Meet the Therapist: Melanie Kinross
Melanie Kinross is a counsellor in West Sussex and online
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I have always been drawn to people and interested in what lies behind decisions or actions. I am an optimist, and believe that positive is possible – although it might not be the first thing that happens.
I initially worked therapeutically with children and young people, helping them to make changes or have supportive experiences which have a long term benefit. Over recent years I have found working with older age groups equally rewarding.
Where did you train?
Birkbeck College, London University.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Psychodynamic therapy explores the unconscious and reflects on patterns within relationships. This can give clients insight into “why” and “how” in a really helpful way.
I am also training in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, which is a technique for challenging long-held defences or resistant conditions, and identifying hidden emotions and thoughts.
How does psychodynamic therapy help with symptoms of anxiety?
When we look at anxiety, we look at why and how it first emerged and how it may have been necessary at the time. We then see how it has become unhelpful and dysfunctional.
We seek to explore the therapeutic relationship as a template for other relationships, which allows us to understand key dynamics. With this knowledge, clients can feel that they have greater control in how they choose to go forward.
What sort of people do you usually see?
Young people, students, adults. Problems with anxiety or depression, relationships, eating, studying or working.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
Since the pandemic, there has been greater awareness of mental health but also a greater prevalence of social and health anxiety. Loneliness, loss and grief has impacted so many people.
There is great uncertainty at the moment in so many spheres, it is no wonder that many people struggle to find security or predictability. It is especially hard for younger people who are facing a world which is changing day-by-day.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I like listening to people and helping them find the answers they have inside of themselves.
I like helping people to stop being cruel or judgemental about themselves, and to develop greater compassion towards themselves and others.
What is less pleasant?
It can be a bit lonely, so it is great to be a part of a community, where we can get support and connect with others.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes – the Stay Alive app is excellent for safety plans.
I often recommend both self-help books and also other literature, but I recognise that what I might have enjoyed or found useful may not always be so well received for others.
What you do for your own mental health?
Write stories, walk the dog – I am lucky to live near the sea so a daily dose of watching the waves and the clouds come crashing in can be good to clear the mind.
I find exercise is very helpful, and occasional travel can help to give new perspectives.
What’s your consultation room like?
I work at home – my consultation room is at the front of the house and it is very private. I try to keep it low key but comfortable.
I do have a dog and a cat – sometimes clients like to have them with us in the room, which is fine, but other times clients prefer them to be elsewhere, which is also fine.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
It’s for everyone - you don’t have to be “a talker” to benefit from therapy. In fact, you might find you get a lot from it if you are not someone who regularly opens up with friends and family.
You don’t have to be at the end of your tether either, in fact it can be really helpful to start your therapeutic work before things get too bad.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt that a lot of my decision making was based on trying to please my “internal” parents. This is what Freud called the Superego, an internalised parental voice we have in our minds, which can be very authoritarian and critical. I learnt to discover what was important for me and develop confidence in my own judgments.