Nic Pendregaust is a counsellor in West Kent and online

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I always sensed a career change would be on the cards; as I headed into my 40’s, keeping up the corporate pace of life was becoming trickier. With my background in HR and my coaching and mentoring skills, counselling felt like an apt and appropriate next step to add another string to my bow, as much of my work was listening to employees about their mental health challenges. And so, Clarity Kent was born five years ago.

Where did you train?

I trained with Chrysalis, starting back in 2013, firstly qualifying as a hypnotherapist and then as a counsellor in March 2017 with an Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and achieving my Certificate of Proficiency in 2018, whilst holding down a full-time professional corporate career in HR and completing a placement with Place2be in a primary school in Margate, Kent.

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

I’m trained integratively, so I describe myself as having several tools in my toolkit. I would say I have a psychodynamic bent, looking back at a client’s past experiences and how these may be affecting their present and potential future. In my work, I combine my counselling, coaching and hypnotherapy skills (such as visualisation and relaxation).

How does therapy help?

I like to talk about therapy as time and space for your thoughts to “hit the air”. A pocket of self-care time to pause, reflect and process.

A new specialist area for me is the perimenopause and menopause, supporting women in mid-life. I help women focus on self-compassion and self-care during this time. It is a pivotal time in our mid-life where it is not uncommon to feel grief and loss – for our health and changes with our bodies, struggling with our identity, children leaving home for university or to setting up home themselves, caring for ageing parents, the death of parents, personal illness, divorce or separation, and/or thinking about that last big career change.

What sort of people do you usually see?

With my experience in working with children, teens, adults, couples and the elderly, I’ve worked with clients from age eight to 83! 

I work with clients in the areas of stress and anxiety, trauma, shame, guilt, relationships with food, narcissism, relationships, grief and loss, confidence and self-esteem, as well as introducing therapy for perimenopause and menopause too.

What do you like about being a therapist?

I love seeing clients access their own wisdom and collaborating with them on making the hard stuff easier to sit with. I’m often heard saying – ‘they have run out of fairy dust at the wholesalers’. I can’t fix them, yet I can give them the tools to help themselves.

What is less pleasant?

Seeing, hearing and experiencing clients’ sadness, hurt and pain. I am always reminded of something Carolyn Spring said on one of her podcasts. “We need to feel, to heal” and to sit alongside our clients as they process their feelings & emotions.

How long you’ve been with and what you think of us?

I have been with for about six months, and I really love the articles in the weekly newsletter and hearing from other therapists too.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

Yes, all the time. I don't give 'homework' but I regularly share resources with my clients – this could books to listen to on Audible or to read, quotes, posters, the Calm and Insight Timer apps for meditation, Carolyn Spring’s work, and I’m a big fan of Edith Eger too (her account of being a holocaust survivor and her self-help book The Gift).

What you do for your own mental health?

Self-help books – I have many on the go on my Kindle. Movement and exercise – having a dog is great! Listening to podcasts and dancing (when no one’s watching).

You are a therapist in West Kent and online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area? 

What Covid has shown me is that I can work wider than the West Kent area (Maidstone, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks), as I am predominately working online now. Zoom works really well and can be beneficial in fitting in with clients' lifestyles and work commitments.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

Therapy is a conversation – it's nothing scary. It’s a space to feel comfortable in expressing how you feel in an empathetic and non-judgmental setting.

It’s alright not to have the answers or to find it difficult to make sense of emotions you are experiencing, yet having a trusting and safe environment, may be the right place for you, to share, talk through and explore what’s troubling you.

Counselling helps you take an honest look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You will learn more about yourself and take control and responsibility for bringing about lasting positive change.

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

To be myself, show up and be authentic – that there's no need to wear a mask. I learnt to lean into feelings and be able to sit with discomfort, and to affirm to myself daily: “I am good enough”.

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Contact Nic here

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