Meet the Therapist: Natasha Wellfare
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I learned about transactional analysis before wanting to become a therapist. I came across the concept of psychological games and thought, this is really interesting, I play these games and I want to know why! I felt compelled to learn more about TA. I think like many therapists, I wanted to use theory to understand myself first. TA, alongside Montessori Education and Yoga Philosophy, has become a guiding light for me in many ways.
Where did you train?
The Link Centre
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practise TA because it is creative, interesting to share with clients and it gives me many options as a practitioner. It also places huge emphasis on improving relationships and communication, which I believe is key in addressing mental health.
How does transactional analysis help with symptoms of anxiety?
Central to TA theory is the concept of Ego States – Parent, Adult and Child. When we are suffering from anxiety we are pulled out of our Adult, no longer in the present moment and no longer able to access our problem solving skills. In TA we look at what triggers this. Often we are discounting an aspect of ourselves, others or the situation, and this needs challenging in order to change. TA gives us many tools to update old thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are keeping us stuck in anxiety. We can choose to work relationally, uncovering primary emotions and getting into contact with our authentic selves. As we do this, anxiety starts to take a back seat as we get more comfortable in our own skin.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I tend to work with students 16+ and adults on a 1:1 and group basis. Common presentations include anxiety, depression and trauma. I also have a special interest in parenting, baby loss, fertility and men’s mental health.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love the variety that it brings. I feel really privileged that people from all walks of life trust me and are willing to share their stories. I love using a theory that has helped me and that I am genuinely passionate about. I love the ongoing opportunity for learning about people and life.
What is less pleasant?
There’s a lot of admin. Subscription memberships, logging details of your work, tax returns – all this paperwork is not my favourite bit. I like spending time with people.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
A friend recommended welldoing.org and I had a question about my profile. They were great at offering up suggestions and even made some tech changes to support me. You can speak to a real person. Welldoing.org has a small, personal feel to it.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I tend to share website links to individual pieces of theory. I also share poems sometimes. I recommend Headspace or Calm to most clients. I’m a yoga and mindfulness teacher in addition to being a therapist and I think these apps are extremely useful to calm the nervous system and practise a bit of mindfulness in-between sessions.
I recommended the book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie recently and I think it was life changing.
What you do for your own mental health?
I like swimming and walking, and I practise yoga and mindfulness. I’m really into listening to podcasts whilst walking by the sea. I find this really relaxing. I also love a good Netflix binge and one of my greatest pleasures is eating with other people.
You are a therapist in Essex and London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
That’s an interesting question. Sometimes I wonder if Essex guys are more reluctant to come to therapy because they are being tough and brave and doing a great job of not showing their feelings. This is why I set up a men’s mental health support group on Facebook. It’s called The Wellness Cave.
And I think in London there is a lot of stress and anxiety around work. Imposter syndrome is acknowledged more and some clients come in wanting to work with this very specifically. I also see a lot of burnout in the City.
What’s your consultation room like?
The Henry Centre is just next to Westcliff train station so it’s really easy to get to. It has a modern, tranquil vibe. Staple Inn is full of character and is also in a great location just alongside Chancery Lane Tube.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That therapists have loads of it, either for their training or their ongoing personal development. That most therapists are therapists because they needed therapy themselves at some point. So, as a client, try not to put the therapist on a pedestal or feel ashamed of going to therapy. In TA we say, ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’. Try and find a therapist where you can feel this sense of collaboration and equality.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That I’m terrible at asking for and accepting help. The same applies for compliments. That I have a Be Perfect driver which helped me get my needs met in childhood but now gets in the way. That if I want to have fun and relax I need to let my Child Ego State come out to play. That I am intuitive but also sometimes paranoid, so I need to check my intuition for accuracy by asking rather than assuming. That my parents taught me a lot of stuff I no longer need or agree with and that’s OK. So many valuable learnings.