What attracted you to become a therapist?
I became a therapist because I wanted to use my psychology degree in a positive way, as well as doing something that fitted around caring for my adult daughter who has autism. I have also had therapy myself in difficult times and wanted to be able to help others.
I have a private practice which means that I can work flexibly to suit the times when my daughter has a carer or when my husband is home to do the caring.
Where did you train?
I did my psychology degree with the Open University. I then studied to get an advanced diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling with the National Counselling Society, after which I became a certified practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming with the UK Centre of Excellence for NLP and Hypnotherapy. So I am also a hypnotherapy practitioner with both the UK Centre of Excellence and The National Hypnotherapy Society. More recently I have become an approved Anxiety UK therapist and am also helping to pilot their new Digital Online Therapy System known as DOTS.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practice?
Being able to use different approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy , NLP or hypnotherapy helps me to meet the needs of my clients. I also use mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy, some Gestalt techniques and a psychodynamic approach, where issues from the past are the reason for a client seeking therapy.
What sort of people do you usually see?
With a background in understanding autism and a qualification with the University of Birmingham in autism I do attract adults, couples and young people with autism as clients. This was not a chosen speciality but one that has just evolved due to my background.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I think that the best part of being a therapist is when you can see your client change over time to being in a better place psychologically. When you witness your client change from having an inflexible way of thinking and being to a more flexible and adaptive view or perspective, it is a real privilege.
What is less pleasant?
Some of the harder aspects of being a therapist are clients who are unemployed or young people in education who need therapy but can’t really afford it. I offer a reduced fee in these circumstances to try to make therapy more accessible for these people.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I am new to welldoing.org but was attracted by the articles on the website.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I often suggest the Calm app to my clients and have lifetime membership of Calm myself. I have also recommended Eric Berne’s Games People Play when doing relationship counselling on occasions. One of my go-to books is The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim.
What you do for your own mental health?
I use the Calm app and do some watercolour painting for self-care. When I am painting I am always in the moment, and it is as if nothing else exists for a time. I also have a very best friend that I can talk to about my life, as well as a wonderful supervisor for my counselling practice.
You are a therapist in Norfolk and Suffolk. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
We are a rural county and so it often means that clients are travelling some distance to access therapy. I need to leave decent gaps between clients as some can arrive early or late depending on traffic and tractors.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation room is homely. It is also my office. I have many objects and some of my paintings around the room. As some people are not good in clinical surroundings which remind them of doctors, hospitals or dentists, I decided to keep my room cosy with what I hope is friendly but also professional atmosphere.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish that people could understand that therapy is not the often-portrayed version seen on our TV screens. Not all therapists ask you to lie down, for example. We don’t all sit with a notebook or clipboard all the time. Oh and I have never asked a client to punch a cushion or hit the chair with a plastic truncheon. Not every session ends with the client crying. It is not necessary to cry to get the best out of therapy. I also would like to point out that we are just people the same as our clients, it's just that we have qualifications and skills in counselling.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
In my own therapy I learned that I needed to be more assertive and that when I am overwhelmed with tasks or problems, I can just deal with one at a time.