?
It is always tempting psychotherapeutically to look straight at our past history to find links with these experiences and how we are impacted now, but exploring those past experiences when someone isn’t ready can result in retraumatizing the individual. I feel it is important to establish trust and understanding with a client and work in the here-and-now where the impact of our past really resonates.
By working in this context, we start to unlock familiar patterns around loneliness, anxiety and abandonment issues for example, and when we can see how we behave and why we can start to pause and make a different choice, or at least a choice that serves us now, as opposed to what served us in the past.
I believe that in working this way we can help to normalise these feelings and allow them not suppress them, this helps us to fully understand those feelings, when we start to get a sense of this, we start to become less impacted. Roberto Assagioli conceptualised psychosynthesis, said ‘we are dominated by everything with which our self is identified. We can dominate and control everything from which we disidentify ourselves’
What sort of people do you usually see?
I offer personal one-to-one therapy for all adults over 18 in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
The issues that are arising presently with a lot of client work are around the current feelings of fear and separation, anxiety and loneliness and I work with these and a wide range of issues people face in their day-to-day lives.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Helping to guide another through the blocks that arise that stop us from being able to unlock our potential to create a happier and more harmonious existence. And most especially witnessing that unfolding and seeing how that manifests and moves the client forward. It is very fulfilling work.
What is less pleasant?
It is always hard to witness someone’s pain but I feel this is also essential to being a good therapist that you provide the right relationship for someone to feel safe to be heard and witnessed whatever their experience. When this happens, we therapists are enabled to work with and help a client unpack and start to move beyond these experiences.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I haven’t long been with welldoing.org as a therapist but I was drawn to the forum which seeks to enable interaction and learning amongst therapists generally but also provides a platform for those seeking counselling to find a therapist with whom they can potential connect and feel a sense of security that those therapists have been checked and their accreditations confirmed.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I may do if I think they would be helpful for the client but, essentially, I like to work with what works for each client individuality and that can be a whole range of tools.
What you do for your own mental health?
I feel strongly that the connection between mind, body and feelings is very important and therefore it is important to find a balance. If our bodies are out of sync, this has an impact on our thoughts and emotional wellbeing to, as do stresses that may control our thoughts and not allow us to connect to what our bodies need.
I think personal wellbeing is about treating ourselves with loving kindness too. I eat fresh, healthy food; I meditate, do small amounts of yoga and exercise; and, most importantly, I go for a walk in nature and really notice what is around me. But some days, just taking that time to self-soothe in a lovely bath or read a book or listen to some music is enough to restore me.
You are a therapist in West Sussex. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I am based in West Sussex but I work with clients from all over the UK. Most of our work as therapists during the current climate is base online using resources such as Zoom and Skype so client work is not limited to the geographical area in which you practice.
Everyone faces dilemmas and challenges in life, this doesn’t vary wherever you are located.
What’s your consultation room like?
When I am able to see clients in person again, they will be welcomed into a beautiful and tranquil space overlooking woodland and the natural world around us. I hope I create an environment in which my clients can feel separate from the stresses of the outside world and find a little space that offers them tranquillity and calmness in order that they can explore better what brought them here.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That just being able to start to express themselves to another, in an environment where they are safe and not judged releases a lot of what is being held. Having the support of a therapist and working with them is a really freeing experience.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Well, I could probably write a thesis on that subject! But essentially, I learnt who I was, what drove me, what I maintain and what I sabotaged. That identification allowed me to start to let go and step aside from being defined by my past and step forward into a different future.
But most importantly I learnt how strong I was, we all are, but maybe we don’t realise that trauma and adversity is an experience not an identity and as a partially sighted woman, I learnt not to be limited by limitations.