Meet the Therapist: Neill Hughes
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I previously worked with looked-after young people as a residential support worker and in a specialist school. I started to be able to relate to the young people and realised the power of the relationship and trying to understand the world through their lens and experiences.
Where did you train?
I initially qualified through Middlesex University and gained my clinic hours in a free public counselling service. I have since qualified in other approaches through the West of Scotland University, Anna Freud Centre and Tavistock and Portman NHS.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am a person-centred psychotherapist. I am also qualified in cognitive behavioural therapy, trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT), mentalisation based therapy and schema therapy.
Psychotherapy is more experiential and allows the client the space to explore their problems, CBT has a more of an agenda and psyco-educational approach with more direction.
Mentalisation based therapy is about communication and understanding others' perspectives in relationships, and schema therapy combines psychotherapy and CBT to look at patterns of behaviour in relationships related to childhood experiences.
What challenges does your therapy approach help with?
My specialisms are trauma and relationships, anger and anxiety. I also have a lot of experience with low mood, autism and difficult life experiences
What sort of people do you usually see?
I predominantly work with adults of all ages and I also work with parents and adolescents
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
I feel more people are accepting of therapy and reaching out for help, but I also believe the emphasis should be on building resilience.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I enjoy exploring and helping clients understand themselves and their experiences, and seeing them get through the other side.
What is less pleasant?
Hearing some of the experiences people have endured, especially when they were younger.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes I often recommend Breaking Negative Thinking Patterns when using a schema therapy approach.
I also draw upon DBT skills and CBT hand-outs.
What you do for your own mental health?
Mindfulness, being aware of my overall wellbeing, setting achievable goals, family time and training!
You are a therapist in West Sussex. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I mainly see clients online but I do offer face-to-face sessions. My base is in a small summer house and I am fortunate enough to have a nice garden as a tranquil backdrop.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish people knew that they have the ability to help themselves, turn things around and start living life.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learned how my previous experiences have affected me, and that it is possible to change once you have understanding and acceptance.