Matt Thomas is a counsellor in Brighton and online

What attracted you to become a therapist? 

No two days ever being the same, forming a connection with people and helping them. The professional challenge that working as a therapist provides. Using some of my life experience to help others.

Where did you train?  

The University of Brighton

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

I work in a person-centred way so the expectation is that clients lead the sessions and we follow the client’s agenda at a pace they are comfortable with. The main thing I am trying to do is help clients understand what is going on for them. I think of therapy being like a messy cupboard. We’ll take everything out, sort it out and put it back in better order.

How does person-centred counselling help with symptoms of anxiety? 

So working with anxiety, for example, the issue can be that the client has so many things going on and doesn’t know where to start. The smallest trigger can create anxiety. This can mean that there is something deeper going on under the surface that is trying to come out. So initially the therapy is a space for the client to use to talk about what is immediately troubling them and then gradually, or as soon as they are ready, we try to understand the bigger issues going on.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I work with younger clients (late teens to early twenties) quite a bit so issues around relationships and sex are common. Issues related to LGBTQ, discrimination, gender and substance misuse also come up. 

For all clients depression, anger, anxiety, work-related stress and family issues frequently come up.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

Self-harm is quite prevalent now and is much more talked about than when I was younger. Disordered eating is another. Younger people are proactively seeking out help in their late teens to help them understand their issues, particularly those related to identity and just who they are. 

Generally I think mental health is losing its stigma as a taboo subject and more people are in therapy and seeing the benefits.

What do you like about being a therapist? 

Establishing a connection and being in a room with a client trying to help them figure things out.

What is less pleasant? 

Marketing! Very much not my strong point.

How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?

Only a couple of weeks so I haven’t had the chance to take part in the CPD or peer support as yet but certainly plan to do so. I particularly like that clients can book online.

What books have been important to you in terms of your professional and personal development? Do you ever recommend books to clients? 

Person-Centred Counselling: An Experiential Approach by David Rennie is my sort of bible. Also The Dynamics of Power in Counselling and Psychotherapy by Gillian Proctor and The Divided Self by R.D Laing.

I don’t recall ever recommending a book to a client, but I would if it felt appropriate.

What you do for your own mental health? 

Well I was in therapy for three years and can say I am in a great place now. I regularly run and do yoga. Eating well, getting enough sleep and having a good work-life balance are also important.

You are a therapist in Brighton. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area? 

It’s a university town so lots of young people. There also many counselling courses and thus many therapists so plenty of choice for clients. LGBTQ related issues are quite prevalent.

What’s your consultation room like? 

Pretty nice I think!

What do you wish people knew about therapy? 

Just that anyone can benefit from occasionally talking to someone who isn’t a friend or family member, and as such has a clear mind and no agenda other than what is best for you.

What did you learn about yourself in therapy? 

I now understand myself pretty well, much better than I did before and have a solid base to work from.


Contact Matt here

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