Matthew Reed is a psychotherapist in South Wales and online 

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I’d always been told by friends and family I was a "good listener” and after turning 30 I realised I wanted more from a job than office work. In my own personal life I’d been through many challenges and figured that by training to become a counsellor I could use those experiences to possibly help others. 

Where did you train? 

It feels like a really long time ago now. I first did a 12-week taster course in counselling skills and counselling theory and really enjoyed it. 

I then applied to the University of South Wales to undertake their Post Graduate Certificate in counselling skills. I then moved on and undertook the Post Graduate Diploma in Relational Integrative Counselling which I completed in 2012. 

In 2014 I then went back to the University of South Wales to study their Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Children and Young People. 

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

I'm an integrative therapist, this means I’ve studies various theoretical approaches including person-centred, humanistic, psychodynamic, existential and CBT

I’ve found that being an integrative therapist allows me to draw from all of these approaches to meet the needs of the client.  

How does relational integrative therapy help?

The most important part of my work is the strength of the relationship I build with my clients. To me listening, understanding and empathising with my clients experience is key; I really aim to make sure my clients feel heard.  

Depending on the client's needs and the issue they are presenting with influence the direction of the therapy. 

CBT is helpful to explain the cycle of anxiety, a psychodynamic approach can be used to help clients understand how their past experiences present themselves in the here and now. An existential approach can be used to help clients find meaning in their lives despite the trauma/bereavement that they have been through. 

What sort of people do you usually see?

I work with adults and teenagers. I’ve worked with issues around trauma, anxiety, depression, bereavement and relationship problems

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

Compared to when I was in school in the 80s and 90s there is a much wider awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing. 

Social media has helped enormously with raising awareness of counselling and therapy. 

What do you like about being a therapist?

It’s difficult to put into words, I find it incredibly humbling that clients are able to put their trust in me as they open up and share the difficulties they have experienced in their lives. Also the moments during therapy when clients have a breakthrough, it’s almost as if I can see a spark light up in their eyes.  

What is less pleasant?

It can be difficult to switch off at times. 

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

I’ve been with Welldoing since September 2023. I think the website is great and has so many resources for clients and counsellors alike. The weekly CPD sessions are also really interesting and I’ll be signing up for more. 

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

Where to start? Working at Relational Depth by Mearns and Cooper really helped me during training and I still refer to it now. 

Integration in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Developing a personal approach by Lapworth and Sills. Really helped me to understand the various theories I was studying.

Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Relational Approach by Ariana Faris and Els van Ooijen. This is the book my post graduate diploma was based on as both authors had been lecturers at the University. Complex theories but such an easy read. 

In terms of recommending books to clients I’ve recommended Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl on many occasions. Such an incredible book, part memoir of his experiences in a concentration camp as a psychologist and the atrocities he witnessed. It’s part guide, sad, poignant, uplifiting and full of wisdom and hope that anyone can find meaning in their lives whatever adversity they are or have experienced. 

Staring at the Sun by Irving Yalom. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or thinking about our own mortality, it’s a thought provoking and uplifting book despite the heavy subject matter. 

What you do for your own mental health? 

Although not as much as I should, I try to exercise, meditate, listen to podcasts, play my guitar, listen to music, catch up with friends. 

What’s your consultation room like?

Most of my clients are online but the room that I do use is lovely and welcoming. 

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

We don’t just sit and say “how does that make you feel?” ☺

When starting with new clients I always encourage them to tell me if they’re not understanding something I may be trying to explain or if I’m not understanding something they are telling me. I’d hate for a session to end with client thinking it had gone well and for them to be thinking “this guy just doesn’t get it.”

Related to that, it’s OK if clients don’t “click” with their counsellor. The relationship is the most important aspect of therapy so clients have to feel comfortable with the therapist. 

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

I’ve had therapy a numerous times over the years but during my training I had it consistently for three years. It was life-changing for me. It helped me understand how my experiences in childhood and as an adult had shaped me. I learnt that it was OK to be sensitive and that despite going through numerous “bad” experiences did not mean I was a bad person or that bad things will always happen. 

Contact Matthew here

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