Meet the Therapist: Lilian Abrahams
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I have always wanted to help and care for people. My undergraduate degree was in sociology. Whilst I was still studying, I started a job in a care home for adults with mental health problems where I later became a manager.
I went on to work as a deputy manager in a therapeutic community, where most of my colleagues were studying either psychodrama, integrative or psychoanalytic approaches to psychotherapy. This is where the attraction started, I found myself drawn to families with difficulty and how I could help them. This led me to study systemic family therapy and later to do a Master’s degree in integrative psychotherapy.
Where did you train?
I completed an MA in Integrative Psychotherapy at Regents University London, a Postgraduate Certificate in Integrative Psychotherapy (UKCP Pathway) also at Regents University London and a Postgraduate Diploma in systemic family therapy at the Tavistock and Portman.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am an integrative psychotherapist and counsellor, which means I integrate ideas from different modalities in my work with clients.
I incorporate and use an approach that best suits the needs of my clients in a safe and non-judgmental space.
How does integrative therapy work?
As an integrative psychotherapist, I am open to diversity and issues of difference. I believe all clients will be different and no one approach is fit for all. This may include cultural differences, spirituality and as we know, symptoms can show up differently for different people. I work with mild to complex cases.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see individuals (adults and children), couples and families.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
There is a high increase in anxiety and panic attacks in our society and in the world today. More people are starting to seek the support they need; people are becoming comfortable with accessing therapy.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Helping and being part of the change in people’s stories and narratives.
What is less pleasant?
Seeing the suffering of so many and not been able to help everyone.
How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?
I have been at Welldoing for a month. It has been a very welcoming community with great resources.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I have suggested:
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
Trauma and the Body: A sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy by Ogden, Minton, and Pain
What do you do for your own mental health?
I have a day off for self-care and doing the things I enjoy.
You are a therapist in London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
My private practice is located in North Chingford and in South Woodford.
Both Chingford and South Woodford have the attraction of the lovely Epping Forest. The Queen Elizabeth’s hunting lodge is also located in Chingford.
What’s your consultation room like?
I practice at Lily House in South Woodford. The rooms are well ventilated, quiet, comfortable and a short distance walk from the train station.
I also practice at the Village Arcade in North Chingford, the environment is peaceful, comfortable and within a short walking distance from the train station.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Talking therapy can be life changing. It is OK to speak to a professional, you are not alone. Once you find the right therapist for you, growth happens, healing can occur.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
So much I didn’t know was there that I needed to process in my own therapy.
For clients, the process of therapy and exploration can involve difficult and challenging experiences, both past and present. Commitment is necessary – it's important to stay and work through the difficult feelings and experiences that emerge with the therapist.
It was rewarding for me when I started to become aware of my patterns of behaviour and how they were informing some of my relationships. I was able to learn and create the space for change and new possibilities to emerge.